Joya Misra’s work focuses on gender inequality among advanced welfare states: the locales where gender equality has made the most progress but also where national variation is now most apparent. Her research analyzes this variation over time, considering how gender inequalities have changed over the last 25 years.
She considers the extent to which family and household dynamics contribute to this variation. The gender earnings gap sits at the intersection of family and workplace dynamics, both of which are implicated in the decline of institutionalized gender inequality. In her grant proposal entitled “National Gender Earnings Inequality Dynamics,” she plans analyze eighteen different advanced industrialized countries from 1985 through 2007. She considers how gendered cultural contexts and policy contexts help explain these variations between countries and over time. Her studies aims to (a) document gender earnings gaps, controlling for individual-level factors of human capital and labor supply; (b) estimate what portion of these gender pay gaps can be explained by parenthood, interacting gender with parenthood, and analyzing whether differences in family structure further explain the gender earnings gap; (c) identify the factors that shape the remaining variation in earnings gaps, focusing on gendered cultural values and policies; and (d) develop dynamic models of gender earnings gaps, that consider how these processes play out over time. She argues that not only is the shape of gender inequality dynamic, but that the causes of gender pay gaps are also dynamic, helping develop more nuanced and complex analyses of gender inequality.
Misra's other recent work examines how, through policies, immigrant women workers are drawn to wealthier countries to meet increasing care needs. This project demonstrates how neoliberal welfare state restructuring and immigration policy have created greater inequalities through reinforcing the globalization of care. In 2010 Professor Misra was selected to receive the Sociologists for Women in Society Feminist Mentoring Award. She is currently the editor of the journal Gender & Society, which is the fourth-ranked journal in Sociology, and second-ranked journal in Women's/Gender Studies (based on impact factor).
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