Aisenbrey Named Finalist for Prestigious Work-Family Research Award

Sociology Professor Recognized for Study of Employment and Family Trajectories in United States and Germany

Dr. Silke Aisenbrey, associate professor and chair of the sociology department at Yeshiva University, has been named as one of five finalists for the 2018 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research.

Dr. Silke Aisenbrey

A joint project of the Center for Families at Purdue University and the Boston College Center for Work & Family, the international award raises the awareness of high-quality work-family research among the scholar, consultant and practitioner communities. Nominations undergo a rigorous review by a committee of 60 leading experts in the field and are drawn from more than 2,500 articles published in 83 English-language journals from around the world. This year’s winner will be announced at the upcoming Work-Family Researchers’ Network conference in Washington D.C., June 21-23.

Dr. Aisenbrey received recognition for an article she co-authored with Dr. Annette Fasang, professor of microsociology at Humboldt-University Berlin, in The American Journal of Sociology. Titled “The Interaction of Employment- and Family-Trajectories: Germany and the United States in Comparison,” Aisenbrey’s research moves beyond an analysis of the gender wage gap at a specific point in time to study the larger picture of the evolution of families and careers in the two countries side by side.

“Being a finalist for this award is very meaningful to me since it really draws attention to the importance of looking at more than just brief moments of our lives, but at lives as a whole,” said Dr. Aisenbrey. “In our research, we look at how people build work careers, how we form families and how these two spheres of life are interwoven for women and men. Our research demonstrates that, in the United States, work-family careers that are characterized by high occupational prestige are more or less equally accessible for men and women. However, women are far more likely than men to experience single parenthood and, at the same time, be employed in low-prestige and unstable employment.”

“As social scientists, policymakers and political pundits discuss the question ‘Can women have it all?’, our paper focuses attention on the more relevant question of which women and men have been able to combine work and family in ways that privilege each,” she added. “Even more importantly, we address the question of how social policies that intend to take the burden off of mothers and help them to negotiate work and family life might, paradoxically, hurt women’s careers at the top while also protecting single mothers from a lifetime as ‘working poor.’ ”

“Professor Aisenbrey is a true teacher-scholar,” said Dr. Karen Bacon, the Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “As a teacher, she brings the excitement of inquiry to each and every one of her courses. And as a scholar, she continues to expand our understanding of the critical forces that shape the lives of working men and women. Her research is relevant, impactful and important, and we are so very proud that it is being recognized as such among the international forum of scholars.”