Department of Women's and Gender Studies University of Missouri Department of Women's and Gender Studies

Joan HermsenJoan Hermsen

Chair, Associate Professor of Sociology
Webpage in Sociology
phone: 573-884-1420

Joan Hermsen received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and has been at MU since 1997. Her areas of interest include social inequality, work and labor markets, gender, and quantitative methods.

Research Interests

My research focuses on gender inequality in the labor market. For example, I have written on topics such as gender differences in work-related travel, the use of flextime, occupational gender segregation, the gender wage gap, and the glass ceiling.

Recent work with my colleagues David Cotter (Union College) and Reeve Vanneman (University of Maryland) reflects my interest in the micro-macro problem in sociology. In particular, we examine how the characteristics of local labor markets shape individual lives, specifically individual labor market outcomes. Taking the macro-structural theories of gender inequality articulated by Janet Saltzman Chafetz, Rae Lesser Blumberg and others as a starting point, this research argues that where the demand for women's labor is higher, women's work is more highly valued and there is, therefore, greater gender equality. We use multilevel techniques (HLM) in this research as this method allows us to link the analysis of both situational opportunities and individual-level processes in a single design. This project has resulted in several presentations and papers.

In addition, I am also co-directing a study of sexual assault. This study, funded by the Missouri Department of Health, investigates the incidence and prevalence of adult sexual assault in Missouri. We are analyzing data from local law enforcement agencies and sexual assault centers, as well as developing and fielding a sexual assault victimization survey.

Selected Publications

  • Evertsson, Marie, Paula England, Joan Hermsen, and David Cotter.  2007.  “How Does Gender Inequality in Employment and Earnings Vary by Educational Stratum in Sweden and the United States?”   International Journal of Sociology, 37(2): 9-28.
  • Cotter, David A., Joan M. Hermsen, and Reeve Vanneman.  2007.  “Placing Family Poverty in Area Contexts: The Use of Multilevel Models in Spatial Research.” Pp. 163-188 in Lobao, Hooks, and Tickamyer (eds.) The Sociology of Spatial Inequality, Albany: SUNY Press.
  • David Cotter, Paula England, and Joan Hermsen.  May, 2007.  “Moms and Jobs: Trends in Mothers’ Employment and Which Mothers Stay Home.”   A Fact Sheet from the Council on Contemporary Families.
  • Cotter, David A., Joan M. Hermsen, and Reeve Vanneman. Forthcoming. “Systems of Gender, Race, and Class Inequality: Multilevel Analyses."  Social Forces.
  • Cotter, David A., JoAnn DeFiore, Joan M. Hermsen, Brenda M. Kowalewski, and Reeve Vanneman.  1998.  “The Demand for Female Labor.” American Journal of Sociology, 103(6): 1673-1712.
  • Cotter, David A., JoAnn DeFiore, Joan M. Hermsen, Brenda M. Kowalewski, and Reeve, Vanneman.1997. “All Women Benefit: The Macro Effect of Occupational Integration on Gender Earnings Equality.” American Sociological Review, 62(5): 714-734.
  • Cotter, David A., JoAnn DeFiore, Joan M. Hermsen, Brenda M. Kowalewski, and Reeve Vanneman.  1997.  “Same Data, Different Conclusions: Comment on Bernhardt et al.” American Journal of Sociology, 102(4): 1143-1162.


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Last modified: 19-May-2016