The Long-run Effect of Maternity Leave Benefits on Mental Health: Evidence from European Countries with Lisa Berkman

April 7, 2016

Maternity leave policies have known effects on short-term child outcomes. However, little is known about the long-run impact of such leaves on women’s health as they age. This seminar examines whether maternity leave policies have an effect on women's mental health in older age. Data for women age 50 years and above from countries in the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) are linked to data on maternity leave legislation from 1960 onwards. A difference-in-differences approach that exploits changes over time within countries in the duration and compensation of maternity leave benefits is linked to the year women were giving birth to their first child at age 16 to 25. Late-life depressive symptom scores of mothers who were in employment in the period around the birth of their first child were compared to depression scores of mothers who were not in employment in the period surrounding the birth of a first child and, therefore, did not benefit directly from maternity leave benefits. The findings suggest that a more generous maternity leave during the birth of a first child is associated with reduced depression symptoms in late life. This seminar explores how policies experienced in midlife may have long-run consequences for women’s health and wellbeing.

Speaker:

Lisa Berkman, Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology; Director, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard. T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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Can Professionally-employed Mothers Have It All? An Examination of the Relationship Between Social Support, Self-efficacy and Turnover Intentions of First-time Mothers with Jamie Ladge

March 31, 2016

The return to work following the birth of a first child is often a period of time when new mothers are working towards mastering the tasks associated with caring for an infant and managing their workplace demands.  New mothers may consider leaving their organization if they question their ability to either effectively perform their job or their parenting roles.  Drawing from social support and social comparison theories, this seminar explores how supportive work environments shape new mothers’ turnover intention.  Using a sample of 695 new mothers who had recently returned to work following the birth of their first child, Ladge finds evidence that perceived manager support and role models who portray work and family balance influence both job and maternal self-efficacies, which contribute to new mothers’ turnover intentions.

Speaker: Jamie Ladge, Associate Professor of Management and Organizational Development, D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University

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Laboratory Evidence of the Effects of Sponsorship on the Competitive Preferences of Men and Women with Katie Coffman

March 9, 2016

How can women get ahead in competitive fields? One proposed way is through sponsorship programs – where a person (the sponsor) advocates for a protégé, and in doing so, takes a stake in her success. While these types of programs have received popular attention, little empirical evidence exists on their effectiveness. Coffman uses a laboratory experiment to explore two channels through which sponsorship has been posited to increase advancement in a competitive workplace. In the experimental setting, being sponsored provides a credible signal of one’s ability and/or creates a link between the protégé’s and sponsor’s payoffs. She finds that both features of sponsorship significantly increase willingness to compete among men on average, while neither of these channels significantly increases willingness to compete among women on average. Similarly, sponsorship has a directionally more positive effect on the earnings of male protégés than female protégés. Therefore, sponsorship does not close the gender gap in competitiveness or earnings. This seminar will explore how these insights from the laboratory could help to inform the design of sponsorship programs in the field. Speaker: 

Katie Coffman, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Ohio State University

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What Works: How to Design Diversity with Iris Bohnet

March 2, 2016

Gender diversity is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back, and debiasing people’s minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Behavioral design offers a new solution. Building on her talk in the fall and her new book, WHAT WORKS: Gender Equality By Design, Professor Bohnet will discuss what organizations can do create more inclusive environments, level the playing field and help diverse teams succeed. Speaker: Iris Bohnet, Professor of Public Policy; Director, Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School

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Two Decades of Gender-Role Attitude Change in Europe with Mary Brinton

February 29, 2016

This seminar explores the assumption of many cross-national studies that gender-role attitudes fall along a single continuum between traditional and egalitarian. Brinton analyzes over-time data from 18 European countries and identifies trajectories of attitudinal change. Brinton demonstrates that while traditional gender-role attitudes have precipitously and uniformly declined, European nations are not converging towards one dominant egalitarian model but instead are diverging across three distinct varieties of egalitarianism.
Speaker: Mary C. Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology, Harvard University
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Gender Inequality: A Comparative View of the Challenges Ahead with Mary Brinton and Claudia Goldin

November 20, 2015


Gender Inequality persists to varying degrees across post-industrial economies. The seminar introduces the new Weatherhead Initiative at Harvard to study comparative gender inequality in OECD countries and outlines some of the major scholarly and policy challenges relating to the structure of work and its articulation with the family. 

Speakers: Mary Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology; Department Chair, Department of Sociology, Harvard University and Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics, Harvard University
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Designing Symbolic Awards to Motivate Knowledge Workers in Gender-Typed Fields: Evidence from a Field Experiment at Wikipedia with Jana Gallus

October 29, 2015

Can symbolic awards motivate individuals to contribute their ideas and knowledge to a common project? Jana Gallus presents results from a large-scale natural field experiment at Wikipedia, exploring whether a purely symbolic award scheme can be used to motivate new editors and thus mitigate Wikipedia's editor retention problem. In a new project, she seeks to understand how awards have to be designed in order to enhance their recipients' self-confidence in gender-incongruent fields and encourage high-ability individuals to contribute their ideas. Speaker: Jana Gallus, Postdoctoral Fellow, Behavioral Insights Group, Harvard Kennedy School

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The Girls of War in 1914 and 2014: The Evolution of the Protection Racket with Laura Sjoberg

October 22, 2015

How have gender roles in war changed over the last century? As women have openly joined militaries and paramilitary organizations, the roles of women in service have advanced and diversified. In the United States, the Combat Exclusion Policy was recently lifted to allow women to serve in frontline combat and complete combat operations. Despite increasing numbers of countries beginning to expand the role of women in their militaries, an analysis comparing the U.S. media coverage of British girls in World War I and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign in 2014 suggests that significations of girls as wars’ innocent, hapless victims in need of men’s protection remain prominent in media outlets. This seminar revisits Sue Rae Peterson’s (1977) idea of the ‘protection racket’ to analyze the current status of women in 21st century war and conflict. Speaker: Laura Sjoberg, WAPPP Fellow; Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Florida

 

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Countering Counterstereotypicality: The Influence of Decision Contexts and Role Models on Women’s Risk Preference with Heidi Liu

October 8, 2015

Research on gender and risk taking indicates men have a greater tolerance for risk compared to women. This seminar explores the effects of gendered contextual cues on women’s risk preferences. Heidi Liu discuses experimental and archival data that finds women become more risk averse in masculine stereotypical realms in decision contexts. She shares analysis from an intervention tested to mitigate women’s risk aversion in masculine decision contexts: exposure to a counter-stereotypical role model (e.g., women succeeding in masculine-stereotypical performance domains). Speaker: Heidi Liu, Ph.D. Candidate in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; J.D. Candidate, Harvard Law School

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The Biases that Blind Us: How Gender Stereotypes Constrain Opportunities for Women in STEM with Corinne Moss-Racusin

September 24, 2015

What is the impact of gender biases on promotion and advancement in the scientific community? Dr. Corinne Moss-Racusin shares her latest research exploring the impact of gender biases on meritocracy, diversity, and the pursuit of knowledge throughout academic science. She discusses educational strategies designed to increase awareness and reduce bias, and provides examples of effective scientific diversity interventions. SPEAKER: Corinne Moss-Racusin, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Skidmore College

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