Visiting Scholar Sociologist Laila Schmitt: Studying Labor Markets and Inequality

Jul 10, 2024
An image of a woman working at her desk in an office with a baby on a blanket with play pen at her feet

This spring, the University of Michigan’s Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics welcomed Postdoctoral Fellow Laila Schmitt from Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich.

Having completed her portfolio of studies at LMU – a BA in Sociology and Political Science, an MA in Sociology and Statistics, and a PhD in Sociology – Schmitt remained in Munich for her postdoc to further her research on gender inequality in the labor market. Her dedication to understanding the complexities of work-life balance, driven by personal and academic pursuits, has been the cornerstone of her work.

“I had a high awareness from childhood of how gender impacts career and family,” she explained. “A lot of my drive is on how to better combine work and family, not just with children and the elderly, but including lifelong learning and well-being.”

Having spent her educational career at LMU, Laila said she wanted to complete a fellowship abroad to increase her international network and connections. 

“When [founding CID Director] Fabian Pfeffer came to Munich, I had the opportunity to work on his team and profit from his networks and I was really excited for that opportunity,” Laila said. With funding to travel from an early-career fellowship from the Work and Family Researcher’s Network, Laila joined the Stone Center for two months before heading to a WFRN pre-conference in Montreal at the end of June.

The University of Michigan was Schmitt’s destination of choice due to its reputation for both research excellence and a nurturing academic environment. “It was an easy decision. There’s a combination of elite research and excellent people here,” she said.

During her time at the Stone Center, Schmitt delved into vital questions surrounding gender wage gaps, part-time employment, and perceptions of gender inequality. Laila participated in writing retreats at the center and the U-M Research Development Conference.

Schmitt’s research in how societal norms impact gender roles in the labor market includes a paper published in the European Sociological Review and named a finalist for the 2023 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research. Learn more about Laila and her work

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