Sari Pekkela Kerr, Ph.D, senior research scientist/economist, Wellesley Centers for Women

U.S. Does Not Have Paid (Federal) Family Leave

Although research shows clear benefits of family leave, the U.S. remains the only developed country that does not offer paid family leave for its workers. This hampers women’s work efforts and endangers the wellbeing of children.

Sari Pekkela Kerr, Ph.D, senior research scientist/economist, Wellesley Centers for Women

U.S. Is Lagging Behind in Skilled Immigration Policy

Research demonstrates highly positive impacts of skilled immigration resulting in countries competing globally for talent. Although many countries are continuously introducing new policies to attract more skilled workers, the U.S. immigration policy is in a gridlock with little progress.

Nan Stein, Ed.D., senior research scientist, Wellesley Centers for Women

Sexual Harassment and Violence Are Pervasive in K-12 Schools

Sexual harassment (SH) and sexual violence (SV) in schools are forms of sex discrimination and are prohibited under Federal Law Title IX. As SH/SV on college campuses consume a lot of attention and resources, so must such investments be directed toward prevention efforts in K-12 schools, where SH/SV are rampant and pervasive.

April Pattavina, Ph.D., senior scholar, Justice and Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative, Wellesley Centers for Women

Victims of Domestic Violence Often Face Housing Problems

The physical, psychological, and economic consequences for victims of domestic violence (DV) and their families have been well documented, and although recent federal legislation provides certain housing protections for some DV victims, many women and their families remain at great risk for homelessness and ongoing violence.

The Olympics may be—on the surface—about international goodwill, but they are more baldly about political competition. They also offer a report card on gender equity progress. One could credit the rise of women’s athletics in the U.S., not to the passage of Title IX in 1972, but to the Cold War realization that the medal gap between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was essentially the difference in women’s participation.

Responding to Sexual Assault on Campus: A national assessment and systematic classification of the scope and challenges for investigation and adjudication

Project Director: Linda M. Williams, Ph.D. Co-Investigators: April Pattavina, Ph.D., Alison Cares, Ph.D., and Nan Stein, Ed.D. Funded by: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice

Wellesley Centers for Women Welcomes Two New Research Scientists

Research Scientist Erin Johnson is a microeconomist who studies questions in health care such as how physicians respond to financial incentives when making treatment decisions. In addition to measuring impacts of various factors on treatment, her work is interested in the resultant impacts on patient health, which she measures using patient diagnoses and other health indicators. Some of her current work examines how the physician-patient relationship affects treatment.

Wellesley Centers for Women Welcomes Two New Research Scientists

The work of Research Scientist LaShawnda Lindsay focuses on factors influencing the academic experiences of African American girls and young women—including the teaching and the curricula presented to them and the culture, aspirations, and expectations they bring to their classrooms.

Out-of-School Time Programming & Quality

Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D., Allison Tracy, Ph.D., Ineke Ceder, and Amanda Richer authored “Measuring Program Quality: Evidence of the scientific validity of the Assessment of Program Practices Tool (APT),” which will be published in an upcoming issue of Afterschool Matters. Funded by the William T. Grant Foundation and Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation in two phases, they describe APT’s strengths as an evaluation and program quality measure for out-of-school (OST) programs, a tool that is critical for program directors and policymakers who need to identify where to improve and how to support those improvements within OST programs. In addition, the online, video-based training developed in the second phase to increase reliability of APT raters showed promise, such that the most high priority APT quality areas were found to be the most improved (i.e., most accurate) scores post training.

The vast majority of our society’s leaders are men— every president of the United States and very likely, many of our past bosses. This is also still the case in regional theater even though many in the field can easily think of a few female leaders at those larger regional theaters, like Diane Paulus, Lynn Meadow, and Molly Smith. There are as many women as men who graduate with advanced degrees in theater arts or theater management, and there are plenty of women employed in all ranks but the highest. Moreover, the majority of theater tickets are bought by women. But, for decades, women have held only about 25 percent of leadership positions in nonprofit regional theaters.

Preventing Depression in Women Recovering from Fistula Repair Surgery

Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D. will present “Preventing Depression in Women Recovering from Fistula Repair Surgery in Ethiopia’ during the fifth annual meeting of the Global Consortium for Depression Prevention which will be held at Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA in December. Obstetric fistula is a serious complication that affects 50,000-100,000 women annually, primarily in low-resourced countries. Although depression is a particular problem among women with fistulae, to date few efforts have addressed risk for depression in this population. Gladstone and her team have developed the COFFEE intervention (CBT with Obstetric Fistula for Education and Empowerment) for women recovering from fistula repair surgery. COFFEE is a modular, group intervention, delivered by nurses, that teaches psychoeducation, behavioral activation, relaxation, problem-solving, cognitive restructuring, and a trauma narrative, as needed. In an open trial of this intervention in Gondar, Ethiopia, five separate COFFEE groups were conducted with 26 women who were enrolled within a week of fistula repair surgery. All women completed baseline self-report questionnaires of depressive symptoms and trauma, participated in group sessions (nurse leaders were supervised via Skype), and were assessed immediately following group participation, and then a three-month follow-up (88.5% retention). Results indicate that depressive symptom scores dropped significantly from baseline (M=12.42) to post-group (M=3.5) and to three-month follow-up (M=1.26, all p’s < .01); likewise, there was a significant drop in trauma scores from baseline (M=2.1) to post-group (M=1.13, p<.01), which was sustained at three-month followup (M=1.12). Next steps include conducting a randomized trial of the COFFEE intervention to determine whether or not it prevents depressive symptoms in women with fistulae, relative to a no-intervention control.

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