Joan Williams

Founding director, Center for WorkLife Law; Distinguished professor of law, University of California, Hastings; Author

Joan C. Williams has played a central role in reshaping the debates over gender, class, and work-family issues for the quarter century. The culmination of this work is Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter (Harvard, 2010). Williams’ prize-winning book Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What To Do About It (Oxford, 2000), and reports such as The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict (co-authored with Heather Boushey); Opt Out or Pushed Out: How the Press Covers Work-Family Conflict, and One Sick Child Away from Being Fired: When Opting Out is not an Option have influenced policymakers, the press, and activists. Williams, who is Distinguished Professor of Law and 1066 Foundation Chair at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has authored or co-authored six books and over ninety academic articles and chapters, including one listed in 1996 as one of the most cited law review articles ever written. As Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law, Williams has played a central role in documenting workplace discrimination against adults with family responsibilities. WorkLife Law,, works with employers, employees, employment lawyers, unions and public policymakers to eliminate discrimination against caregivers, to develop best-practice workplace flexibility policies, and to facilitate adoption of public policies to reconcile work and family.

Williams also is the co-founder of the Project for Attorney Retention, now the PAR Research Institute, which has played a leadership role in helping the legal profession advance and retain women, and offer work-life balance to men as well as women.