Paula England is a sociologist recognized for her research on gender inequality. Her research has explored the role of occupational sex segregation in the sex gap in pay, the effect of motherhood on women?s pay, and the effect of women’s employment and earnings on behavior in the family. She was born in Rapid City, South Dakota and grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated from Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington with a BA in Sociology and Psychology, and earned a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 1975. She has held professorships at U. Texas-Dallas, U. Arizona, U. Pennsylvania, Northwestern, Stanford, and New York U., where she is currently Silver Professor. She is a former editor of the American Sociological Review, and a former president of the American Sociological Association (ASA). She is a recipient of the ASA?s 1999 Bernard Award for gender scholarship, the 2010 ASA Family Section?s Distinguished Career award, and the Population Association of America?s Harriet Presser award for research on gender and demography. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Paula England's work has shown that much of the sex gap in pay results from women's concentration in occupations that have low pay relative to their requirements for education. She found that occupations that increase their percent female see the pay of both men and women go down relative to pay in other jobs. Her work has explored the effect of having children on women's pay, finding that highly skilled women in high-paying jobs lose proportionately more from having a child because, despite the fact that they drop out less upon having children, their higher returns to experience make even small breaks from employment very expensive. Examining effects of women's employment on family life, England discovered that women's employment has no effect on whether husbands initiate divorces, and no effect on whether wives initiate divorces if they are satisfied with their marriages. However, among women with below-average marital satisfaction, employment encourages initiation of divorce. England has devised a theory of asymmetric gender change that highlights the dramatic change in women's roles, but limited change in men's roles, and some of the tensions caused by this. She has shown that U.S. trends toward gender equality stalled on many indicators since 1990.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 53: Social and Political Sciences