Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Collins studies gender dynamics at work and in family life, and is interested in the role of social policy in reducing gender, race, and class inequalities. Her current research explores the experiences of working mothers in different western countries, and the role of work-family policies in shaping the barriers and opportunities women face while working and raising children. She is a member of the Work and Family Researchers Network, Sociologists for Women in Society, and the Council for Contemporary Families—national organizations that advocate for American women and their families.
Tracks the origins, makings and impacts of the book Invisible in Austin to evaluate its model of public sociology: as a collective enterprise with a local aim. Concludes with three suggestions: to approach public sociology as collective enterprise, to take narrative seriously, and to seek wide exposure.
Discusses how state-provided public policies supporting families help reduce the gap in wellbeing between parents and non-parents across industrialized countries.
Shows how public policies and cultural attitudes intersect in the lives of working mothers to shape their experiences working and childrearing in Sweden, Germany, Italy, and the United States. Mothers in the U.S. fare worst.
Discusses how scholars can intervene effectively and widely in the local public sphere with their research.
Documents the ways in which transnational surrogacy in India persists and thrives despite its common portrayal as the “rent-a-womb industry” and “baby factory.”
Details the life of a 23-year-old woman working to survive in Austin, Texas as a waitress and exotic dancer, and presses readers to consider issues of coercion and consent for women in service sector work.
Shows how women in higher-status occupations who exercise authority on the job have a higher risk of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis than housewives and women in lower-status occupations. This suggests that there are negative health consequences to gender inequality in workplaces.