DETROIT – As a feminist and organizational sociologist, Krista Brumley, Ph.D., has focused her research on gender, work-family balance and work organizations in the United States and Mexico.
For the past 15 years, she’s also made a tremendous difference for countless colleagues at Wayne State University. As the lead investigator for the Gender Equity Advances Retention in STEM (GEARS) grant, Brumley, along with an interdisciplinary team of researchers, secured funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue to seek the reduction of barriers to hire, retain and advance women and underrepresented faculty at Wayne State.
“This project seeks to affect transformational change in the work-family policies and culture of Wayne State,” said David Merolla, Ph.D., chair and associate professor in WSU’s Department of Sociology. “As the principal investigator and public face of the GEARS project, Dr. Brumley has become the go-to person at Wayne State for issues relating to gender equity and work-life balance.”
For her unwavering commitment and determined efforts in advocating for women on campus, Brumley was named the 2022 recipient of the Wayne State Warriors of Distinction Employee award, presented by the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Career Development Committee. The award is given annually to a WSU employee who demonstrates a sustained commitment to women and/or issues of diversity, equity and inclusion at the university.
“Advocating for gender equity at Wayne State is Dr. Brumley’s full-time job,” said Merolla, who nominated his colleague for the annual award.
Brumley was recognized during a virtual ceremony held on Nov. 17. Also honored as Warriors of Distinction were Sarah Battiston, a third-year medical student, who received the student award, and Shira Heisler, M.D., the medical director of the Detroit Public Health STD Clinic and a WSU assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Disease, who received the alumni award
“I am very, very appreciative and feel very privileged that the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Career Development Committee selected me to represent this honor,” Brumley said. “I am quite grateful.”
More than 40 individuals attended the virtual ceremony, including WSU President M. Roy Wilson and 36th District Court Judge Jacquelyn McClinton, who gave the keynote address.
“Dr. Brumley, thank you so much for your work on issues related to gender equity and work-life balance at Wayne State,” Judge McClinton said. “We can all use a course on work-life balance. I know that I can. I am thoroughly impressed with some of the initiatives that you have launched around gender equity.”
Under Brumley’s leadership, the GEARS project has launched numerous initiatives and provides much-needed training and support for faculty, staff and administrators, making Wayne State a model for how universities can ensure gender equity and provide an environment where women can blossom in their careers and find a satisfactory work-life balance.
“Dr. Brumley has been a stalwart supporter and advocate for women at Wayne State and has demonstrated commitment to gender equality in all aspects of her work,” Merolla said. “She is an ideal candidate for this award and how her work embodies the spirit of the Warriors of Distinction Award.”
Other projects that Brumley is studying includes a collaborative effort to examine how work, family and social well-being among heterosexual, dual-income couples have changed within the context of COVID-19.
“This research project examines how the dramatic shifts in work due to COVID-19 affected families and how women, specifically, bore the brunt of these shifts by becoming full-time employees, teachers and caregivers,” Morella said. “This research was part of a larger research agenda that examines work-life balance in the new economy and how women deal with the increased demands on their time and energy due to shifts in economic and family relations in the 21st century.”
Brumley is also conducting research on professional and managerial employees in the automotive industry focused on flexible work arrangements, career advancement, and work-family conflict of both men and women.
“As a sociologist, I’ve been thinking about analyzing and writing on issues of inequality for about 20 years,” Brumley said. “I’m not sure where all that time has gone. It’s clear from my own research and any other scholars that we’ve made progress. But we have a lot of work left to do to reduce these persistent inequities for women, but particularly for mothers and women of different races and ethnicities. Anywhere from the pay gap where men still earn $1.28 to every one dollar that women earn, and barriers in women’s career development.”