Proposal Title

The University Cannot Love You: Gendered Labour, Burnout, and the Covid-19 Pivot to Digital

Presenter Information

Brenna Clarke GrayFollow

Presentation Type

Long (40 minute) synchronous

Start Date

16-2-2021 1:00 PM

End Date

16-2-2021 1:45 PM

Proposal Abstract

In April, the UN warned about the specific costs to women of the emerging pandemic; in particular, it anticipated the increased unpaid labour in the home as a result of school closures falling disproportionately upon women, as well as concerns about women leaving the paid workforce entirely in order to cope with this labour (UN, 2020). This has an impact on women of all socio-economic and backgrounds, and certainly more dire impacts on more marginalized women and their families. But the early explorations into this moment in the academy should also give us pause, too. A recent study of publishing on Covid-19 itself shows a precipitous decline in women’s participation in journal submissions, as does a review of submissions in political science (Pinho-Gomes et al., 2020; Dolan & Lawless, 2020); academic women are increasingly speaking out about their inability to do their jobs completely, not only due to unpaid labour at home but due to unrecognized pastoral care work within the university (Burzynska & Contreras, 2020; Gabster et. al., 2020). Hannah McGregor, drawing on the work of scholars like Christina Sharpe and Billy-Ray Belcourt, asks us to consider critiques of care by Black and Indigenous scholars and think about when and where care should be refused or resisted: namely, where it props up the institution (McGregor, 2020). But for many of us who work in educational technologies and faculty or student support, resisting or refusing care has an immediate and harmful impact on our colleagues and students. And so, as the work of care in the pivot to digital – both at home and at work – falls disproportionately on women, we find ourselves facing burnout. If we can’t trust the university’s capacity for care, what happens next? Rooted in feminist ethics of care thinking and an embodied approach to pedagogy and scholarship, this talk reviews the most recent research into gendered participation in the academic labour force, care work, and the pressures on women academics at work and at home to argue urgently for a radical rethinking of how care is enacted within the university. References: Burzynska, K., & Contreras, G. (2020). Gendered effects of school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet, 395(10242), 1968. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31377-5 Dolan, K., & Lawless, J. (2020). It Takes a Submission: Gendered Patterns in the Pages of AJPS. American Journal of Political Science, 20 April 2020. https://ajps.org/2020/04/20/it-takes-a-submission-gendered-patterns-in-the-pages-of-ajps/ Gabster, B. P., et. al. (2020). Challenges for the female academic during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet, 395(10242), 1968–1970. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31412-4 McGregor, H. (2020). Guest Post: What Are We Talking About When We Talk About ‘Care’? Hook & Eye, 16 April 2020. https://hookandeye.ca/2020/04/16/guest-post-what-are-we-talking-about-when-we-talk-about-care/ Pinho-Gomes, A.-C., et. al. (2020). Where are the women? Gender inequalities in COVID-19 research authorship. BMJ Global Health, 5(7), e002922. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-002922. United Nations. (2020). Policy brief: The impact of Covid-19 on women. https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2020/policy-brief-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-women-en.pdf.

Statement

This presentation deals directly with the pandemic teaching and learning context. It also speaks to the following streams

  • Beyond Success: Sustainability
  • Beyond Barriers: OER (Open Educational Resources)

It addresses the need to think critically and reflectively about health and well-being--- and may present resources to assist participants in their well-being.

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Feb 16th, 1:00 PM Feb 16th, 1:45 PM

The University Cannot Love You: Gendered Labour, Burnout, and the Covid-19 Pivot to Digital

In April, the UN warned about the specific costs to women of the emerging pandemic; in particular, it anticipated the increased unpaid labour in the home as a result of school closures falling disproportionately upon women, as well as concerns about women leaving the paid workforce entirely in order to cope with this labour (UN, 2020). This has an impact on women of all socio-economic and backgrounds, and certainly more dire impacts on more marginalized women and their families. But the early explorations into this moment in the academy should also give us pause, too. A recent study of publishing on Covid-19 itself shows a precipitous decline in women’s participation in journal submissions, as does a review of submissions in political science (Pinho-Gomes et al., 2020; Dolan & Lawless, 2020); academic women are increasingly speaking out about their inability to do their jobs completely, not only due to unpaid labour at home but due to unrecognized pastoral care work within the university (Burzynska & Contreras, 2020; Gabster et. al., 2020). Hannah McGregor, drawing on the work of scholars like Christina Sharpe and Billy-Ray Belcourt, asks us to consider critiques of care by Black and Indigenous scholars and think about when and where care should be refused or resisted: namely, where it props up the institution (McGregor, 2020). But for many of us who work in educational technologies and faculty or student support, resisting or refusing care has an immediate and harmful impact on our colleagues and students. And so, as the work of care in the pivot to digital – both at home and at work – falls disproportionately on women, we find ourselves facing burnout. If we can’t trust the university’s capacity for care, what happens next? Rooted in feminist ethics of care thinking and an embodied approach to pedagogy and scholarship, this talk reviews the most recent research into gendered participation in the academic labour force, care work, and the pressures on women academics at work and at home to argue urgently for a radical rethinking of how care is enacted within the university. References: Burzynska, K., & Contreras, G. (2020). Gendered effects of school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet, 395(10242), 1968. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31377-5 Dolan, K., & Lawless, J. (2020). It Takes a Submission: Gendered Patterns in the Pages of AJPS. American Journal of Political Science, 20 April 2020. https://ajps.org/2020/04/20/it-takes-a-submission-gendered-patterns-in-the-pages-of-ajps/ Gabster, B. P., et. al. (2020). Challenges for the female academic during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet, 395(10242), 1968–1970. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31412-4 McGregor, H. (2020). Guest Post: What Are We Talking About When We Talk About ‘Care’? Hook & Eye, 16 April 2020. https://hookandeye.ca/2020/04/16/guest-post-what-are-we-talking-about-when-we-talk-about-care/ Pinho-Gomes, A.-C., et. al. (2020). Where are the women? Gender inequalities in COVID-19 research authorship. BMJ Global Health, 5(7), e002922. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-002922. United Nations. (2020). Policy brief: The impact of Covid-19 on women. https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2020/policy-brief-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-women-en.pdf.