Gender Bias Learning Project

A zany brainy look at a serious subject

A project of the Center for WorkLife Law UC Hastings College of the Law

Mary Ann Mason

Mary Ann Mason is a Professor and Co-Director of the Center on Health, Economics & Family Security at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Her scholarship spans children and family law, policy and history. Recent works have focused on working families, in particular the issues faced by the surging numbers of professional women in law, medicine, science, and the academic world. Her most recent book (co-authored with her daughter Eve Mason Ekman) is Mothers on the Fast Track: How a New Generation Can Balance Family and Careers (Oxford 2007).

From 2000 to 2007, Professor Mason served as the first woman Dean of the Graduate Division at UC Berkeley, with responsibility for nearly 10,000 students in more than 100 graduate programs. During her tenure, she championed diversity in the graduate student population, promoted equity for student parents, and pioneered measures to enhance the career/life balance for all faculty. Her research findings and advocacy have been central to ground-breaking policy initiatives, including the ten-campus “UC Faculty Family Friendly Edge”, and the nationwide “Nine Presidents” summit on gender equity at major research universities. Her first book on work and family conflicts was The Equality Trap (1988). Among her other books are two major works on child custody, From Father’s Property to Children’s Rights: A History of Child Custody in America (Columbia 1994) and The Custody Wars: Why Children are Losing the Legal Battles and What We Can Do About It (Basic 1999). She also co-edited (with Arlene Skolnick and Steve Sugarman) All Our Families: New Policies for A New Century (Oxford 2000, 2003) and with Paula Fass, An American Childhood (NYU 2000).

Professor Mason was a Professor in the Graduate School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley from 1989 to 2007. She received a B.A. cum laude from Vassar College, a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Rochester, and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco. She taught American history and practiced law for several years before joining the faculty at Berkeley in 1989, where she has taught children and family law and women’s issues in the law. She is considered a national expert on child custody issues and family law and policy, frequently addressing national and international media, conferences, and workshops on children and family issues. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband, psychologist Paul Ekman. She is the mother of Tom and Eve.