Dr. Silke Aisenbrey Wins International Work-Family Research Award

2018 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence Recognizes Outstanding Research in the Field

Dr. Silke Aisenbrey, professor and chair of the sociology department at Yeshiva University, has won the 2018 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research.

Dr. Silke Aisenbrey

Sponsored by the Corporate Partners of the Boston College Center for Work & Family Roundtable and awarded by 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. Along with co-author Dr. Annette Fasang, professor of microsociology at Humboldt-University Berlin, Dr. Aisenbrey received the award for publishing the best work-family research paper in 2017. Titled “The Interaction of Employment- and Family-Trajectories: Germany and the United States in Comparison,” Dr. Aisenbrey and Dr. Fasang’s research studied the evolution of families and careers in the two countries side by side.

With data from the German National Education Panel Study and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth for the United States, they focused on two questions: 1) which women and men have been able to combine work and family in ways that privilege each and 2) how social policies, like those in Germany, 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.”

“In Germany, the combination of work and family careers are very different for women and men regardless of social class,” explained Dr. Aisenbrey. “The German welfare state’s support for families seems to support traditional gender roles and to promote gender inequality. In the United States, we find fewer gender differences in the ability to combine work and family careers, but social class differences are very pronounced. White women with families have similarly good chances of access to prestigious occupations as white men do. Yet women, especially black women, are far more likely than men to experience single parenthood and, at the same time, be employed in low prestige and unstable employment: these women are not protected by the US welfare state.

“Winning 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.”

“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.”

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