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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Stein lauded for her support of lactation spaces on campus

Margot Stein, flanked by Clare Counihan of the Association for Women Faculty & Professionals, right, was honored for her support of lactation spaces and women’s leadership.

Margot Stein, a faculty member with three appointments, is the recipient of the 2018 Mary Turner Lane Award, which recognizes a woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the lives of women at Carolina. 

She received the award for her years of service as the chair of the faculty governance Committee on the Status of Women and for her central role in working with the Office of the Provost to secure funds for additional lactation spaces across campus in 2016.

Women who breastfeed or pump on campus have the option of using any of 22 designated lactation rooms, thanks in large part to Stein’s efforts. On Dec. 12, the University’s Association for Women Faculty and Professionals recognized Stein’s contributions at the association’s annual reception.

“This [award] came out of the blue,” Stein said. “I was stunned, honored and humbled to receive the award, although the work was done by many people. I was just in the front.”

A psychologist at the UNC Craniofacial Center for 16 years, Stein is a clinical associate professor of pediatrics and adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine. She is also an adjunct professor and former associate professor of dental ecology in the School of Dentistry. She served on the Committee on the Status of Women as a member (2005–09) and as chair (2014–18). The committee addresses ongoing concerns of women faculty members, identifies obstacles to achievement and maintenance of equality in the representation and status of women on the faculty and proposes steps for overcoming the obstacles. 

Stein and others saw that a long-standing obstacle to nursing women employees, students and visitors was the lack of spaces where they could privately and comfortably breastfeed or pump. With the Carolina Women’s Center and the faculty governance committee collaborating, Stein drove the initiative to secure funding for 12 more designated lactation locations on campus for a total of 22 rooms.

Under Stein’s guidance, the faculty governance committee championed the CWC’s lactation-rooms initiative. This was followed by the creation and distribution to campus departments of tool kits with policies and procedures affecting women faculty in two areas: the availability, accessibility and quality of lactation spaces on campus and family leave. In collaboration with other faculty governance committees, the Committee on the Status of Women also worked with the Office of the Provost on monitoring the number of women in campus leadership positions as compared to men. In 2016 and 2017, the committee followed up on earlier recommended interventions related to the retention and promotion of women faculty and their ascension to leadership positions. 

Stein’s influence at Carolina also includes teaching courses on behavior, communication and culture at the UNC School of Dentistry. She has lent her expertise to numerous other courses, lectures, seminars, panel discussions and continuing education workshops.

“Margot’s long career in various aspects of academia, including a doctorate in a humanities field before her later work in health sciences, gave her insights into questioning practices and leading us to better ones across the whole campus. She is an inspiration to women and men, and Carolina is better because of her leadership and determination,” said Brent Wissick, chair of the Committee on the Status of Women.

The award, established in 1986, honors the late Mary Turner Lane, a School of Education professor and founding director of the curriculum in women’s studies.