Photo Courtesy of gseppepperdine.edu
The second annual Women In Leadership: Work-Life Balance conference will be held today through Friday. Organized by Pepperdine’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP), this year’s conference will be hosted at The Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles. This year’s conference theme and name is “Celebrate Women’s Wisdom: Life Journeys.”
According to the GSEP website, the conference is comprised of scholars and business professionals gathered to assist women to better their personal and professional lives. The speakers will focus on how identity, motivation, relational and adaptive styles impact and “enhance opportunities for women to live meaningful lives of purpose and leadership.”
The Women in Leadership: Work-Life Balance Project seeks to address the challenges modern women face through a three-step process. It includes an annual academic conference, research and a digital library and website.
The academic conference will have speakers share their own research and experiences. This year’s conference has an impressive set list of speakers: Dr. Janet Z. Giele, professor Emerita of Sociology, Social Policy and Women’s Studies at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University; and Pamela Stone, professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Giele’s presentation, “New Faces of Feminism: Diversity in Women’s Life Choices,” will focus on how change, identity, and social networks influence a person’s lifestyle. Her specific areas of study and authorship include how suffrage women were strengthened by their experiences and the later effects on women voting. She chronicled her research in her book, “Two Paths to Women’s Equality.”
Giele’s research also includes how changes in women’s lives have led to an increase in public policy that strengthens and involves family life. More details can be found in her most recent book titled, “Family Policy and the American Safety Net.” She believes that women are diverse in their careers and their achievements, but are united in their yearning for personal satisfaction and the satisfaction of those around them.
“Opting Out: Challenging Stereotypes and Creating Real Options for Women” is the title of Stone’s presentation. Stone’s work covers a variety of topics regarding women in the workforce, particularly the gender gap and the balance of work and home. Her latest work, “Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home,” has been featured in several publications and was honored by receiving the 2009 William J. Goode Book Award of the American Sociological Association.
Other prominent lectures are featured in concurrent sessions. Some of today’s sessions included ethnic diversity, how to use social media to keep work-life balance and the search for worth and meaning.
The second session offers a choice between, “Are you working for a psychopath?,” “When the Vow Breaks,” and “Work-Life Balance among Childfree Women.”
Tomorrow’s conference options include sessions about balance with authenticity and how to keep faith strong while balancing work-life.
The research component of the project focuses on the intersection of women’s work and private lives, as well as the strategies employed to balance both. Personal narratives have been collected from across the U.S., and recently India and Africa to compare global approaches and their effectiveness. Dr. Margaret J. Weber, Dean of the GSEP, began work in 2009 and continues with more than 180 personal interviews, even world-wide.
The online database allows women to submit their personal testimonies and grants researchers access to the collection for academic evaluation. The available information is being used in numerous dissertations and allows the project to touch a wider audience.
Events like this conference, along with International Women’s Day (IWD) are small accolades to the growing awareness and activism that surround women’s rights. IWD, on March 8, is a global day dedicated to the celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
The joint efforts of Weber and her colleagues at Pepperdine and abroad aid in this campaign by inspiring and empowering women to be the best they can be for themselves and society.
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