Spring 2000

CWW Announces Discrimination and Health as Topic for Spring Forum, Apr. 14

Historically women gathered at the well to collect water and share common issues. They turned a task into a source of strength. The Center for Women and Work's annual forum, Gathering at the Well, hopes to tap into that strength by promoting dialogue on issues of women and work and striving for awareness and solutions. This year on April 14, the topic will be discrimination and its effect on health.

Two keynote speakers will frame the discussion around their experiences and research for community members and the audience to reflect upon. Karen Messing, a professor at the University of Quebec and former co-director of the Center for Study of Biological Interactions in Environmental Health (CINBIOSE), has written One-Eyed Science, a book that looks at why researchers are blind to the health problems of women workers. Diane Hughes, an associate professor at New York University, conducts research on the influence of occupational stress on families, as well as the influence of prejudice and discrimination on mental and physical health.

Messing received her bachelor's degree in social relations, a combination of sociology, psychology, and anthropology. She earned her doctorate from McGill University in genetics and completed advanced studies in ergonomics in Paris.

Hughes received her bachelor's degree in psychology and African American studies from Williams College. She has a master's in psychology and a doctorate in community and developmental psychology from Michigan State University.

Gathering at the Well is sponsored by the UMass Lowell Center for Women and Work in collaboration with the Kerr Ergonomics Institute and funded by the UMass Lowell Council on Diversity and Pluralism and the Committee of Federated Committees and Institutes.

Visiting Scholar: Job Stress Worsening in Australia

Australian professor Heather Gridley spoke to faculty, staff, and students about the working conditions at Victoria University in Melbourne and in her country. Gridley was a visiting scholar sponsored by the Psychology Department.

Stress at work is becoming a major issue in Australia, according to Visiting Scholar Heather Gridley, a community psychologist and senior lecturer in psychology at Victoria University in Melbourne. Gridley described workplace and gender issues in her country at a meeting of the Center for Women and Work.

Gridley quoted a colleague's insight: "Australians work to live while Americans live to work." Increasingly, according to Gridley, Australians are being asked to switch.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) recently sponsored a "Stress-Free Day" in October to highlight the problem, Gridley said, and an educators' union has mounted a campaign called "Work, Time, Life -- Bring Back the Balance."

The session was co-sponsored by the Department of Psychology, the Graduate Program in Community Social Psychology and the Center for Family, Work and Community.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to welcome you to the Center for Women and Work network. We have been working hard to revitalize this UMass Lowell center over the last year. Our accomplishments include a successful spring forum held last April, which you can read about in this issue; establishing exciting partnerships throughout the University and the city; and focusing our research to explore the complex dynamics of diverse workplaces, examine the affect of globalization on women, and understand the relationship among discrimination, stress, health, and work outcomes.

In this issue, you will meet the students who help keep the Center functioning day to day, as well as contribute valuable research assistance. Also featured are activities and research that the Center has sponsored over the last year.

Last, we are pleased to tell you about this year's spring forum, Gathering at the Well, to be held on Friday, April 14. Mark your calendars and prepare to spend the day exploring the issues of discrimination and health with two dynamic speakers, Karen Messing and Diane Hughes.

Please let us know if you are interested in improving the conditions of work and enhancing economic opportunities for women. We are always looking for community partners who have ideas or time to share.

Sincerely, Meg A. Bond & Jean L. Pyle

CWW Surveys Other Women's Centers to Identify Gaps, Potential Collaboration

UMass Lowell Community Social Psychology graduate student Eileen Moloney is surveying other university women's centers to help inform the work of UMass Lowell's Center for Women and Work, while also laying groundwork for future collaborations with these centers. The goal of this survey is to help UMass Lowell's Center for Women and Work become a resource for the University community in advancing diversity and equity in a unique and valuable way. It is also an opportunity for student researchers to become aware of the issues related to women and work being done through out New England.

Ten centers in the New England area have been identified that seem to have missions compatible with the CWW. We plan to survey all of these centers and ask them if they would be willing to share their experiences with respect to structure, funding, operations, and programming.

UMass Lowell Employees to be Surveyed on Workplace Climate

Community Social Psychology graduate student Manuela Ivaldi is currently working on a study investigating how work climate, in terms of gender and racial discrimination, impacts employees' health and work outcomes. The study is designed to test a model of the links between work climate and employees' health and productivity proposed by Drs. Bond and Pyle and Dr. Punnett of the Lorin Kerr Ergonomics Institute at UMass Lowell. A survey will be distributed in March to all UMass Lowell staff members. The data will provide a better understanding of what needs to be done to improve the work environment for all employees and will be used to develop a model that can be applied to similar institutions across the country.

Meet the CWW Staff

Manuela Ivaldi 

I am an international student from Italy. I have a degree in Social and Organizational Psychology, and I am currently working toward my M.A. in Community Social Psychology. This is my second year at CWW as a Research Assistant, collaborating in research on the impact of ethnic and gender discrimination in the workplace on employees' health and work outcomes.

Eileen Maloney 

I am a first year graduate student in the Community Social Psychology program. I'm working on a survey of other university women's centers in New England. I am originally from outside Washington, DC in Rockville, MD.

Susanne Harris 

I am a graduate student in Community Social Psychology. I am currently putting together a weekly talk show about women and work issues with Cathy Ferreira for WJUL, the university radio station, and helping to organize the Spring 2000 Forum. I have three children.

Cathy Ferreira 

I am a graduate student in Regional Economics and Social Development Department. I am currently working on the data analysis of the Women-owned Businesses Survey and am a liaison on the Women's Week planning committee. I was born and raised in Lowell and currently reside in Framingham with my four children.

Elizabeth Adler 

I began working at CWW in the summer of 1999 as an office manager. I am an undergraduate in Philosophy and also pursuing a career in sign language interpreting. I am a single mother of twins.

Maureen O'Connor Robichaud 

I am an undergraduate in Sociology and Regional Economic and Social Development. At the Center, I have been working to publicize our new web site, www.uml.edu/centers/women-work, and to develop relationships within the surrounding communities.

CWW Challenged to Enhance Women's Access to Technology and Skill Development at 1st Annual Forum

In her keynote address, Dr. Paula Rayman of the Radcliffe Program and an expert in work organization, challenged the CWW to take on two issues: increasing women's literacy levels and enhancing women's technological access and skill development.

The panel speakers were Sandra DiVincenzo, guidance counselor at Chelmsford High School; Ellie Nunez of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH); Anita Moeller, an alumna and founder of Acre Family Daycare in Lowell; Sue Beaton of the Enterprise Community; and Paula Alexander, director of human resources at Eastman Gelatine Corporation, a Division of Eastman Kodak.

Bond, Pyle, and Dean Nancy Kleniewski of the Division of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Sciences opened the workshop. Anneta Argyres and Robin Toof facilitated the caucus portion of the program. Caucus facilitators were Lan Pho, Lanett Scott, Sue D'Amore, Marlowe Miller, Cathy Crumbley, Doreen Arcus, Brenda Bond, Kathy Hulbert, and LeeAnn Hoff.

The workshop was supported by the UML Council on Diversity and Pluralism and the Bookstore Fund.

Local Women Business Owners Surveyed

What motivated and inspired women to become business owners? What are their strategies for survival? What resources in the community do they utilize? Are there additional resources that are needed?

CWW sought answers to these questions and more while conducting a survey of women business owners in Lowell. Partnerships were formed with the Center for Family Work and Community, the Center for Industrial Competitiveness, and the City's Enterprise Community. The research team included UMass graduate students, Brandy Jablonski and Sarah LeBlanc, and Lowell High School students, Sokley Oeur and Alex Iraheta.

The research team identified and contacted over 100 women business owners in the city. Thirty of these owners were interviewed during this past summer.

Catherine Ferreira, a graduate student working at CWW, and Jennifer Santos, an under graduate in psychology, have been analyzing the gathered data. Some of the initial findings include:

  • 77% of the participants are mothers. Indeed for some of these women their children were a factor in deciding to start their own business. "I wanted to work my own hours because of my children," stated one mom.
  • 53% of women business owners live in Lowell. "If you work in the city, you should live in the city," stated one resident business owner. She felt this was particularly important for developing a "good rapport with customers."
  • These businesses provided employment to fifty-six people. Half of these jobs were full-time positions.

A complete report of the findings will soon be available. A business directory will also be created as a resource to the community and a networking tool for businesses owners.

March 5 - March 11 

Lowell Women's Week 2000--Women in the New Millennium: Looking Back, Moving Forward, events held throughout the city. Call (978) 970-5000 for a complete schedule. 

March 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m 

Sixth Diversity Symposium with keynote speaker Norma Cantu, Assistant Secretary of Education, U.S. Dept. of Education. Sponsored by UMass Lowell Council on Diversity and Pluralism, Alumni Hall. Call (978) 934-4342 to register.

April 6, 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. 

"The Privilege of Being White" by Noel Ignatiev, author of "How the Irish Became White." Sponsored by UMass Lowell PASCI, Annual Day Without Violence, Coburn 205.

April 14, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Gathering at the Well: An Annual Forum on Women and Work. Is Discrimination Bad for Your Health? Sponsored by the Center for Women and Work in collaboration with the Kerr Ergonomics Institute, Alumni Hall, North Campus. To register, call the Center at (978) 934-4380 or on-line at www.uml.edu/centers/women-work.

Make Yourself Heard

The CWW is sponsoring a talk show about women and work issues on the UMass Lowell radio station, WJUL (91.5 FM). The show is an informal discussion about topics relevant to women and their jobs. It is also a good way to get the word out about any current work, events, or projects that are underway in these areas. If you are interested in this type of forum, please contact Sue Harris at 781-862-7145 or email to Wellfleet2@aol.com. This is a low-pressure audiotaped interview. No experience required; all are welcome to participate.