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Lisa Dodson

Research Professor Emerita, Boston College
Chapter Leader: Oregon SSN

Connect with Lisa

About Lisa

Dodson’s area of focus is anti-poverty research and policy – particularly the effects of poverty on mothers and children. This has included 20 years teaching courses about inequality, low-wage work and welfare policy; action-research projects that always include participation of low-income mothers/families; and working with organizations toward presenting evidence to affect state/federal policy, including: 9to5 (National Organization of Working Women), Service Employees International Union, Family Values at Work and now in Portland Oregon, the Oregon Women’s Equity Coalition and the Portland State University Services for Student Parents. Her current policy-research focus is promoting postsecondary education opportunity for low-income mothers. 


In-Home Childcare Providers are Essential—And Overworked, Underpaid, and Sometimes Not Paid at All

    Lisa Dodson , Mary King , Lola Loustaunau

New Preschool Program in Oregon is a Model for the Nation—But Challenges Remain

    Mary King , Lisa Dodson ,

To Address the Child Care Crisis, Talk to Low Wage Moms

    Lisa Dodson , Mary King ,

Helping Parents Get a College Education Helps Children Succeed

    Lisa Dodson ,

Why Higher Education is a Must for Low-Income Mothers

    Lisa Dodson ,

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

"Supporting Parental Education Can End Generational Poverty," Lisa Dodson (with Luisa S. Deprez), Portland Press Herald, February 19, 2018.
"Moms Say, ‘Don’t Make Policy about Us, without Us’”," Lisa Dodson (with Linda Meric), Huffington Post, August 11, 2016.
"We Don’t Fight Poverty Anymore," Lisa Dodson, The Conversation, January 15, 2015.
"What Happens When the Person Caring for Your Mom Can’t Earn a Living Wage?," Lisa Dodson (with Nancy Folbre), The American Prospect, September 28, 2014.
Interview on 'The Moral Underground: Media Highlights' Lisa Dodson, Grittv of Air America, January 28, 2010.


"The Growing Need for “Non-Traditional Hours” Met by Underpaid In-Home Providers" (with Lisa Dodson, Lola Loustaunau, Mary King, and Ellen Kaye Scott). Labor Education and Research Center (2022).

Describes the long, irregular, badly paid and too often unpaid hours home-based childcare providers work to care for the children of Oregon’s working class families.

"Triple Role Overload: Working, Parenting, and Navigating Public Benefits" (with Amanda Freeman). Journal of Family Issues (2020).

Looks at the ways in which work–family–welfare conflict affected mothers’ ability to maintain a stable family and work life. Uses interview data and focus group data collected in Colorado, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Uncovers the intersecting demands these mothers face and the ways in which they are ill-equipped to deal with these demands.

"Oregon’s Unmet Child Care Needs: It’s Time to Invest - Our Future Depends on It," (with Lisa Dodson), Family Forward Oregon, September 2019.

Examines the crisis in affordable child care on working families, and its relationship to high rates of young children living in poverty.

"Stereotyping Low-Wage Mothers Who Have Work/Family Conflicts" Journal of Social Issues 69, no. 2 (2013): 257-278.

Examines how low-income mothers’ are blamed and stereotyped as irresponsible when they experience work and family conflicts, based on data from several studies over five years.

"Untenable Choices: Taking Care of Low-Income Families" (with Wendy Luttrell). Contexts: Publication of American Sociological Association 10, no. 1 (2011): 38-42.

Examines the bad work/family options facing low-income mothers and how they try to minimize harm to children. 

The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy (The New Press, 2010).

Examines growing economic disparity in the U.S. based on seven years of research in five states, talking with diverse ordinary people.

Don’t Call Us out of Name: The Untold Lives of Women and Girls in Poor America (Beacon Press, 1999).

Examines the life course of poor women and families in the context of welfare reform policy based on seven years of qualitative research.