Women’s and Gender Studies
Ph.D. History, New York University
Debra Michals began teaching at Merrimack in Fall 2003. She has served as a visiting professor and interim director of the program in Women’s and Gender studies here, and has assisted the chair in arranging guest speakers and other events. She has also taught at New York University, where she served as acting associate director of Women’s Studies.
She is a co-author of the US history textbook, A People and a Nation, Brief Eighth Edition, and has contributed to several anthologies including Sisterhood Is Forever (2003), Image Nation: American Countercultures in the 1960s and ‘70s (2002); Reading Women’s Lives (2003), and Notable American Women (2004). She has also served as a consultant/editor for several higher education publishers and publications.
Dr. Michals was previously the content director for The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future, a consultant to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust, and is presently a member of the advisory board for the International Museum of Women.
In addition to teaching Gender & Society and Global Women’s issues at Merrimack College, she developed three new courses: Women and Business, Unequal Sisters: Women and Rights in America, and U.S. Women’s History.
She received her Ph.D. from New York University in 2002. Her dissertation explores the rise of women’s small business ownership in the decades after World War II, specifically 1945-1980. It examines the social, political and economic forces that fueled this spiraling and enduring relationship. It discusses the limitations of the “pink collar ghetto,” the lack of child care, the difficulties facing a growing pool of single mothers beginning in the 1960s, and the social contract that defined child-rearing as women’s work. As a result, women from all ethnic and racial backgrounds increasingly turned to home-based, and later free-standing, business ownership as a way to balance financial needs, personal ambitions, and childrearing responsibilities.
Debra is currently working on a book focusing on female breadwinners.