Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
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.
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.
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.
Examines the bad work/family options facing low-income mothers and how they try to minimize harm to children.
Examines growing economic disparity in the U.S. based on seven years of research in five states, talking with diverse ordinary people.
Examines the life course of poor women and families in the context of welfare reform policy based on seven years of qualitative research.