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Joan Williams

  • Distinguished Professor of Law and Hastings Foundation Chair, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
    Member, Rework America Task Force

As an expert in the field of social inequality, Joan C. Williams is Distinguished Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. She has been described by The New York Times Magazine as having “something approaching rock star status” in her field. Her work has been covered everywhere from Oprah Magazine to The Atlantic and Slate to Fox News. She has authored 11 books and over ninety academic articles. She is one of the ten most cited scholars in her field.

Her work on social class includes her election-night essay “What So Many People Don’t Get About the US Working Class,” published online in Harvard Business Review, which has been read over 3.7 million times. She has also written White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America, the prize-winning Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What To Do About It (Oxford, 2000) and widely read reports such as The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict (co-authored with Heather Boushey) that have influenced policymakers, the press, and activists.

Her 2014 book (co-written with her daughter Rachel Dempsey) What Works For Women at Work was praised by The New York Times Book Review: “Deftly combining sociological research with a more casual narrative style, What Works for Women at Work offers unabashedly straightforward advice in a how-to primer for ambitious women.” Following its success, Sheryl Sandberg and LeanIn.org asked Joan to create short videos sharing the strategies discussed in the book. The videos have been downloaded over 975,000 times and are featured by Virgin Airlines as in-flight entertainment, seen literally around the world.