Georgia Tech’s Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology Host 2021 Distinguished Lecture
Posted March 16, 2021
On March 9, the Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology (WST) at Georgia Tech hosted its 2021 WST Distinguished Lecture event featuring Dr. Ellen Ernst Kossek, Basil S. Turner professor of management and research director of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership at Purdue University. Kossek, an award-winning social scientist who researches work-family-life policy, and most recently the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on work-life boundaries on women, presented ‘Work-Life Boundaries and Women in Academic STEM: Covid-19's Wake-Up Call for Career Equality.’
The virtual event marked the 20th year of the WST lecture series. Kossek’s keynote was followed by a panel discussion with Institute faculty members Drs. Terry Blum, Kim Cobb, Kaye Husbands Fealing, and Bonnie Ferri.
Dr. Mary Frank Fox, ADVANCE Professor with Ivan Allen College’s School of Public Policy and WST co-director said, “The WST Distinguished Lecture brings to Georgia Tech eminent leaders who have supported women, science, and technology through research, policy, and initiatives. Dr. Kossek exemplifies this tradition.”
Kossek recently led the writing of a committee report for the National Academies of Science on the effects of Covid-19 for women in academic science. The report, which was issued the same day as the lecture, emphasized Covid-19’s trends, individual coping styles, organizational practices, and opportunities for policy innovation and research. “I hope we can think about -- especially now with the pandemic -- how we can make cultures and work-place structures support healthy living on and off the job, and what we can learn from Covid,” she said.
The study surveyed over 200 national universities on work-life issues and found that the pandemic did not create inequity, but rather magnified it for women, especially reducing chances for faculty women to attain tenure. Some of the issues women faced, the survey reported, were difficulties balancing work and home-life duties -- such as assisting children with virtual learning -- while working from home.
“What we found in the STEM women we interviewed and through comments on the survey is that many women felt really challenged in managing not just workload, but professional and personal identity."
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Mary Frank Fox