Naomi Gerstel

Naomi Gerstel is Distinguished University Professor and professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. With Dr. Mary Fechner (Office of Research and Development), Gerstel serves as Mentor to the ISSR Scholars. Gerstel’s research and courses focus on family, carework, job hours/schedules, gender, race, and family and work policy.  Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Sloan Foundation, and Russell Sage Foundation, and publications appeared in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Contexts, Social Forces, Social Problems, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Gender & Society, among others. 

Her most recent articles have examined marriage as a “greedy” institution, the effects of women’s employment on care to kin and friends, effects of race on caregiving, labor unions’ family policies, childcare, Family and Medical Leave Act, and  hours and schedules of medical personnel. 

Her co-authored and co-edited books include Unequal Time, Nuclear Family Values, Extended Family Lives , Commuter Marriage, Families at Work, Families and Work, and Public Sociology.   She has received the Conti Award, Robin Williams Award, Rosabeth Moss Kanter International Award For Research Excellence in Families, Race, Class and Gender section award for best article, the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity and the Distinguished University Teaching award. Gerstel also chaired the Family Section of the American Sociological Association and co-edited the ASA Rose Book Series, and the Backstage Column for Contexts. Her current research consists of two projects, one on care to relatives and friends and another on families’ involvement in lives of undergraduates.

 Expertise: dual earner; families of color: African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans; paid family leave; work hours and schedules; FMLA; changing definitions of family; dependent care; child care; flexibility, overwork/workload; elder care; FMLA

 Recent Publications:

  • Naomi Gerstel and Dan Clawson, 2014. “Flexible” schedules aren’t flexible at all.” The Guardian,
  • Dan Clawson and Naomi Gerstel. 2014.  “Unpredictable Schedules Inflicted on Workers are Wrecking People’s Lives” American Prospect
  •  Naomi Gerstel and Dan Clawson, Forthcoming.  “Class Advantage and the Gender Divide: Flexibility on the Job and at Home.” American Journal of Sociology, v. 120
  • Amy Armenia, Naomi Gerstel, and Coady Wing. 2014 “Workplace Compliance With the Law: The Case of the Family and Medical Leave Act.”  Work and Occupations.
  • Naomi Gerstel. 2011. “Rethinking Families and Community: The Color, Class, and Centrality of Extended Kin Ties.” Sociological Forum 26(1): 1-20.

Keywords: marriage, nuclear families, social commentary, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, social classes, social policy, labor, trade unions, work hours, gender, class, equality, working class