Areas of Research/Interest: Gender, Family, Families and Work, Work and Occupations, Social Inequality, The Life Course and Human Development, Social and Individual Change Processes, Qualitative Research Methods and Multi-Method Approaches, Social Policy and Social Change
External Affiliations: Co-President Elect, Sociologists for Women in Society, Founding Board Member, Work-Family Researchers Network; Founding Board Member, Center for the Study of Women in the Professions, UC San Diego; Past President, Eastern Sociological Society; Past Board Member, Council on Contemporary Families; Editorial Board, Work and Occupations; Past Chair, Family Section, American Sociological Association; Member, Sociological Research Association.
Fellowships/Honors: Jessie Bernard Award, American Sociological Association; Distinguished Merit Award, Eastern Sociological Society; William J. Goode Distinguished Book Award, American Sociological Association (for "The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family"); Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University; Visiting Scholar, Russell Sage Foundation; Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research; Distinguished Feminist Lectureship, Sociologists for Women in Society; Honorable Mention, Mirra Komarovsky Book Award, Eastern Sociological Society (for "The Time Divide: Work, Family, and Gender Inequality"); A Best Business Book, Strategy Business Magazine (for "The Time Divide"); Finalist, C. Wright Mills Award and William J. Goode Distinguished Book Award (for "Hard Choices: How Women Decide About Work, Career, and Motherhood"); Charles Phelps Taft Lecturer, University of Cincinnati; Kingsley Birge Endowed Lecture, Colby College; research grants, Sloan Foundation and National Science Foundation.
Kathleen Gerson is Professor of Sociology and Collegiate Professor of Arts and Science at New York University. Her work focuses on the connections among gender, work, and family life in post-industrial societies. She conducts research that seeks to combine the deep understandings of qualitative, life history interviews with the rigor of systematically collected samples and carefully situated comparisons. Her theoretical concern aims to explain the interactive links between processes of social and individual change, with special attention to how institutional conflicts and contradictions prompt creative human action. She is currently at work on a new project investigating the changing dynamics of gender, work, and care in the new economy.
Kathleen’s most recent book, The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family (Oxford University Press, 2011) examines how new generations have experienced growing up amid changing families and blurring gender boundaries. The Unfinished Revolution shows how irreversible but incomplete change has created a growing clash between new egalitarian ideals and resistant social institutions. Although young women and men hope to fashion flexible, egalitarian gender strategies, they are falling back on less desirable options that foster a new gender divide between "self-reliant" women and "neo-traditional" men. The solution to these 21st century conundrums is to finish the gender revolution by creating more flexible, egalitarian workplaces and child-supportive communities.
Professor Gerson is also the author or co-author of four additional books and numerous articles, essays, and opinion pieces. Her first major work, Hard Choices: How Women Decide About Work, Career, and Motherhood (University of California, 1985), provided an early framework for understanding women’s paths and strategies amid revolutionary shifts in work, marriage, and parenthood. A finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award and the William J. Goode Distinguished Book Award, Hard Choices continues to inform ongoing debates about women’s work and family commitments. Her next book, No Man’s Land: Men’s Changing Commitments to Family and Work (Basic Books, 1993), analyzed the pervasive but often ignored changes in men’s lives and charted men’s responses to institutional shifts that have given them both expanded freedom to avoid family responsibilities and rising incentives to become more involved in family life. No Man’s Land was chosen as an ASA "Author Meets the Critics" featured book and selected as a "new and noteworthy" paperback by The New York Times Book Review.
Gerson also teamed with Jerry A. Jacobs (University of Pennsylvania) on The Time Divide: Family, Work, and Gender Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2004), which draws on census, survey, and cross-national data to explain how and why growing inequality in working time is dividing Americans in new ways. The Time Divide was named a "best business book" by Strategy Business magazine, received honorable mention for the Mirra Komarovsky Book Award, and was featured at "Author Meets the Critics" sessions for the American Sociological Association, the Eastern Sociological Society, and the Southern Sociological Society. Work from this project also received the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research.
Kathleen has held visiting positions at the Russell Sage Foundation (New York City) and the Center for the Study of Status Passages and Risks in the Life Course (Bremen, Germany). She has served as President of the Eastern Sociological Society, Chair of NYU Sociology Department, Chair of the ASA Family Section, and on the editorial board the American Sociological Review and the ASA Rose Monograph Series. She currently sits on the editorial board of Work and Occupations and is the Co-President Elect of Sociologists for Women in Society. Her invited lectures include the Distinguished Feminist Lecturer on Women and Social Change (for Sociologists for Women in Society), the Charles Phelps Taft Lecturer (University of Cincinnati), the Kingsley Birge Endowed Lecture (Colby College), and the Keynote Speaker for the Israeli Sociological Society annual meeting.
In the public realm, she participates in a range of national and international initiatives focused on issues of work-family integration and gender inclusion, including projects sponsored by the Ford Foundation on integrating work, family, and community; the Sloan Foundation program on work-family Issues; the gender module of the General Social Survey; Catalyst’s advisory board for a new generation of women leaders, and as a board member for the Council on Contemporary Families.
Selected Recent Articles
"Different Ways of Not Having It All: Work, Care, and Shifting Gender Arrangements in the New Economy." In Beyond the Cubicle: Insecurity Culture and the Flexible Self, edited by Allison Pugh. New York: Oxford (forthcoming).
"Rethinking the Cultural Contradictions of Parenthood: Unpacking Americans’ Views on the Employment of Mothers and Fathers with data from a National Vignette Survey." (with Jerry A. Jacobs, paper in progress)
"Time-Greedy Workplaces and Marriageable Men: The Paradox in Men's Fathering Beliefs and Strategies" (with Pamela Kaufman). In "Men, Wage Work and Care," edited by Paula McDonald. London: Routledge (2012).
"Families and Family Life" (with Stacy Torres). In "The Sociology Project: Introducing the Sociological Imagination," edited by Jeff Manza, Richard Arum, and Lynne Haney. Boston and New York: Pearson (2012).
"Changing Family Patterns and the Future of Family Life"" (with Stacy Torres). In "Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences," edited by Stephen M. Kosslyn and Robert A. Scott. Sage Publications (forthcoming).
"Falling Back on Plan B: The Children of the Gender Revolution Face Uncharted Territory." In "Families as They Really Are," edited by Barbara J. Risman. New York: W.W. Norton (2010).
"Changing Lives, Resistant Institutions: A New Generation Negotiates Gender, Work, and Family Change." Sociological Forum 24 (4) (December, 2009).