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Newsletter - Fall 2001

Work Organization Specialist Joins Faculty


RaymenDr. Paula Rayman, a nationally renowned scholar in the field of work organization, labor, and public policy with a special focus on gender, has recently joined the faculty of Department of Regional Economic and Social Development (RESD) at UMass Lowell. With her knowledge and enthusiasm about women's issues, Dr. Rayman will collaborate with us at the Center for Women and Work in planning initiatives around issues such as women and computer technology.  

Before coming to RESD, Dr. Rayman was the Executive Director of the Radcliffe Public Policy Institute.  Under her direction, the institute has focused on issues of work-life and community integration. 

In the spring of 2001, Dr. Rayman published a book entitled Beyond the Bottom Line: The Search for Dignity at Work. Structuring the book around "the three pillars that uphold dignity at work - livelihood, self-respect, and social responsibility", she addresses some of the most important questions of our present time: Is it possible to work, and to have a life too? And why do so many Americans-working harder and longer and with less security than ever before-question the price of success demanded by today's hot-wired economy? In the end, although she offers many illustrations of dignity being retained at work without eroding family life and social responsibility, she is fully aware that this can only be done if we as individuals and institutions move "beyond the constraint of bottom-line thinking". 

Throughout her career of teaching and research, Dr. Rayman has worked extensively on issues related to women and technology. At present, she is the Principal Investigator of a project about "Women in Information Technology Workplaces: A Study of Women Computer Science Degree Recipients in the Software Industry".  The project will develop the nation¡¯s first systematic database concerning women and men software workers in the IT industry.  The project findings will be of interest to the research, science policy, and business communities as well as to the media and members of the broader public concerned with the role of women in science and technology.

 Dr. Rayman is also the editor of the Temple University Press Labor and Social Change series and was the former chair of the Older Worker Task Force for the Massachusetts Jobs Council.  She was a featured speaker at CWW's annual forum in April, 1999 on "Women and Work in the 21st Century".

American Psychological Association Honors Bond's Work

CWW Co-Director Meg A. Bond recently received an award for "Special Contributions to Community Psychology" from the Society for Community Research in Action (SCRA), a division of the American Psychological Association.  The award is given only periodically when SCRA wants to acknowledge exceptional contributions to the Society and the profession.  When informing Dr. Bond of this honor, SCRA President Cary Cherniss said, "We believe that you are especially worthy of this honor because your commitment to equity has directly contributed to visible progress in representation and influence of women and persons of color in SCRA.  You have done much to bring about an enhanced sensitivity to diversity concerns within the field and profession of community psychology."  Dr. Bond received the award at a national conference held in Atlanta, Georgia this past June.

Dr. Bond, also a professor of psychology at UMass Lowell since 1989, has strong interests in the interrelated issues of diversity, empowerment, and organizational dynamics.  Her current research is an analysis of organizational approaches to diverse employees with a primary focus on the dynamics around gender and race. She has also devoted herself to the teaching and research of feminist community psychology and addressed critical issues such as sexual harassment, collaboration among diverse constituencies, and the empowerment of underrepresented groups in community and organizational settings.  In addition, Dr. Bond is an active member of Center for Women and Work and has brought a wealth of valuable experience to the daily operation of the center, especially about how to work in partnership with various organizations on and off campus.

We are delighted to be sponsors or co-sponsors of the following Fall 2001 events:

  • Oct. 15 12:00-2:00 pm

Elissa Braunstein - Political Economy Research Institute, UMass Amherst

"Engendering Globalization: Family Structure, Women's Work, & Economic Growth"

Co-sponsored with Regional Economic and Social Development Department (RESD) & Center for Industrial Competitiveness (CIC)

O'Leary Library 500M, South Campus

  • Oct. 25 7:00-8:30 pm

Mariah Burton Nelson

"Women, Sports, and Equality"

Sponsored by the UML Council on Diversity and Pluralism

O'Leary Library 222, South Campus

  • Oct. 29 12:00-2:00 pm

Paula Rayman - Professor, RESD, UMass Lowell

"Beyond the Bottom Line: The Search for Dignity at Work"

Co-sponsored with Regional Economic and Social Development Department (RESD) & Center for Industrial Competitiveness (CIC)

 

O'Leary Library 500M, South Campus

  • Oct. 30 2:00 pm

Selma BotmanVice-President for Academic Affairs, University of Massachusetts

"The Changing Status of Women in Contemporary Egypt"

O'Leary Library 500M, South Campus

  • Nov. 1 3:30-8:00 pm

Meg A. Bond & Jean L. Pyle - Co-Directors of the Center for Women and Work, UMass Lowell

"Women-Owned Business in Lowell: Understanding the Local in a Broader Context"

Fifth Annual CITA Conference in Alumni Hall, North Campus

  • Nov. 9 8:30 am -4:00 pm

"Occupational Health & Safety in the Changing Healthcare Industry"

Sponsored by the NIOSH-funded PHASE Project on workplace health and safety

Holiday Inn, Tewksbury/Andover. For more info: www.uml.edu/phase

Work Life Integration Breakfast Meeting

In response to the diverse perspectives presented by Dr. Lotte Bailyn and Dr. Randy Albelda on work/life integration at the March forum, the Center for Women and Work sponsored a follow-up breakfast meeting on May 17. Participants discussed possible further actions to promote more balanced work/life conditions for working women and men, especially the poor. These include empowering poor women through legislative and policy changes, making connections across diverse economic and social organizations, and recognizing contradictions and conflicts in real life and in cultural values. 

Fall meetings have been hosted by Marianne Pelletier and Rosemary Hawkes at the Middlesex Community College campus in Lowell. The September 20 meeting focused on the various backgrounds of those present and their interests regarding issues of work/life integration. The group meets on October 18 at 9:00 am at Middlesex Community College. People interested in joining can call the Center for Women and Work at (978) 934-4380 for further information on meeting times and places.¡¡ 

Gender and Development Group Welcomes Your Participation 

The Center for Women and Work is convening an informal "Gender and Development" group where women from diverse countries can gather and talk about positive and negative impacts of development on the life of women in their home countries. The first meeting is scheduled for Oct. 11 at 2:30 in Dugan Hall. 

As women in this ever-globalized society, we need to share information about other women's (and men's) issues in a variety of countries around the world. We need to know more about people's lives in different countries, their chief issues of concern, and what strategies they are developing for positive social change. In this way, we can gain understanding, strength, and new ideas for further change. 

UMass Lowell Offers Gender-Related Graduate Programs 

Great news for people interested in an MA program that involves issues of gender: At least two options are offered at UMass-Lowell. 

One is the MA program in the Department of Regional Economic and Social Development. Students in this program can select courses from a ¡°Gender and Development¡± concentration. This concentration focuses on gender inequalities and diverse gender roles, and how these interact with families, technologies, workplaces, and communities. Students will explore the role of public policy and social action and will be encouraged to connect what they have learned to other gender issues they find of interest. Courses in the gender track include Gender Differences at Work, Gender and Technology, Social Movements and Empowerment, and Development Principles for Developing Economies.  

The other equally great option is the MA in Community Social Psychology. This program includes options particularly well suited for those who are seeking advanced studies to understand gender and family issues in the community context. Students will study how social and environmental conditions affect all of us, methods for conducting applied research and performing data analysis, in depth understanding of multicultural and social justice issues, and skills in designing, implementing, and evaluating community programs. Courses such as Women in the Community, Workplace Diversity, The Family System, and Work and Family are all available through the department. 

Unlike many other graduate programs in the university, most classes in these two options are taught in the evening, or sometimes in the late afternoon so that students holding jobs during the day can conveniently attend. Part-time students are also accepted and, indeed, several current students in each of the two programs take one or two courses per semester, while holding down jobs or taking care of family responsibilities. 

Nurses Awarded at Workers' Memorial Day Ceremony 

The nurses at St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester were honored with an "Award for Worker Activism" in occupational safety and health at the UMass Lowell Workers' Memorial Day ceremony on May 2nd, 2001. In March 2000, they walked off the job to fight against management's demand for virtually unlimited right to assign overtime to nurses who were already overworked. The strike went on for 42 days with the support from the local labor movement and the community. 

Inspired by the victory at St. Vincent's, other members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) have also taken steps to advocate for better work conditions and reduced work hours. For example, the UMass Medical Center nurses won a contract with similar limits on forced overtime and both state and federal bills have been introduced to limit the use of mandatory overtime in licensed health care occupations. In addition, the nurses at Brockton Hospital (MA) have just concluded a successful strike and ratified a new contract that addressed their issues of forced mandatory overtime and inadequate staffing levels. 

Increasingly, workers' rights are becoming more and more ignored by management in the latter's pursuit for profits. Management programs like lean production and patient focused care are all speeding up the work process and add to the stress in the lives of many employees. The successes made by nurses at St. Vincent's and elsewhere are only part of a positive move towards more inspiring actions in the future. 

New Publication 

Approaches to Sustainable Development: The Public University in the Regional Economy, edited by Robert Forrant, Jean Pyle, Charles Levenstein and William Lazonick has been published by UMass Press. It is a collection of essays based on interdisciplinary initiatives launched several years ago by a core group of faculty members at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The book examines the role of a university in fostering sustainable regional development. It includes "Diversity Dilemmas at Work," a paper written by CWW co-directors Meg A. Bond and Jean L. Pyle. 

New Edition of Lowell Women's Business Directory Forthcoming 

This fall the Center for Women and Work is working on a second edition of the Greater Lowell Women-Owned Business Directory. The updated version will serve as both yellow and white pages for women-owned businesses in the Greater Lowell area. It will also include a section on supports available in the area to such enterprises. 

Please call the Center at 978-934-4380 if you have suggestions for women-owned businesses to include in the directory, if you have updated information to share with us, or if you wish to obtain a copy of the first directory.