Gender and employment relationships are explored by Damaske in recent projects

Sarah Damaske, associate professor of labor & employment relations, sociology, and women’s studies, collaborated with Sarah Patterson, NICHD pre-doctoral trainee in family demography, and Penn State graduate Christen Sheroff on the study “Gender and the MBA: Differences in Career Trajectories, Institutional Support, and Outcomes”.

Published in Gender and Society, this study investigates career path variances between MBA graduates. They found that stable employment has minimal gender differences in promotions, whereas transitional employment often accelerates men’s careers but restricts women’s significantly. Damaske noted, “Women are better equipped to advance their careers when there are clear steps towards promotions that are accessible to entry-level employees.”

In another study published in Social Science Research, “Single Mother Families and Employment, Race, and Poverty in Changing Economic Times,” Damaske, Jenifer Bratter, associate professor of sociology at Rice University, and Adrianne Frech, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Akron, examine how employment, race, and poverty interact in single-mother households during economic change between 2001-2010.

While poverty increased for all single-mother families during this time, it was discovered that racial disparities decreased due to white mothers experiencing the greatest increase in poverty, though gaps between races were still present. In addition, all employment statuses were at a greater risk for poverty in 2010 than in 2001, although part-time, unemployed, and those never employed were at the highest risk. Damaske, Bratter, and Frech concluded that all women were worse off in 2010 as employment was less protective from poverty than in years past.

Since finishing these projects, Damaske has moved on to several other ventures. Presently, her major project is completing her second book which investigates class and gender differences in job loss and unemployment and how they shape people’s experiences with job loss, attempts to return to work, health consequences, and family life. This book was started by a seed grant from the Population Research Institute (PRI), part of the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) and is continued through funding from the National Science Foundation and the American Sociological Association.

A second project of Damaske’s is another study with Adrianne Frech where they will investigate men’s work pathways and men and women’s unemployment pathways over time. Both researchers are also continuing their earlier collaborative research on work and health by exploring how men and women’s unemployment pathways affect their health.

Along with Joshua Smyth, associate director of SSRI and distinguished professor of biobehavioral health and medicine, and Matthew Zawadzki, M.S. and Ph.D. graduate from Penn State, Damaske is examining how socioeconomic status differences influence relationships between work, home, and the experience of stress.

Lastly, Damaske is working on a study with Penn State graduate Adam Lippert titled “Growing Up and Wearing Down: How Work-Family Circumstances are Associated with Immunity Dysfunction Among Young Adult Women.” This paper looks at the relationship between work-family patterns and immunity dysfunction in young women.

Visit the PRI or SSRI websites to learn more about Sarah Damaske and follow her efforts.

Support for “Gender and the MBA: Differences in Career Trajectories, Institutional Support, and Outcomes” and the “Single Mother Families and Employment, Race, and Poverty in Changing Economic Times” studies was provided by the National Institutes of Health and PRI.