Gendered Work-Life Balance

On this post you will find information on the gendered work-life balance of Salem State University. To help explain this concept, you will find here a historical context of gender and work-life balance, a curated collection of information on this topic from the Salem State Archives, as well as interview statements from our faculty.

Historical Context of Gender and Work-Life Balance

How do women manage the conflicts between family and career?

Nearly one half of women who stay in academia remain single or childless, which raises the question of how work-family conflicts influence the choices that women make. Often colleagues and universities are not supportive of a woman’s choice to be both parent and professor. A faculty career is demanding; the average professor works 55 hours per week. When childcare and home responsibilities are added, a woman can work 70 or more hours a week. Women professors who want to have children often try to “schedule” the birth of their children in the summer when they may not have teaching responsibilities.

In an employee survey conducted by DuPont, almost half of the male workers reported difficulties with child care arrangement. A survey of women university employees, however, found that women overwhelmingly thought a child care center and parental leave policy would be attractive recruitment strategies. Professorships were originally designed for men who had wives at home and children but also to provide support for the man’s career. Professors work more hours than nearly every other profession, take the most work home, and in the past were the least likely to spend time with their children or assist their wives with housework. Since women are competing with men who assume fewer family responsibilities, the burden for women faculty is especially difficult.


Some institutions such as the University of Wisconsin Madison are beginning to look at these issues, but not enough universities have realized that faculty performance is measured by a structure almost designed for high stress, if not failure. Recent surveys of small liberal art colleges and research universities found that most respondents made few provisions for maternity leave beyond those mandated by the Pregnancy Disability Act. The passage of the PDA was considered a step forward for working women, but it does not solve all of the problems of discrimination related to pregnancy. Since the PDA has been in effect, there has been an increase in the number of lawsuits filed by women who were either fired or passed over for promotion because of pregnancy. Universities in the process of developing new maternity and/or paternity leave policies have wrestled with the questions of equal treatment for men and women or preferential treatments for pregnant women. In regards to cost, the cost of providing a comprehensive parental leave program could be quite high.

The Chamber of Commerce estimated that full funding of the Family Leave Act would cost $13 billion. The University of Wisconsin (1988), in a survey of similar institutions found that none of the respondent major research universities provided maternity leave beyond the legal mandate. The University of California adopted a system wide policy of stopping the tenure clock for one year after childbirth. The University of Minnesota’s policy allows for a 12 month unpaid parental leave. New adoptive mothers and fathers may take two weeks of informal leave with pay. Amherst College, for example maintains benefit coverage if a women either works part-time for a semester or takes a semester leave. More often universities require the employee to pay for benefits while on leave. This is especially difficult because the income is reduced and paying for benefits is an added expense. Universities could be more supportive in reducing work/family conflict by providing extended leave, preferably paid, to faculty in the first year of their child’s lives or by allowing reduced teaching load or committee assignments. Family work life has changed, but institutions have not kept pace with the changes and the resultant stress is taking its toll on men and women faculty.

Curated Collection

A Day Care Center Proposed October 2nd, 1970



Open Forum Day Care October 23rd, 1970

The open forum was meant to get the community together to discuss ideas, needs, and common policies they would like to see implemented in the potential day care.

“Day Care? We Care! December 4th, 1970″


Day Care Established December 17th, 1970

The day care was for the whole city of Salem, and not just for the University’s use. The temporary location of the day care was located at the then Salem State College in the Arts and Science Building (Meier Hall). There were hidden intentions to the day care. There was birth control offered there.

AN issue the day care ran into was that the space offered wasn’t large enough to meet the needs for the day care. The center fought for a bigger space to correct this problem. The president of the college and the parents of the children attending the day care would then sit down and discuss the move of the day care. The president decided to move the day care down the street considering there wasn’t a space that would fit qualifications on the campus.



Day Care Gets Building September 21st, 1971

In the process of building this day care from the floor up (almost literally) there were a lot of code and regulations that the building had to meet.


Day Care to Open December 7th 1971

The day care center opened at 93 Broadway Street in Salem with the hours of 8 to 5 on Monday through Friday. This was done so that the student mothers could attend their classes. Only children that were ages 1 – 5 were allowed to attend the day care. Early-childhood teachers were appointed to run the day care.


Dispelling Day Care Rumors December 14th, 1971



Alleged Reverse in Day 2Care Stand December 20th, 1971

Mr. Richard Marrs was responsible for the expenditure budget on the day care. There was an agreement of a little over 2,000 dollars being needed. When it came down to needing the money, the president and Marrs both backed out of negotiations for how much to spend on the renovations.


Day Care Activities March 14th, 1972


Work-Life Balance at Salem State University

Question: How have campus programs and policies promoted work-life integration for Salem State employees (the day care, preschool)?

SSU Preschool:
• Children of full-time Salem State students receive first priority. Faculty, staff and community children are accepted after that.
• Children are required to attend a minimum of two full days.
Schedule options are:
• Monday–Friday
• Monday, Wednesday and Friday
• Tuesday and Thursday

Tuition RatesScreen Shot 2017-04-27 at 10.31.00 AM
Early Drop off Added payment
• 5 (M-F) $140
• 3 (MWF) $90
• 2 (T/TH) $60
Late Pick up Added Payment
• 5 (M-F) $240
• 3 (MWF) $150
• 2 (T/TH) $100
(TAKE NOTE: early drop off is a half an hour earlier than regular drop off which is 8 am and late pick up is one extra hour after the regular pick up which is 4pm)

Full time SSU students will receive a 10% discount on the rates above

The Family and Medical Leave Act states that an employee is entitled to medical leave due to incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or childbirth, to care for a child after birth, to care for a parent or spouse who has a serious medical condition, or serious medical condition of the individual. At SSU employees can take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave, if you have worked here for more than a year.

Mother’s Nursing Room

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 11.03.30 AM.png
SSU has a Mother’s Nursing Room policy that provides a private room for nursing mothers, other than a bathroom. This room provides a shield from view and interruptions. The school is also required to provide reasonable break time for an employee to pump for her nursing child. This break time time is provided for a year after the child is born.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act
National View
“For these workers with unpaid parental leave, plans allowed an average of 20 weeks off. Paid parental leave benefits were rare” ( Helping Employees with Family Care)
“Annual cost of child care for an infant in a child care center is higher than a year’s tuition at the average four year public college in most states” (Center for American Progress Fact Sheet: Child Care)

Families Responsibilities Discrimination:
Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD) is employment that is based on worker’s responsibilities to care for their family members. Whether their caring for sick family or caring for a newborn or a young child. FRD typically happens to pregnant employees. If employees are facing unfair discrimination in the workplace similar to this they are experiencing FRD.

 Examples of FRD are firing pregnant employees because they are pregnant or will take maternity leave, failure to promote pregnant women or women with young children and giving promotions to women without children or fathers instead of more qualified women with children. Giving parents work schedules that they cannot meet for childcare reasons while giving non parents flexible schedules. Penalizing workers who have legally taken time off to care for aging parents. Promoting single men over engaged or married women for fear that they will become pregnant.

FRD is important because 70% of U.S households with children have all adults participating in the workforce. Also women make up 46% of the U.S workforce and most (81%) of U.S women have children and 10% of employees are taking care of both children and aging parents.

Women with children are the most likely to encounter FRD: they are 79% less likely to be recommended for hire, 100% less likely to be promoted and are generally offered $10,000 less in salary than a male co-worker who does the same exact job. Men can also face FRD when they seek to actively care for children or other family members.
There is no federal law that actively prohibits FRD, however employees may be protected from FRD by the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Americans with Disabilities Act, The Equal Pay Act and ERISA.

Following Washington D.C, Massachusetts is the most expensive place for childcare. The average annual cost of infant care for one child in Massachusetts is $17,062 or $1,422 per month. The average annual cost of care for one child in Mass is more expensive than in state tuition for four-year public college. Child care cost for one child takes up nearly one-fifth of the typical family’s income. A minimum wage worker in Massachusetts would need to work full time for 43 weeks just to pay for childcare for one infant.
The cost of one child to be enrolled in the SSU preschool full time (5 days a week) without early drop off or late pick up, year round would cost $12,120 ($4,942 less than the Massachusetts average annual cost rate).

Interview Statements

Both faculty interviewed said that they had no problem with maternity and paternity leave and that they are not given a hard time when calling out if their child is sick.

“I remember when I first started to work here, having to go into a closet to breast pump and now we have a room that is specifically designed for that, oh, how much things have changed”




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s