The University Record, October 9, 2000

Cantor honored for work on ‘family-friendly’ policies

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Irasema T. Garza (right) presented Provost Nancy Cantor with the Work-Life-Family Award from the Women's Bureau for her part in enacting family-friendly policies at the U-M.
Cantor, she said, 'is a huge champion of family-friendly policies at the University of Michigan.' In addition, her leadership has been instrumental in allocating resources to the dual career job placement program for partners of tenure-track faculty, and she has made many other contributions to the changing culture at the University, Garza noted.
Cantor Carol Hollenshead, director of the Center for the Education of Women, praised Cantor’s commitment to family-friendly work policies. ‘Her understanding and support of family needs have made a real difference to the lives of faculty, staff and students here on this campus.’ Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services
“Nearly all working adults want to spend more time with their families,” said Irasema Garza, director of the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. Work and family issues are no longer issues for and about women only, she noted, but are embraced by most workers.

Men and women in the workplace share feelings of being more stressed, not getting enough sleep, and being sandwiched between needs of parents and needs of children, she told the audience during the Sept. 29 lecture “Working Women: Striving for Balance,” part of the Work/Life/Family lecture series sponsored by the Center for the Education of Women and the Family Care Resources Program.

The traditional family, she said, as portrayed in the late 1950s and early 1960s by such television characters as Ozzie and Harriet, only exists in about 13 percent of the households in America.

“Today, they would more likely both be working or Harriet would be a single mom trying to hold down a job and take care of her children,” Garza said.

And in the workplace today, policies that address the stress and needs of families are increasingly important to both men and women, and to both employers and employees.

“Family-friendly policies are part of the bottom line in the work world today,” she noted. “Employers are rewarded [for implementing these policies] by increased employee loyalty and productivity.”

At the U-M, those policies include the increase in sick time allowed to be used for child or family care, the Kids Kare at Home program that provides caregivers for sick children or adults at home while the primary caregiver goes to work, and a sliding fee scale for faculty, students or staff members whose children spend their days at one of the University’s child care centers.

Garza also addressed the issue of inequity in compensation between men and women, between Black women and white men, and between Hispanic women and men. While women overall are still getting only about 75 cents for each dollar that men make, African American women are getting about 66 cents, and Latinas make only 55 cents, she said.

“The good news is that women are succeeding in non-traditional fields,” she said. Some of the bad news, in addition to pay scales for women, is that older women have much less or no money in pension funds or other retirement savings plans.


U-M’s family-friendly programs and policies

Both the Center for the Education of Women (CEW) and the Family Care Resources Program (FCRP) have worked to help women faculty, staff and students at the University achieve their full potential. Since 1964, CEW has been committed to helping women at the University achieve their educational and employment goals. Some of the changes at the U-M that are attributed to its efforts:

  • Initiatives to increase the number of senior women faculty in fields in which they are underrepresented.

  • Improved the handling of sexual harassment complaints, reflected in the University’s Sexual Harassment (Standard Practice Guide [SPG] 201.89) policy.

  • Helped raise funds to support child care scholarships to be awarded to students who have children.

  • SPG 201.92, which extends the tenure clock for faculty who give birth or have major dependent care responsibilities.

  • SPG 201.93, which allows faculty women to be relieved of classroom teaching responsibilities during the semester in which they give birth.

  • Create Faculty Career Development Awards to recognize and offset the extra service burdens experienced by women faculty members.

  • Promote a University philosophy of staff development.

  • Promote staff raises for lowest-paid University staff.

  • Advocate for increased safety on campus for women.

  • Promote discussion of strategies to assist students and employees who juggle work and family responsibilities. To find out more about CEW, visit the Web at www.umich.edu/~cew.

    FCRP, under Program Coordinator Leslie de Pietro, has worked to implement recommended programs that deal with family needs. FCRP helps U-M families locate resources to help care for young children and older or disabled relatives. It provides information on and referrals for:

  • Home health care and other in-home assistance programs.

  • Living arrangements, from retirement communities to nursing homes.

  • Senior citizen and adult day care centers.

  • Financial or legal advisers.

  • Case management services that can, for a fee, regularly check and evaluate an older person’s needs.

  • Meals on Wheels service.

  • Agencies that advise on emotional, behavioral and family relationship problems.

    FCRP also administers the Kids Kare at Home program for sick children of faculty and staff, and helps staff, students and faculty find suitable child care for their family members. To find out more about the program, visit the Web at www.umich.edu/~hraa/familycare.