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Feminist Sociologist Mirra Komarovsky Dies

Mirra Komarovsky, a prominent sociologist who dedicated much of her career to the study of gender, family and education, died on Saturday at age 93.

Komarovsky taught sociology at Barnard College for 32 years, and served as chair of the sociology department from 1948 to 1968. Eight years after retiring from teaching, Komarovsky returned to chair Barnard’s first women’s studies program.

She was also active in the American Sociological Association, serving as the second-ever female president in 1973 and 1974 and earning the organization’s “Distinguished Career Award.”

Two of Komarovsky’s influential works include 1953’s “Women in the Modern World: Their Education and Their Dilemmas,” and “Women in College: Shaping New Feminine Identities,” published in 1985. Komarovsky chose to write about women’s issues despite the fact that studying women was often devalued in the academic world and may have stifled her career.

Komarovsky consisted called for women’s equality in the home as well as the workplace, arguing in a 1981 New York Times editorial that “equal opportunities for women outside the home is an empty slogan as long as the society insists on traditional role segregation within the family.”

Sources:

New York Times - February 1, 1999