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 Sullivan 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’ path-breaking work helped create the field of work-family studies and modern workplace flexibility policies.
Williams’ work on social class has influenced scholars, policymakers, and the press. It includes her prize-winning 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). Williams has played a central role in documenting how work-family conflict affects working-class families, through reports such as “One Sick Child Away From Being Fired” (2006) and “Improving Work-Life Fit in Hourly Jobs” (2011).
Williams’ Harvard Business Review article, “What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class” has been read over 3 million times and is now the most read article in HBR’s 90-plus year history. In addition, Williams uses the findings of social science to create stable schedules for hourly workers and interrupt implicit bias at major U.S. companies (see stableschedules.org and biasinterrupters.org).
Williams recently launched a project on Bridging the Diploma Divide in American Politics (see diplomadivide.org).