Some countries experience a notable feature of a rise in the proportion of female students in Higher Education while in Kenya, there is a persistent under-representation of female students, and few senior women academics. This is despite the implementation of Affirmative Action by the government. This study therefore sought to examine motivational factors, challenges and survival strategies in academia. It is a contribution to knowledge and extant literature. Intrinsic motivation of self-drives, and extrinsic motivation of socio-economic factors, were driving forces to joining academia. Findings demonstrate that very few women have progressed to senior academic ranks, the pace is slow, hampered by socio-cultural attitudes, and the male-dominated university cultures. Some women academics have had to put off marriage for career, others put on hold or postponed career for family responsibilities. Participants employed various strategies of hard work, research, and publication. Drawing on face-to-face interviews, theory, and national data, Women Academics’ Careers in Kenya provides an accessible discussion for academics, students, teachers, researchers, as well as policy-makers.