Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, parenting and home-tutoring while balancing professional responsibilities has been a major concern. Overlooked in the past several months, however, is the importance of readjusting work obligations in the context of caring for one’s parents or grandparents, or eldercare in the midst of a global health crisis.
Dr. Saumya Pant, director of the Communication and Development Studies program and a professor of instruction in the School of Media Arts and Studies, participated in a virtual panel discussion on September 16 entitled: “Balancing Work and Eldercare Amid Coronavirus.”
The panel was sponsored by The Female Quotient, a female owned business that “advances equality in the workplace through the power of collaboration” according to its website.
Participants addressed the lack of balance women face as they juggle responsibilities for their families and the aged, work obligations, and their own personal health.
For Pant, the only way to mediate this challenge is to provide female employees with the power and agency to express how they would like to balance their lives. More than that, though, women should be heard and their suggestions implemented.
“We should be asking the women who have been doing this forever, rather than bringing in a consultant to do a workshop on it. Maybe all that they need is five minutes of yoga, chanting, relaxation, or just to be left alone,” she said.
Dr. Pant began her journey at Ohio University with a PhD from the School of Communication Studies. Her interests include the area of communication for social change, with a focus on gender issues in developing environments and how communication can be strategized to empower the voiceless in these areas.
Dr. Pant and her husband, also an Ohio University faculty member, work to raise their two daughters in an environment where they are taught to both speak their minds and listen. An interesting fact about Dr. Pant is that she has been to almost 44 countries, but always finds her way back to her home to Athens.