With Cate Taylor, assistant professor, Department of Sociology
1. She studies gender gaps in the workplace. Taylor is an expert in the field of occupational gender segregation, which means she researches both the causes and consequences of workplaces that are predominantly male or female. “I study gender and the workplace, and I particularly focus on people who are in the minority in their occupation by their gender—for example, a woman physicist or a male nurse,” Taylor explains. Though she has published papers about many facets of these environments, her recent work deals with the “mental health, physical health, and stress effects of being in these difficult climates.”
2. A personal experience inspired her to join her field. After Taylor graduated from college with a degree in economics, she was one of just a handful of women who worked on an options trading floor in San Francisco. “I was a clerk who would run tickets back and forth in a huge room with people screaming and raising their hands,” she recalls, adding that there were so few women in her workplace that she can still picture all of their faces. The male-dominated social climate of the trading floor spurred her to go to graduate school to investigate the experiences of women in male-dominant professions.
3. She hopes to expand her work to address issues of the current political climate. Taylor is broadly interested in the way that social climates cause stress and health issues, and hopes to focus future research on the outcomes of divisive legislative policies. “I’m interested in the health effects of policies that cause stress, like family separation or anti-gay legislation,” she says. “The family separation itself causes stress, but if you’re an immigrant living in a climate where your group is being demonized, that can be a separate stressor. My future work is thinking more broadly about the way that social climates cause stress and health outcomes.”
4. She doesn’t miss winters… A native of Southern Oregon who got her Ph.D. at Cornell and most recently lived in Indiana, Taylor is happy to be in California. She praises the culture of involvement at UCSB and the undergraduate students she has taught (whom she calls “warm and participatory”). Taylor gives a good-natured ribbing to locals who complained about the cold snap earlier this year. “Trust me,” she says, “it has NOT been winter here.”
5. …but she does miss Midwest housing prices. “It gets insane here!” Taylor exclaims with a laugh as she admits that the only negative aspect of living in Santa Barbara is the high cost of housing. But overall, she feels lucky to be back on the West Coast. “I love it here,” she says. “It’s heaven.”