Ninety years ago this week Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment—giving women a right to vote that should have been inalienable. This week, Joanne Gavin continues apace in co-authoring her third book, "Live Your Dreams: Change Your World," a powerful guide for women that offers scientific approaches from fields of business management, cognitive and executive psychology, and stress management and preventative medicine. The book is set for 2011 publication by American Mental Health Foundation Press.
Gavin is chair of the Department of Management in the Business School at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. (disclaimer: I am Gavin's colleague at Marist and serve on the AMHF Board.) Gavin is co-authoring her latest book with her co-authors from "The Financial Times Guide To Executive Health, Second Edition." These include James Campbell Quick, stress expert and Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Cary Cooper, and Jonathan Quick, MD.
"We are asking women to take stock of their physical, emotional, and spiritual health," Gavin said. "Although we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment this week,many women still need to fight to obtain access to equal opportunity in many settings.
"The stresses faced create a perfect storm of hurdles, frustrations, demands from others, as well as internal doubts. Women still bear the bulk of child care/household work, and have the additional pressure of careers and service in the community. Many women now have the double responsibility of taking care of children and aging parents."
In the United States, women's lifespan traditionally have been longer than men's. "Women's life expectancy is going down as women continue to assume the double responsibility of home and career," Gavin said, "and the gap between their life span and men's is narrowing."
In their upcoming book, Gavin and her co-authors offer cognitive therapy approaches as well as medical findings on stress management. The role of spirituality in certain situations is examined, as this is now considered one of the areas to be assessed in executive health. One situation where spirituality comes into play is when women face situations that cannot be changed, and here Gavin suggests the use of the traditional serenity prayer: "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Gavin and her husband David have been married for 36 years. Gavin believes herself fortunate in having been a full-time mother, and after this experiencing a challenging and rewarding career.
Gavin credits Dennis Murray, President of Marist College, for being aware of the lack of significant administrative positions for women in higher education, and credits Murray for inviting herself and others to be part of the Higher Education Resource Services (HERS), a group offering intensive workshops in leadership services in academia. Gavin frequently reflects fondly on the life of her father, Daniel Haar. "My Dad always supported me in whatever I did. He didn't have any pre-ordained idea of what life should be like for me. He supported and affirmed all the choices I made along the way."