Mary Ann Mason


Mary Ann Mason is currently professor and co-director of the Center, Economics & Family Security at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

Mary Ann Mason’s scholarship spans children and family law, policy, and history. Recent works have focused on working families, in particular the issues faced by the surging numbers of professional women in law, medicine, science, and the academic world. Her most recent books 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).

From 2000 to 2007, she 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.

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.

Mason was a professor in the Graduate School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley from 1989 to 2007. 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 child custody issues and family law and policy, frequently addressing national and international media, conferences, and workshops on children and family issues.

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

Office: 436 Boalt Hall
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