Family Values

Mary Ann Mason


     ... University of California-Berkeley’s first woman appointed Dean of the Graduate School, historian and lawyer. With her daughter, Eve Mason Ekman, Dr. Mason has written Mothers on the Fast Track: How a New Generation Can Balance Family and Careers based in part on Dr. Mason’s own first-hand experience struggling to balance family responsibilities and a fast-track career. She is a national expert on child custody issues, her books including the highly esteemed The Equality Trap, From Father’s Property to Children’s Rights and The Custody Wars. She is married to psychologist Paul Ekman.

Audio Preview of Mary Ann Mason


Authentic “family values” start with treasuring working adults and their families, Mary Ann Mason has demonstrated. As the University of California-Berkeley’s first female Dean of the Graduate Division, she’s played a leading role in altering the landscape for professionals everywhere. Dr. Mason, also a lawyer and historian deeply conversant in public policy, sees a bottom-up workplace revolution in the making.

“It might come just by people voting with their feet and not staying in places that aren't treating them well. Lifestyle has become very important to this generation. All the surveys you take of both men and women, they would rather have more time than more pay. Lifestyle means life balance, that work is not everything. That's very heartening.

“At the University of California, we put in place substantial changes for parenthood and mothering and fathering. Men and women get a year off their tenure clock if they have a child. In the case of childbirth, women get two semesters without teaching and men get one. That makes men enthusiastic rather than critical or downright envious.”

The analogy to sabbaticals has helped convince universities that flexibility at many times during the career is necessary and will ultimately make a better employee, she reports.

“The sabbatical is the time in which you refresh your creative energies. It’s not just true for the university. It’s something that would be useful in all professions but particularly those that depend on energy and creativity and new ideas at all times which is the group that we've been looking at here. I don't see this so much in the corporate world or in law offices.”

When universities or corporations fail to be family-friendly, they’re losing a good economic bet, she says.

“The corporation doesn't see the whole costs of training but what they're losing is an enormous amount of talent that someone else has trained in many cases. Or in the university world, they're losing the very same people they've trained, which is particularly dumb. Fifty percent of all PhD's today are women and yet you see 20 percent women in the professoriate at the major universities.”

Critiques of the women’s rights movement pioneer generation, of which she is part, are as valid as ever, she reminds us, and the work is far from finished.

“Going into the kinds of professions and organizations with power and status also means that you are making the world; you are setting the agenda for America; you are the captains of industry or the head of universities; you're becoming the most important political voice as public voices if you have that kind of bearing and status in the world.

“Women need to be equal at all levels. Women still don't have that. Without that, frankly, we're always second class citizens.”


[This Program was recorded November 9, 2007, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.]

audio content:                                                                                               

Conversation 1
Conversation 2
Conversation 3
Conversation 4
Conversation 5
Conversation 6





Dr. Mason’s lifelong commitment to making the world through which she travels a better place has blossomed in a wide range of fields, all of which she has enriched.

We honor her many impressive accomplishments -- all the fruits of arduous efforts -- and we cherish her friendship.


Related Links:


Mothers on the Fast Track: How a New Generation Can Balance Family and Careers is published by Oxford University Press.

Paul Hawken argues that the one plus million NGOs focusing on the environment and justice form the basis for a permanent, global change in how we live and work.

Joy Berry and Rafe Esquith look at the childhood experience with education and the ways that experience can be improved.

In American Dream, Jason DeParle's view is from the other end of the spectrum, women trying to escape welfare.

Angela Glover  Blackwell approaches family and workplace policy from the community perspective.

Sue Shellenbarger has written the "Work & Famiily" column for the Wall Street Journal since 1991.

Johnnetta Betsch Cole and Beverly Guy-Sheftall use their experience to examine gender roles, specifically in African-American communities.

Cultural observers Neal Gabler and Curtis White would argue that many of the challenges Dr. Mason addresses are failures of imagination and initiative.

Conceivably, the United States has reached the tipping point (described by Malcolm Gladwell in the book by that title) necessary to move the nation to a family-friendly, citizen-centric republic.

Co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc., Jerry Greenfield was an early advocate for a humane working envrionment.

We have also recorded programs with Dr. Mason's husband, famed emotions researcher Paul Ekman.

And, here's a little background information on Paula Gordon and Bill Russell, the Program co-hosts.


Quick buttons

© 2009  The Paula Gordon Show.
All materials contained on this website are copyrighted by The Paula Gordon Show and may not be used for any commercial purpose without the express, written consent of Paula Gordon.  Non-commercial use is permitted and encouraged provided that credit is given to The Paula Gordon Show, appropriate urls cited, links are provided where possible and meaning is not altered by editing.