Myra Strober is a labor economist and Professor Emerita at the School of Education at Stanford University. She is also Professor of Economics at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University (by courtesy). Myra’s research and consulting focus on gender issues at the workplace, work and family, and multidisciplinarity in higher education. She is the author of numerous articles on occupational segregation, women in the professions and management, the economics of childcare, feminist economics and the teaching of economics. Myra’s most recent book is a memoir, Sharing the Work: What My Family and Career Taught Me About Breaking Through (and Holding the Door Open for Others) 2016). She is also co-author, with Agnes Chan, of The Road Winds Uphill All the Way: Gender, Work, and Family in the United States and Japan (1999).Myra is currently teaching a course on work and family at the Graduate School of Business.
What do you do best?
I can bring people together to help them reach solutions where everybody is a winner. I’m also good at bringing people together romantically and have several marriages and long-term relationships to my credit.
What makes you the best?
I have a realistic self-confidence based on actual talents and skills, and with rare exceptions, I don’t hold a grudge.
What are your aspirations?
I would like to see a society where everyone can flourish and a school system where every child has at least one affirming experience every day.
For myself, I aspire to a rich and full life doing what I enjoy most—writing, teaching, and helping people to come together.
Succeeding academically in a hostile male environment
Most Challenging Moment?
It wasn’t just a moment—it took several years—but giving up bitterness after a divorce I did not want has been wonderfully liberating, allowing me to find new love and maintain a good relationship with my ex-husband.
“Do your best. Angels can’t do better.” My father told me this all through high school, whenever I came home from taking a test and wondered if I might have gotten some question wrong. I translate it as “Give it your all, and then let it go. Don’t spend your life obsessing.”
Favorite People/Role Models?
First and foremost, my mother, who told me I had to be economically independent and could not rely on a husband for material well-being. Then, Alice Cook, Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, the only woman professor I ever had. She was strong, principled, and hard-working, and I have sought to make her proud. And finally, Arjay Miller, Dean of the Stanford Business School in the early 1970s, whose faith in me, a brand new assistant professor in an all-male environment, was sustaining.
Tuscany, without question. Florence, Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano, and Castellina in Chinati for starters. Gorgeous places, gorgeous weather, fabulous food, fine music, and exuberantly friendly people have contributed to my life-long love affair with the region. Only problem now is that so many other people have discovered it.
Redwood trees. Tall, majestic, magnificent, elegant, awesome. There are two I can see from my bedroom window and from the moment I awake, they inspire me to think big.
When I began writing my memoir, I took fiction-writing classes so I could stop writing like an academic, and now that the memoir is published, I am thoroughly enjoying writing short stories. I have even started a novel. I have also started piano lessons after a 60-year hiatus and am relishing making music again.