Sarah Damaske is an assistant professor of Labor Studies & Employment Relations and Sociology. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from New York University and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Sociology Department at Rice University. Her areas of specialization include gender, work-family, class, and race. Dr. Damaske’s research investigates how competing forces of stratification, particularly gender, race and class, influence work and family transitions.
Her first book, For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women’s Work (Oxford University Press, 2011), received the National Women’s Studies Association Sara Whaley prize for best book on women and labor and the North Central Sociological Association Scholarly Achievement Award. In it, Dr. Damaske challenges the popular perception that middle-class women “choose” whether or not to work, while working class women “need” to work. Dr. Damaske deflates the myth that financial needs dictate if women work, revealing that financial resources make it easier for women to remain at work and not easier to leave it. She argues that the public debate is wrongly centered on need because women respond to pressure to be selfless mothers and emphasize family need as the reason for their work choices.
In her current research, Dr. Damaske is examining the relationships between women’s work pathways and their early socio-economic background, their aspirations about work and family, the macro-economic forces during their transition to adulthood, and their work-family opportunities and constraints; this project also investigates the relationships between work pathways and physical and mental health at age 40. In a second line of research, Damaske is assessing poverty risks for multiracial children in single-parent households, as well as appraising the roles of employment and race in women’s poverty rates. A third on-going project considers the ways that male scientists at elite institutions negotiate work-family conflict.
Other research by Dr. Damaske has been published in Gender & Society, Journal of Health and Social Behavior (forthcoming), Sociological Forum, and Social Science Research. Dr. Damaske's research has received grants from the National Science Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and awards from the American Sociological Association, the Sociologists for Women in Society, the National Women’s Studies Association, the Eastern Sociological Society, the North Central Sociological Association, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. She is a 2011-2012 Work-Family Research Network Early Career Scholar.
Damaske, Sarah. 2011. For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women’s Work. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Available from Amazon.com or Oxford University Press.