Mary Ann Mason

Mary Ann Mason is Professor of the Graduate School, UC Berkeley, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology.

Prof. Mason’s scholarship spans children and family law, policy, and history. Her most recent work has focused on the rights of the child in the fast growing world of assisted reproduction and genetic enhancement. Her new book is Babies of Technology: Assisted Reproduction and the Rights of the Child (with Tom Ekman, 2017).

From 2000 to 2007, Prof. Mason served as the first woman dean of the Graduate Division at UC Berkeley, with responsibility for nearly 10,000 students in more than 100 graduate programs. During her tenure, she championed diversity in the graduate student population, promoted equity for student parents, and pioneered measures to enhance the career-life balance for all faculty. Her research findings and advocacy have been central to ground-breaking policy initiatives, including the ten-campus “UC Faculty Family Friendly Edge” and the nationwide “Nine Presidents” summit on gender equity at major research universities.

Other recent books in the area of family law are Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower (with Nicholas Wolfinger and Marc Goulden, 2013) and Mothers on the Fast Track (with daughter, Eve Mason Ekman, 2007), which focuses on the issues faced by the surging numbers of professional women in law, medicine, science, and the academic world.

Among her other books are two major works on child custody, From Father’s Property to Children’s Rights: A History of Child Custody in America (Columbia, 1994) and The Custody Wars: Why Children Are Losing the Legal Battles and What We Can Do About It (Basic, 1999). She also co-edited (with Arlene Skolnick and Steve Sugarman) All Our Families: New Policies for A New Century (Oxford, 2000, 2003) and (with Paula Fass) An American Childhood (NYU, 2000). Her first book on work and family conflicts, The Equality Trap, was published in 1988 (Simon and Schuster).

Mason was a Professor in the Graduate School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley from 1989 to 2008. She received a B.A. cum laude from Vassar College, a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Rochester, and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco. She taught American history and practiced law for several years before joining the faculty at Berkeley in 1989, where she has taught children and family law and women’s issues in the law. She is considered a national expert on children’s rights, child custody issues and family law and policy, frequently addressing national and international media, conferences, and workshops.

Mary Ann Mason lives in San Francisco, California, with her husband, psychologist Paul Ekman. She is the mother of Tom and Eve.

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