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Karen E. Campbell

Associate Professor of Sociology Emerita
Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, College of Arts and Science; Affiliated Faculty, Women and Gender Studies

How has gender inequality been manifested in the United States over the last 150 years?

Since Joan Acker’s pivotal article appeared in American Journal of Sociology in 1973 (“Women and Social Stratification: A Case of Intellectual Sexism”), the study of gender inequality – and its links to inequalities rooted in race and class – has become a dominant theme in sociological research. There are innumerable ways in which structures and processes create and reinforce gender inequality; my work has examined the sources of and changes in gender inequality in several different U.S. contexts. In one project, I traced changes in gender role attitudes among US adults, with attention to regional differences. In another project, I conducted research on women physicians, from 1880 to 1920, and found that broad cultural forces, rather than the actions of male physicians, best accounted for state-level variation in women’s share of physicians.