Keynote Speech
Work-Life Integration in Academia:
Childcare Support in a Higher Institution in the U.S.
Tsuyako Nakamura
Faculty of Global Communications, Doshisha University, Japan

It is essential to take into consideration of gender equality in sustaining society. This research raises an issue of gender equity by focusing on work-life in academia with a case study of a childcare system in a higher institution in the United States. It is critical to sustain excellent human resources by securing their personal time, as it is a matter of sustainability of higher institutions regarding whether they can do so in academia. The percentage of women faculty is still low, and one of the reasons for it is the difficulties of work-life integration.

To make a progress in this respect, this research examines how a research university in the United States is dealing with the issue. The objective of this study is to overview one of the research universities’ situations regarding childcare support and examine how the institution’s initiatives have been conducted. Research universities in the U.S. are struggling but are more attentive to work-life integration (WLI) with their goals to sustain their competitiveness and fairness regarding gender equity. They have been facing severe global competition and a lower percentage of female faculty, which drive the academia to realize the need of transforming itself to be more family-friendly for women faculties, especially those with children. The academia is thus exploring a way to be more supportive by improving its work environment for the faculty’s work-life integration.

This study grasps the overall changes that affected gender equity in American society, situations of working parents in the United States, and women in academia and focuses on the importance and management of work-life integration. To overview the gender equity policy and examine the trend of women’s advancement in academia, the details of the support system and daycare centers are scrutinized. The childcare support at the higher institution is summarized through literature, and the background of this support system is discussed.

The promoting efforts are analyzed by scrutinizing the strategy of providing childcare and the mechanism of realizing the demand for childcare. The expected results of this work-life integration centering on the daycare center study are to clarify how it resulted in the improvement of the work environment, as well as the policies and actions that the higher institution is taking. This finding may be considered significant in the way that the current situation of a research university may give birth to a way for other institutions to transform themselves to be more conscious about work-life integration and work strategy.

It concludes that this type of childcare is critical for those who work there to manage their work-life and to be more productive to meet the demand in academia. Through this study, some of the unique aspects of the trend of promoting women’s academics’ work-life integration become more prominent of supporting actions in working parents with their childcare needs to achieve their work-life integration.
Keywords: work-life integration, daycare centers, academia, gender equity
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April 10, 2023Still Open
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May 01, 2023
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