The RWJF Health & Society Scholars program ended February 2017. The site will no longer be updated. More »

Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer, Ph.D.

RWJF Health & Society Scholar:


Area(s) of Expertise:
Gender, Family, Inequality



Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer received her Ph.D. in Sociology at Stanford University in 2010. Her research explores the relationship between gender, marriage and family, and several behavioral and attitudinal outcomes, such as: employment, health and socio-political attitudes. To analyze these topics, she employs an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon theories and methods from Sociology, Demography, Economics and Public Health. In her dissertation she investigated the ways in which husbands' influence wives’ labor force participation, the consequences of women's surname choice in marriage, and the effect of marriage on body mass index and obesity by race and gender. Despite the relative gains women have made since the 1960s, the trend toward gender equality has plateaued. Additionally, positive trends in U.S. women's health, such as life expectancy, have slowed in recent years.  In her research she points to limited change in domestic relationships as a key mechanism for the persistence of gender inequality. Rather than view actors as operating in a vacuum, she is interested in how the relationships women are embedded in affect their life outcomes.  In her current projects she examines whether partners' long work hours affect individual health, how a woman's surname choice in marriage affects how other perceive her, and the determinants of breastfeeding duration in the United States.

Journal Articles:
Click here for a list of Emily Fitzgibbons Shafer's available publications in Google Scholar