Harriet B. Presser, CCAS BS ’59

Harriet B. Presser, CCAS BS ’59, a University of Maryland sociology professor and founder of the university’s Center on Population, Gender and Social Inequality, died May 1 in Bethesda at 75.

In 1988, Presser founded the Center on Population, Gender and Social Inequality (now the Maryland Population Research Center). Over the years, her research included fertility and family planning, birth control and sterilization. In the 1970s, she collaborated in a behind-the-scenes effort to get the U.S. Census Bureau to stop the practice of using the term “head of household” and automatically conferring family leadership on husbands.

In 2002, Presser was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science “for innovative research on issues of population, labor force, gender, and social inequality; for exceptional institution building; and for outstanding service to demographic and sociological societies.” In 2010, the American Sociological Association honored her for work that “helped transform the field of demography by bringing a gender perspective to bear on the study of fertility and family processes.”

Read the full tribute in the Washington Post.

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