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Gender and Work-Life Balance During COVID-19: A Study of Public Affairs Faculty

Pamela S. Medina, Lauren Azevedo, Wanzhu Shi and Matt T. Bagwell
JHHSA, Vol. 46 No. 1, 50-76 (2024)

Women have faced disproportionate negative health and economic impacts from COVID-19. This study explores gender differences in work-life balance among female and male public affairs faculty during the pandemic. Drawing on social role theory and the theory of gendered organizations, we survey faculty from the 176 NASPAA accredited schools to examine how gender, workload, institutional support, and domestic responsibilities impacted work-life balance during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results suggest that work-life balance was impacted in different ways by gender, domestic responsibilities, workload (teaching, research, and service), and institutional support policies related to the pandemic. An examination of qualitative data from faculty surveys revealed that increased demands, including homeschooling, childcare, domestic responsibilities, among other demands, lowered work life balance satisfaction. Several recommendations are made for addressing work-life imbalances and gender differences among higher education administration practitioners.

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