Described as having “something approaching rock star status” in her field by The New York Times Magazine, Joan C. Williams has played a central role in reshaping the conversation about work, gender, and class over the past quarter century. Williams is a Distinguished Professor of Law, Hastings Foundation Chair, and Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Williams is the author or co-author of 12 books and 115 academic articles. Her new book, Bias Interrupted: Creating Inclusion for Real and for Good (Harvard Business Review Press) will be published in November 2022. Her best known prior books are White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America (Harvard Business Review Press, 2016) and What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know (New York University Press, 2014), co-authored with her daughter Rachel Dempsey and now in its 10th edition.
Williams has been on the forefront of research focused on how gender and racial bias plays out in everyday workplace interactions for over two decades and has co-authored a series of influential reports on workplace bias in engineering, academia, tech, architecture, and the legal profession. She is widely known for “bias interrupters” – an evidence-based metrics driven approach to eradicating implicit bias introduced in the Harvard Business Review in 2014. The website www.biasinterrupters.org with open-sourced toolkits for individuals and organizations has been accessed over 240,000 times around the world and has been so influential in Europe that she was awarded an honorary PhD from Utrecht University in 2018.
Williams’ work is well-known among business leaders, HR professionals and individuals. Williams has published 30 articles in the Harvard Business Review and her TED talk, “Why Corporate Diversity Programs Fail – and How Small Tweaks Can Have a Big Impact” has ben viewed close to one million times. Videos she created for LeanIn.org about What Works for Women at Work, were featured on Virgin Airlines as in-flight entertainment, and seen literally around the world.
Williams’ work on social class has influenced scholars, policymakers, and the press. It includes her 2016 election-night essay “What So Many People Don’t Get about the US Working Class,” which has been read over 3.7 million times and is now one of the most read article in HBR’s 90-plus year history and two TedX talks. Her 2016 book White Working Class was widely influential, and was publicly praised by President Joe Biden, who has jokingly referred to himself as her publicist. Other work includes her prize-winning book Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What To Do About It (Oxford, 2000), Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter (Harvard, 2010), and widely read reports such as The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict (co-authored with Heather Boushey).