Assistant Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
Why Do Gender Inequalities Persist in Economic Development, Work and Families?
Despite large-scale social changes over the last several decades, gender is still a key factor that influences who generates economic growth as an entrepreneur, who does the housework, and who leads scientific discoveries. The central goal of my research is to identify and understand the social processes that reproduce particularly persistent forms of inequality like these. My analytic strategy centers on making theoretical connections between micro-level social psychological processes and macro-level institutional structures. To this end, I employ multiple methodologies, including experimental studies, large-scale survey analysis, cross-national comparisons and in-depth interviews.
One line of my research focuses on gender inequality in entrepreneurship and innovation. Three studies on this topic suggest that supportive work-family policies and widely shared cultural beliefs about gender work together to structure the context in which individuals a) perceive business ownership as a viable labor market option and b) gain legitimacy and support for their business idea. In other work, I consider how norms of masculinity, work-family policies, and stereotypic beliefs about men’s and women’s abilities matter for understanding phenomena such as the household division of labor, the formation of gender ideologies, and men’s overrepresentation in academic science and engineering.
Thébaud, Sarah. Forthcoming. “Status Beliefs and the Spirit of Capitalism: Accounting for Gender Biases in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.” Social Forces.
Pedulla, David S. and Sarah Thébaud (equal authorship). 2015. “Can We Finish the Revolution? Gender, Work-Family Ideals, and Institutional Constraint.” American Sociological Review. 80(1):116-139.