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Mary Blair-Loy

Professor, Co-Director, Center for Research on Gender in STEMM

Curriculum Vitae

Mary Blair-Loy (she/her) has a B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and an M.Div. from Harvard University. She uses multiple methods to study gender, the economy, work, and family. Much scholarship in these areas assumes that people often make individually strategic trade-offs between work and family obligations. This assumption overlooks how institutions are imbued with moral connotations experienced as externally binding and often conflicting. In contrast, Blair-Loy explicitly analyzes broadly shared, cultural models of a worthwhile life.  E.g., her research on the work devotion schema shows how this cultural model renders professional life meaningful, justifies spending little time on family care, and reinforces gender and race inequality in professional labor market.  Recent research, funded by the National Science Foundation, examines these issues among established STEM faculty (with Erin A. Cech) and early career academic scientists and engineers (with Pamela C. Cosman and colleagues).  She also studies the gender glass ceiling in the US and Norway (with Sigtona Halrynjo). 

Recent recognitions include:

  • 2019 PNAS article (with Erin A. Cech) recognized as a top 10 article of 2019 to make a “large impact on the public understanding of science”
  • 2019 Fellow, Max Planck Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies (Max­Po), Paris.
  • 2018 recognition as a “Top Ten Extraordinary Contributor” in the “Landmark Contributions” category and named as a “Top Fifty Contributor” overall; recognitions were based on publication metrics, impact, and a reputational survey. Bi-annual conference, international Work and Family Researchers Network

She is the past Chair of two of the largest sections in the American Sociological Association: Sex and Gender; and Organizations, Occupations, and Work.  Her research has received attention in the New York Times, Nature, Nature News, Science Daily, Inside Higher Ed, Time Magazine, Boston Globe, Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News, Huffington Post, and other venues.  For recent examples, see:

Link to my Curriculum Vitae 

See Publications Tab for links to scholarly publications


Mary Blair-Loy. 2003. Competing Devotions: Career and Family among Women Executives. Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press. 

William J. Goode Book Award from the American Sociological Association

Listed as one of the 102 most cited works in sociology, 2008-2012, in a study by Neal Caren (UNC).


Edited Volume 

Amy Binder, M. Blair-Loy, John H. Evans, Kwai Ng, and Michael Schudson. 2008. Cultural Sociology and Its Diversity. Special issue of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Vol. 619 (September).

Scholarly Articles and Chapters

Erin A. Cech and M. Blair-Loy. 2019. “The changing career trajectories of new parents in STEM.” PNAS Mar. 5, 2019 116 (10) 4182-4187


Recognized as a top 10 article of 2019 to make a “large impact on the public understanding of science”

Among other outlets, covered in:

Science Daily

Nature News

Inside Higher Ed

Market Watch


Erin Reid, Olivia O’Neill, and M. Blair-Loy. 2018. “Masculinity in Male-Dominated Occupations: How Teams, Time and Tasks Shape Masculinity Contests.” Journal of Social Issues Vol 74, Issue 3, pp. 579-606.

  1. Blair-Loy, Laura E. Rogers*, Daniela Glaser**, Y. L. Anne Wong*, Danielle Abraham** and Pamela C. Cosman. 2017. “Gender in Engineering Departments: Are There Gender Differences in Interruptions of Academic Job Talks?” Social Sciences 6(1): 1-19.

Reprinted in Charles, Maria and Sarah Thébaud, eds. 2018. Gender and STEM: Understanding Segregation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Basel: MDPI Press.

  1. Blair-Loy and Erin A. Cech. 2017. “Demands and Devotion: Cultural Meanings of Work and Overload among Women Researchers and Professionals in Science and Technology Industries.” Sociological Forum 32(1): 5-27. 

(Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award Nominee)


Erin A. Cech, M. Blair-Loy, and Laura E. Rogers*. 2017. “Recognizing Chilliness: How Schemas of Inequality Shape Views of Culture and Climate in Work Environments.” American Journal of Cultural Sociology 6(1):125-160.

  1. Blair-Loy and Stacy J. Williams*. 2017. “Long Hours and the Work Devotion Schema: The Case of Executive Men in the United States.” Pp. 141-155 in Berit Brandth, Sigtona Halrynjo and Elin Kvande, eds. Work-Family Dynamics and the Competing Logics of Regulation, Economy and Morals. Routledge.
  2. Blair-Loy and Stacy J. Williams*. 2017. “Devoted Workers, Breadwinning Fathers: The Case of Executive Men in the United States.” Pgs. 41-60 in M. Oechsle and B. Liebig, eds. Fathers in Work Organizations: Inequalities and Capabilities, Rationalities and Politics. Berlin/Opladen/Toronto: Budrich.
  3. Blair-Loy, Arlie Hochschild, Allison J. Pugh, Joan C. Williams, and Heidi Hartmann. 2015. “Stability and Transformation in Gender, Work, and Family: Insights from The Second Shift for the Next Quarter Century.” Community Work and Family 18: 435-454.

Erin A. Cech and M. Blair-Loy. 2014. “Consequences of Flexibility Stigma among Academic Scientists and Engineers.” Work and Occupations 41: 86-110.

     Covered in: 

Blair-Loy, M., Laura Pecenco, and Erin Cech. 2013. The Persistence of Male Power and Prestige in the Professions. Center for Research on Gender in the Professions Report.

Blair-Loy, M. and Stacy Williams. 2013.  “Male Model of Career.” Pp. 549-552 in Vicki Smith, ed. Sociology of Work: An Encyclopedia. Sage Publications.

Williams, Joan, M. Blair-Loy, and Jennifer Berdahl. 2013. “Cultural Schemas, Social Class, and the Flexibility Stigma.” Journal of Social Issues 69: 209-234.   

Blair-Loy, M., Amy S. Wharton, and Jerry Goodstein. 2011. “Exploring the Relationship between Mission Statements and Work-Life Practices in Organizations.”Organization Studies 32: 427-450.

Blair-Loy, M. 2010. "Moral Dimensions of the Work-Family Nexus." Pp. 439-453 in Handbook of the Sociology of Morality, edited by S. Hitlin and S. Vaisey.New York: Springer Science+Business Media.

Cech, Erin A. and M. Blair-Loy. 2010. “Perceiving Glass Ceilings? Meritocratic versus Structural Explanations of Gender Inequality among Women in Science and Technology." Social Problems57: 371-397.

Blair-Loy, M. 2009. “Work Without End? Scheduling Flexibility and Work-to-Family Conflict among Stockbrokers.” Work and Occupations 36: 279-317.

Goodstein, Jerry, M. Blair-Loy, and Amy S. Wharton. 2009. “Organization-Based Legitimacy: Core Ideologies and Moral Action.” 2009. In I. Reed and J. Alexander, eds. Meaning and Method: The Cultural Approach to Sociology. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.

Binder, Amy, M. Blair-Loy, John H. Evans, Kwai Ng, and Michael Schudson. 2008. “The Diversity of Culture.” Pp. 1-9 in Cultural Sociology and its Diversity. Special Issue of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Vol. 619 (September).

Wharton, Amy S., Sarah Chivers, and M. Blair-Loy.2008. "Use of Formal and Informal Work-Family Policies on the Digital Assembly Line." Work and Occupations 35: 327-350.

Wharton, Amy S. and Mary Blair-Loy. 2006. “Long Work Hours and Family Life: A Cross-National Study of Employees’ Concerns.” Journal of Family Issues 27: 415-436.

Blair-Loy, M. and Michael Frenkel. 2005. “Societal Cultural Models of Work and Family: An International Perspective.” In M. Pitt-Catsouphes and P. Raskin, eds.,Work-Family Encyclopedia, Chestnut Hill, MA: Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College.

Blair-Loy, M. 2004. “Work Devotion and Work Time.” In C.F. Epstein and A. Kalleberg, eds., Fighting for Time: Shifting Boundaries of Work and Family. Russell Sage Foundation.

Blair-Loy, M. and Amy S. Wharton. 2004. “Mothers in Finance: Surviving and Thriving.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 596: 151-171.

Blair-Loy, M. and Amy S. Wharton. 2004. “Organizational Commitment and Constraints on Work-Family Policy Use: Corporate Flexibility Policies in a Global Firm.” Sociological Perspectives 47: 243-267.

Blair-Loy, M. and Gretchen DeHart. 2003. "Family and Career Trajectories among African American Female Attorneys.” Journal of Family Issues 24: 908-933. (Reprinted in P. J. Dubeck, ed. Workplace/Women’s Place, 3rd edition. 2006, Roxbury Publishing Company.)

Blair-Loy, M. and Jerry A. Jacobs. 2003. “Globalization, Work Hours, and the Care Deficit among Stockbrokers.” Gender & Society 17: 230-249. (Reprinted in M.K. Kimmerman, J.S. Litt, and C.E. Bose, eds., Global Dimensions of Carework. 2006. Stanford University Press.)

Blair-Loy, M. and Amy S. Wharton. 2002. “Employees’ Use of Family-Responsive Policies and the Workplace Social Context.” Social Forces 80: 813-845.

Wharton, Amy S. and M. Blair-Loy. 2002. "The ‘Overtime Culture’ in a Global Corporation: A Cross National Study of Finance Professionals' Interest in Working Part-Time." Work and Occupations 29: 32-63.

Blair-Loy, M. 2001. “Cultural Constructions of Family Schemas: The Case of Women Executives.” Gender & Society 15: 687-709.

Blair-Loy, M. 2001. "It's Not Just What You Know, It's Who You Know: Technical Knowledge, Rainmaking, and Gender among Finance Executives." Research in the Sociology of Work 10: 51-83.

Blair-Loy, M. 1999. "Career Patterns of Executive Women in Finance: An Optimal Matching Analysis." American Journal of Sociology 104: 1346-97.

Jacobs, Jerry A. and M. Blair-Loy. 1996. "Gender, Race, Local Labor Markets, and Occupational Devaluation." Sociological Focus 29: 209-230.

Stolzenberg, Ross M., M. Blair-Loy and Linda J. Waite. 1995. "Religious Participation in Early Adulthood: Age and Family Life Cycle Effects on Church Membership." American Sociological Review 60: 84-103.