Lisa Dodson

Senior Scientist, Brandeis University
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. 


Helping Parents Get a College Education Helps Children Succeed

    Luisa S. Deprez

Why Higher Education is a Must for Low-Income Mothers

    Luisa S. Deprez

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.


"Oregon’s Unmet Child Care Needs: It’s Time to Invest - Our Future Depends on It," (with Mary King), 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.

"Social Network Development among Low-Income Single Mothers" (with Amanda L. Freeman). Family Relations 64, no. 5 (2014): 589-601.

Discusses how low income mothers share their survival knowledge and skills with one another, based on three years of interviews and discussions with participants in a social mobility program in Boston.

"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.