Podcast: Female Educators and Pandemic Stress

Side-by-side portraits show a woman with long dark hair wearing a blue silk shirt and a man with short dark hair and beard wearing a checkered shirt.
Kristen Wilcox, associate professor of educational policy and leadership at UAlbany's School of Education, and Aaron Leo, assistant director of research for NYKids

By Bethany Bump

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 7, 2023) — In the latest episode of The Engagement Ring, University at Albany researchers Kristen Wilcox and Aaron Leo discuss the results of a study that found female educators experienced the COVID-19 pandemic more negatively than their male colleagues.

The study, titled “Gendered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: a mixed-method study of teacher stress and work-life balance,” was conducted by NYKids, a research-practice partnership housed within the University’s School of Education (SOE). It was published last fall in the journal Community, Work and Family.

The logo for The Engagement Ring, a podcast from UAlbany's Office for Public Engagement.

On the podcast, Wilcox, associate professor of educational policy and leadership at SOE, and Leo, assistant director of research for NYKids, explain that female educators from 38 schools around New York reported higher levels of stress and dissatisfaction than their male counterparts.

While some studies have suggested high stress levels among women in the workforce during the pandemic may have been due to increased childcare duties back home, the NYKids study found these higher stress levels were more related to issues at work and COVID than childcare responsibilities.

“That was one thing that we kind of found a bit surprising, I guess, given some of the other expectations and some other research that was coming out about just mothers across the country and what they were experiencing,” Leo said.

Their findings have implications for policy and practice, particularly when it comes to retaining teachers at schools already experiencing staff shortages.


Read the full transcript.


The Engagement Ring podcast, developed by UAlbany's Office of Public Engagement, features conversations with higher education professionals, scholars and community partners working to make the world a better place through collaborative approaches and solutions to societal challenges.