Stanford sociology professor and gender scholar elected president of the American Sociological Association

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Stanford sociology professor and gender scholar elected president of the American Sociological Association

by Susan Fisk on Monday, August 15, 2011 - 11:09am

Cecilia RidgewayThe Clayman Institute is pleased to announce that gender scholar Cecilia L. Ridgeway, Lucie Stern Professor of Social Sciences in the Sociology Department at Stanford University, has been elected president of the American Sociological Association (ASA).  “I was delighted, but not surprised, to hear of Cecilia's election to the Presidency of ASA. This comes on the heels of a string of honors from the ASA in recent years. She is a dedicated scholar, with a distinguished scholarly career, and it is a well-deserved tribute,” says Sociology Department Chair Andrew Walder, the Denise O'Leary and Kent Thiry Professor in the Department of Sociology at Stanford.

Indeed, Ridgeway has received many prestigious accolades from the ASA.  In 2009, she won the ASA Jesse Bernard Award, the organization’s most prestigious award for gender scholarship.  In 2008, she was awarded the Sociologists for Women in Society Feminist Lecturer Award.   And in 2005, she received the Cooley-Mead Award, the highest honor given by the ASA for contributions to social psychology.

Ridgeway is the 12th woman to be elected president of the ASA since the organization was established in 1905.  She considers it to be a great honor to be elected president and vows to, “Do my best to live up to the honor the office implies and do everything I can to further our discipline and association.”

Ridgeway’s first goal is to focus on linking micro-level processes that create inequality (such as how status is produced in small groups) with macro-level processes and outcomes (such as why some groups of people have fewer resources than others).  By doing so, she hopes to promote a greater understanding of how material, power, and social inequalities are produced and maintained in contemporary societies.

It is especially important to Ridgeway to increase our knowledge of the mechanisms that cause these disparities, because her second goal as ASA president is to learn how to best intervene in processes that cause inequality.  “It is not enough to know that there are problems.  We must also understand the mechanisms so we can know how best to intervene,” says Ridgeway.  “This is the essential first step towards changing those inequalities.”

Lastly, Ridgeway vows to improve organizational matters in the ASA.  She plans to do this by, “…increasing transparency and opening up the conversation.”

Karen Cook, Lyman Wilbur Professor of Sociology and former ASA president is looking forward to Ridgeway’s tenure as president.  “As president Cecilia Ridgeway will lead the major professional association for all sociologists in the nation and represent it at many international venues. She is highly regarded in the profession for her work on status, inequality, and gender and will be an excellent president. We can all be proud of her many significant accomplishments.”