Influential Women in Sociology From the Last 10 Years

Influential Women in Sociology From the Last 10 Years

Our list of influential women in sociology features those who have been highly cited and searched online over the last 10 years. They include a broad group of academics and practitioners who specialize in areas like feminist theory, ethnography, transnational human migration, and more.

Top 10 Women in Sociology From the Last 10 Years

  1. Patricia Hill Collins
  2. Chandra Talpade Mohanty
  3. Martina Löw
  4. Gail Dines
  5. Theda Skocpol
  6. Meera Kosambi
  7. Jutta Allmendinger
  8. Eva Illouz
  9. Tribisay Lucena
  10. Dorothy E. Smith

Sociology is the study of the complex systems that compose human life, including families, communities, and societies. An advanced degree in sociology will provide you with the instruction, experience, and hands-on education required to conduct research and analyze data in an array of real-world settings. Sociology is a data-driven field where masters learn how to conduct research, study populations, and understand how these populations are impacted by factors like geography, race, economics, and more. Earning a master’s degree in sociology could qualify you for an array of leadership and research roles in social services, public health, education, policy analysis, and much more.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities in this field are comparatively scarce. With just 3000 working professionals today identifying as sociologists and only an additional 100 positions projected to open over the next decade, sociology is growing at a far slower rate than average. That said, in 2016, over half the Master’s Degrees awarded in Sociology were given to women. Moreover, opportunities do abound in related fields. For instance, as of 2020, more than 13,000 working professionals identified as post-secondary sociology educators.

Women interested in advancing in this field benefit from strong advocacy through groups like the Sociologists for Women in Society, a nonprofit professional feminist organization that supports academic research and publication, professional development, and activism. Other consequential organizations include the Association of Black Sociologists, which advocates for the interests of Black sociologists and Black people locally and globally with a particular focus on improving the quality of sociological research, teaching and service, and the American Sociological Association, which is the leading national professional membership association for sociologists.

The list below highlights women who have made critical contributions to education, research, policy, and activism within the broader field of sociology. Topping the list is Patricia Hill Collins, Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park and the first African-American woman (and 100th person overall) to serve as the President of the American Sociological Association. She is included here for her groundbreaking work on intersectionality. Other prominent scholars on our list include Chandra Talpade Mohanty, the Distinguished Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Sociology, and the Cultural Foundations of Education and Dean’s Professor of the Humanities at Syracuse University, Gail Dines, professor emerita of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts, and Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University.

Influential Women in Sociology From the Last 10 Years

  1. #1

    Patricia Hill Collins

    1948 - Present (76 years)
  2. #2

    Chandra Talpade Mohanty

    1955 - Present (69 years)
    Chandra Talpade Mohanty is a Distinguished Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Sociology, and the Cultural Foundations of Education and Dean’s Professor of the Humanities at Syracuse University. Mohanty, a postcolonial and transnational feminist theorist, has argued for the inclusion of a transnational approach in exploring women’s experiences across the world. She is author of Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity , and co-editor of Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism , Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures , Feminism and W...
  3. #3

    Martina Löw

    1965 - Present (59 years)
    Martina Löw is a German sociologist. Vita Martina Löw, former president of the German Sociological Association; Professor of sociology/sociology of architecture and planning at Technical University Berlin; Director of Collaborative Research Centre SFB 1265 “Re-Figuration of Spaces” in Berlin. In January 2023 the ranking website Academic Influence ranked her #3 of “Influential Women in Sociology from the Last 10 Years.”
  4. #4

    Gail Dines

    1958 - Present (66 years)
    Gail Dines is professor emerita of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts. A radical feminist, Dines specializes in the study of pornography. Described in 2010 as the world’s leading anti-pornography campaigner, she is a founding member of Stop Porn Culture and founder of Culture Reframed, created to address pornography as a public-health crisis. Dines is co-author of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality and author of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality .
  5. #5

    Theda Skocpol

    1947 - Present (77 years)
    Theda Skocpol is an American sociologist and political scientist, who is currently the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. She is best known as an advocate of the historical-institutional and comparative approaches, as well as her “state autonomy theory”. She has written widely for both popular and academic audiences. She has been President of the American Political Science Association and the Social Science History Association.
  6. #6

    Meera Kosambi

    1939 - 2015 (76 years)
    Meera Kosambi was an Indian sociologist. Biography She was the younger daughter of the illustrious intellectual, historian, linguist, statistician and mathematician, D.D. Kosambi, and granddaughter of Acharya Dharmananda Damodar Kosambi, a Buddhist scholar and a Pāli language expert. Her mother’s name was Nalini Kosambi . She received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Stockholm. She is the author of several books and articles on urban sociology and women’s studies in India.
  7. #7

    Jutta Allmendinger

    1956 - Present (68 years)
    Jutta Allmendinger is a German sociologist who has been serving as the president of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and a professor of educational sociology and labor market research at Humboldt University since 2007. She is also a senior fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University.
  8. #8

    Eva Illouz

    1961 - Present (63 years)
    Eva Illouz is a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris. She was the first woman president of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design.
  9. #9

    Tibisay Lucena

    1959 - 2023 (64 years)
    Tibisay Lucena Ramírez was a Venezuelan politician, president of the National Electoral Council between 2006 and 2020, one of the five branches of government of Venezuela. Since 2017, Lucena was sanctioned by several countries for her role in undermining democracy and human rights in the country.
  10. #10

    Dorothy E. Smith

    1926 - 2022 (96 years)
    Dorothy Edith Smith was a British-born Canadian ethnographer, feminist studies scholar, sociologist, and writer with research interests in a variety of disciplines. These include women’s studies, feminist theory, psychology, and educational studies. Smith was also involved in certain subfields of sociology, such as the sociology of knowledge, family studies, and methodology. She founded the sociological sub-disciplines of feminist standpoint theory and institutional ethnography.
  11. #11

    Saskia Sassen

    1947 - Present (77 years)
  12. #12

    Nandini Sundar

    1967 - Present (57 years)
    Nandini Sundar is an Indian professor of sociology at the Delhi School of Economics whose research interests include political sociology, law, and inequality. She is a recipient of the Infosys Prize for Social Sciences in 2010. She was also awarded the Ester Boserup Prize for Development Research in 2016 and the Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for Distinguished Contributions to Development Studies in 2017.
  13. #13

    Annette Lareau

    1952 - Present (72 years)
    Annette Patricia Lareau is a sociologist working at the University of Pennsylvania. She has completed extensive field work studying the daily lives of African-Americans and European-Americans. She is also credited with the creation of the term concerted cultivation. This concept refers to middle class child rearing practices. She says that this differs from the parents of children in working-class families, who attribute much of their child raising tactics to the accomplishment of natural growth.
  14. #14

    Sherry Turkle

    1948 - Present (76 years)
  15. #15

    Mireia Vehí

    1985 - Present (39 years)
    Mireia Vehí i Cantenys is a Spanish sociologist and politician from Catalonia, who currently serves as Member of the Congress of Deputies of Spain. She was previously a member of the Parliament of Catalonia.
  16. #16

    Nancy Fraser

    1947 - Present (77 years)
  17. #17

    Marisa Matias

    1976 - Present (48 years)
    Marisa Isabel dos Santos Matias is a Portuguese sociologist and Member of the European Parliament, elected for the first time in 2009 and re-elected in 2014. She currently sits on the Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industry, Research and Energy Committees. She is also Chairwoman of the Delegation of the European Parliament for relations with the Mashreq countries . Between 2010 and 2016 she was Vice-President of the Party of the European Left.
  18. #18

    Nancy Chodorow

    1944 - Present (80 years)
    Nancy Julia Chodorow is an American sociologist and professor. She began her career as a professor of Women’s studies at Wellesley College in 1973, and from 1974 on taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz, until 1986. She then was a professor in the departments of sociology and clinical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley until she resigned in 1986, after which she taught psychiatry at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance. Chodorow is often described as a leader in feminist thought, especially in the realms of psychoanalysis and psychology.
  19. #19

    Margaret Archer

    1943 - 2023 (80 years)
    Margaret Scotford Archer was an English sociologist, who spent most of her academic career at the University of Warwick where she was for many years Professor of Sociology. She was also a professor at l’Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. She is best known for coining the term elisionism in her 1995 book Realist Social Theory: The Morphogenetic Approach. On 14 April 2014, Archer was named by Pope Francis to succeed former Harvard law professor and US Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon as President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and served in this p...
  20. #20

    Donna Haraway

    1944 - Present (80 years)
    Donna J. Haraway is an American professor emerita in the history of consciousness and feminist studies departments at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a prominent scholar in the field of science and technology studies. She has also contributed to the intersection of information technology and feminist theory, and is a leading scholar in contemporary ecofeminism. Her work criticizes anthropocentrism, emphasizes the self-organizing powers of nonhuman processes, and explores dissonant relations between those processes and cultural practices, rethinking sources of ethics.
  21. #21

    Marta Harnecker

    1937 - 2019 (82 years)
    Marta Harnecker was a Chilean journalist, author, psychologist, sociologist, and Marxist intellectual. She studied the analysis of labor movements and acted as an advisor to the government of Cuba, and worked with left-wing political movements within Latin America. She was active in the government of Salvador Allende between 1970 and 1973, and provided advice to Hugo Chávez between 2004 and 2011.
  22. #22

    Czarina Saloma

    1970 - Present (54 years)
    Czarina Aya-ay Saloma-Akpedonu is a Filipino sociologist who is the current dean of the School of Social Sciences at Ateneo de Manila University. Education Saloma-Akpedonu has a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman, a master’s degree from Peking University in China, and a doctorate from Bielefeld University in Germany.
  23. #23

    Farzana Islam

    1957 - Present (67 years)
    Farzana Islam is a Bangladeshi academic. She is a former vice-chancellor of Jahangirnagar University during 2014-2022. In 2014, she became the first female vice-chancellor of a public university in Bangladesh. She allegedly accused of different irregularities and corruption by both Students and Teachers. They also published a book. The 224-page book features reports on different irregularities and corruptions published in different newspapers.
  24. #24

    Michèle Lamont

    1957 - Present (67 years)
  25. #25

    Zeynep Tufekci

    1970 - Present (54 years)
    Zeynep Tufekci is a sociologist, and the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. She is also a columnist for The New York Times. Her work focuses on social media, media ethics, the social implications of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and big data, as well as societal challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic using complex and systems-based thinking. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, she is one of the most prominent academic voices on social media and the new public sphere. In 2022, Tufekci was a Pulitzer Prize finalis...
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Image Credits:

Top row, left to right: Patricia Hill Collins, Emmanuelle Charpentier, Malala Yousafzai, Shafi Goldwasser, Jennifer Doudna, Fabiola Gianotti, Michiko Kakutani, Lauren Underwood.

Bottom row, left to right: Fei-Fei Li, Esther Duflo, Kathy Reichs, Nancy Fraser, Brené Brown, Judith Curry, Jill Lepore, Zaha Hadid.

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