Professor Irene Boeckmann’s Connaught-funded project asks how fatherhood affects careers in 33 countries

Irene BoeckmannProfessor Irene Boeckmann has recently received a Connaught New Researcher Award to begin a major project studying the variations in the impact of fatherhood across different national contexts. The Connaught program seeks to help new tenure stream faculty members at the University of Toronto establish competitive research programs.

Professor Boeckmann’s research probes the phenomenon known as “the fatherhood premium.”

Researchers often point to parenthood and care responsibilities for children as a central piece in the puzzle of why economic inequalities between women and men endure. While women tend to incur earnings losses when they become mothers, many men experience just the opposite, i.e. their earnings tend to increase upon entering fatherhood. However, these “fatherhood earnings premiums” vary across different contexts. Professor Boeckmann’s research takes a comparative approach to better understand the sources of these “fatherhood premiums.”

The project asks whether and why men experience earnings increases when becoming fathers in 33 countries across Europe and North America. On the one hand, the variation of these fatherhood premiums may be rooted in cross-national differences in individual or family characteristics of fathers. On the other, it may be the result of variation in the larger socio-political and cultural contexts. For example, work-family policies supporting a male-breadwinner/female-homemaker division of labour may impact whether and how men change their employment patterns when they have children, or how fathers are perceived in the labour market.

In order to answer the research questions, Professor Boeckmann and her students will build a cross-nationally comparative dataset drawing on multiple data sources. This dataset will combine survey data on individuals’ family and labour market characteristics, as well as country-level indicators capturing characteristics of public policies, labour market regulations and cultural contexts. Connaught funding will support the first step in this project, the data collection and data preparation effort. Building this data set will entail the collection of country-level indicators, as well as the harmonization of secondary survey data on individuals from three separate household and labour market surveys.

Professor Boekmann and Milkie interviewed for story on working at home

Melissa MilkieIrene BoeckmannToronto’s Metro News recently interviewed both Professor Irene Boeckmann and Professor Melissa Milkie in a story about working at home. The story starts with a reference to a recent viral video of a dad being interrupted by his children during a BBC skype interview and goes on to discuss working from home. The full story is available here . Below is an excerpt:

Work-from-home parents more likely to be women: Experts

Experience of dad who went viral during BBC interview common for women who work from home while caring for young children.

If you spent more than a nanosecond online over the weekend, you probably saw the video of a toddler bombing her dad as he’s giving a live Skype interview with BBC News.

You also probably laughed out loud as the little girl bounced into her father’s home office, followed by a younger sibling in a walker, then their panicked mother who drags the kids out of the room. But for those working from home, that comedy of errors is all too familiar.

With many workplaces offering little flexibility as to when and where parents can work, and daycare costs continuing to rise, more parents are choosing to leave their careers to carve out new paths as freelancers or entrepreneurs.

More often than not it’s women, not men, who are entering this new fray: not quite stay-at-home moms, not quite working moms, but some sort of hybrid version of both.

Irene Boekmann, assistant professor in the department of sociology at the University of Toronto, says children are a big driving factor forcing women from work, and that this doesn’t tend to be the case for fathers.

“There is definitely an interesting gendered story here,” she said, pointing out that mothers with younger children are more likely to work from home than other women. “Research shows that children increase Canadian women’s (but not men’s) likelihood of self-employment.”

Welcome New Faculty

This year the Department of Sociology welcomes ten new faculty members into our community of scholars. This is the largest cohort of new faculty members we have seen in decades. They cover research and teaching interests ranging from classical theory to criminology and immigration studies and will help shape the character of the department in the years to come. Though housed across the three campuses, all faculty join together in contributing to the tri-campus graduate department.

Professor Ellen Berrey joins the faculty at the University of Toronto, Mississauga teaching in the area of Law and Society. She graduated with a PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University in 2008 and has previously taught at the University at Buffalo, SUNY and at the University of Denver.

Professor Irene Boeckmann is a new faculty member in Family and Demography, teaching at the St. George campus. Professor Boeckmann completed her PhD at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2014 and spent 2015 as a post-doctoral fellow at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in Germany.

Professor Emine Fidan Elcioglu brings her expertise in political sociology and immigration to the University of Toronto at Scarborough. Professor Elcioglu received her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 2016.

Professor Steve G. Hoffman received his PhD at Northwestern University in 2009 and taught for several years at the University at Buffalo, SUNY before coming to the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Professor Hoffman teaches in the area of social theory and the sociology of disaster.

Professor Rachel La Touche comes to the University of Toronto at St George this year where she is teaching in the areas of research methods and inequality. She received her PhD from Indiana University-Bloomington in 2016 and has previously taught at the University of Mannheim-Germany and at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research(ICPSR) Summer Program at the University ofMichigan.

Professor Yoonkyung Lee joins the faculty at the University of Toronto, St. George. Professor Lee received her PhD at Duke University in 2006 and has previously taught at Binghamton University. Professor Lee is a political sociologist with a focus on Korean studies.

Professor Sida Liu is a new faculty member at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Professor Liu is a specialist in the sociology of law. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2009. Before coming to Toronto, Professor Liu taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also currently a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation and a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Professor Akwasi Owusu-Bempah received his doctorate in 2014 from the Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies here at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Before coming back to Toronto, Professor Owusu-Bempah taught for a year at the Indiana University, Bloomington. Professor Owusu-Bempah is a specialist in policing and race.

Professor Kim Pernell comes to the University of Toronto, St. George with expertise in economic sociology, organizational sociology and social policy. Professor Pernell received a PhD in Sociology from Harvard in 2016.

Professor Ashley Rubin joins the faculty at the University of Toronto, Mississauga bringing expertise in the sociology of punishment and prisons. Professor Rubin received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013 and previously taught at Florida State University.