Sarah Thébaud

Sarah Thebaud
Director of Graduate Studies
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SSMS 3316


Gender, Organizations & Work, Social Psychology, Family, Social Inequality, Economic Sociology


Ph.D., Cornell University


Despite large-scale social changes over the last several decades, gender is still a key factor that influences who becomes a leader or entrepreneur, who makes scientific discoveries, and who shoulders responsibility for housework and caregiving. The central goal of my research is to identify and understand social psychological and institutional-level processes that reproduce particularly persistent forms of inequality like these. To this end, I employ multiple methodologies, including experimental studies, survey analysis, cross-national comparisons and in-depth interviews. Recent and ongoing projects identify how 1) cultural beliefs about men’s and women's traits and abilities and 2) organizational norms and practices matter for understanding phenomena such as men’s overrepresentation in science, engineering and entrepreneurship, the household division of labor, and gendered patterns of workplace authority.

My research has been funded by agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation, received awards, including from the Social Psychology and Inequality, Poverty and Mobility sections of the American Sociological Association, and been profiled in The New York Times, NPR, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Economist, NBC, USA Today and other leading media publications. In addition to academic work, I publish press articles and policy briefs about my research which have appeared in Newsweek, Time, Salon, Fast Company, BBC, CBS, The Conversation, and Fortune, among other outlets.

At UC Santa Barbara, I am Professor of Sociology, Director of Graduate Studies in the Sociology Department, Faculty Affiliate of the Technology Management Program, and Research Associate at the Broom Center for Demography. Before arriving at UCSB, I earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Cornell University and was a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University.


Yavorsky, Jill, Lisa Keister, Yue Qian and Sarah Thébaud. 2023. “Separate Spheres: The Gender Division of Labor in the Financial Elite.Social Forces Online First, May 10.

Keister, Lisa A., Sarah Thébaud and Jill Yavorsky.* 2022. “Gender in the Elite.Annual Review of Sociology 48:149–69.

Thébaud, Sarah and David Pedulla.* 2022. “When do Work-family Policies Work? Unpacking the Effects of Stigma and Financial Costs for Men and Women.” Work and Occupations Online first, Jan 24

Thébaud, Sarah and Catherine J. Taylor*. 2021. “The Specter of Motherhood: Culture and the Production of Gendered Career Aspirations in Science and Engineering.” Gender & Society 35(3): 395-421.

Thébaud, Sarah, Sabino Kornrich and Leah Ruppanner*. 2021. “Good Housekeeping, Great Expectations: Gender and Housework Norms.” Sociological Methods and Research 50(3):1186-1214.

Thébaud, Sarah and Laura Halcomb. 2019. “One Step Forward? Advances and Setbacks on the Path Toward Gender Equality in Families and Work.” Sociology Compass 13(6):1-15.

Byrne, Janice, Salma Fattoum and Sarah Thébaud. 2019. “A Suitable Boy? Gendered Roles and Hierarchies in Family Business Succession.” European Management Review 16(3):579-596.

Thébaud, Sarah and Maria Charles. 2018. “Segregation, Stereotypes and STEM.” Social Sciences 7(7):1-19.

Charles, Maria and Sarah Thébaud, eds. 2018. Gender and STEM: Understanding Segregation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Basel: MDPI Press. Also published as a special issue of Social Sciences journal.

Doering, Laura and Sarah Thébaud. 2017. “The Effects of Gendered Occupational Roles on Men's and Women's Workplace Authority: Evidence from Microfinance.” American Sociological Review 82(3):542-567.

Kuwabara, Ko and Sarah Thébaud. 2017. “When Beauty Doesn’t Pay: Gender and Beauty Biases among Entrepreneurs in a Peer-to-peer Loan Market.” Social Forces 95(4): 1371-1398.

Weeden, Kim A., Sarah Thébaud, and Dafna Gelbgiser. 2017. “Degrees of Difference: Gender Segregation of US Doctorates by Field and Institutional Prestige.” Sociological Science 4:123-150.

Thébaud, Sarah and David S. Pedulla*. 2016. “Masculinity and the Stalled Revolution: How Gender Ideologies and Norms Shape Young Men’s Responses to Work-Family Policies.” Gender & Society 30(4):590-617.

Thébaud, Sarah and Amanda J. Sharkey. 2016. “Unequal Hard Times: The Influence of the Great Recession on Gender Bias in Entrepreneurial Investment Markets.” Sociological Science 3:1-31.

Thébaud, Sarah. 2016. “Passing up the Job: The Role of Gendered Organizations and Families in the Entrepreneurial Career Process.” Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 40(2):269-287.

Thébaud, Sarah. 2015. “Business as Plan B? Institutional Foundations of Gender Inequality in Entrepreneurship across 24 Industrialized Countries.” Administrative Science Quarterly 60(4):671-711.

Thébaud, Sarah. 2015. “Status Beliefs and the Spirit of Capitalism: Accounting for Gender Biases in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.” Social Forces 94:61-86.

Pedulla, David S. and Sarah Thébaud*. 2015. “Can We Finish the Revolution? Gender, Work-Family Ideals, and Institutional Constraint.” American Sociological Review 80(1):116-139.

Thébaud, Sarah. 2010. “Gender and Entrepreneurship as a Career Choice: Do Self-Assessments of Ability Matter?” Social Psychology Quarterly 73(2): 288-304.

Thébaud, Sarah. 2010. “Masculinity, Bargaining and Breadwinning: Understanding Men’s Housework in the Cultural Context of Paid Work.” Gender & Society 24 (3): 330-354.

Cha, Youngjoo and Sarah Thébaud*. 2009. “Labor Markets, Breadwinning, and Beliefs: How Economic Context Shapes Men’s Gender Ideology.” Gender & Society 23 (2): 215-243.

*equal authorship


Graduate Courses: Sociology of Gender, Professional Development, Logics of Inquiry

Undergraduate Courses: The Social Psychology of Gender, Gender and Work, Honors Practicum, Research Traditions, Theories of Gender and Inequality