In the prestige economy of higher education, research productivity is highly prized. Previous research indicates, however, a gender gap with respect to research output. This gap is often explained by reference to familial status and responsibilities. In this article, we examine the research productivity gender gap from an international perspective by undertaking a gendered analysis of the Changing Academic Profession Survey. We suggest that family is not, in all cases, operating as a form of negative equity in the prestige economy of higher education. In addition, we argue that an over-reliance on an explanatory framework that positions family-related variables as central to the research productivity gender gap might well be drawing our attention from significant structural and systemic discriminatory practices within the profession.