Carol R. Ember (13 May 1948) is an American cultural anthropologist, Cross-cultural researcher and a writer of books on anthropology. She is now the Director of the Summer Institutes in Comparative Anthropological Research at the Yale University, apart from holding the post of Executive Director in the Human Relations Area of the University.
Carol R. Ember was born on 13 May 1948 in New York. Initially, she studied at the Antioch College with chemistry major. She then pursued studies and research in social science. After studying sociology for one year in the graduate school at Cornell University she moved to Harvard University for doctoral studies on anthropology, basically under the guidance of John and Beatrice Whiting. For her doctoral thesis, she went to Kenya to work and study the social pattern of the Luo people. This study indicated that several boys were engaged in duties which otherwise the girls would perform, like caring for children and domestic works as their mothers were mostly engaged in agriculture work and there were not so many girls in the family who could help her. Ember studied this social pattern in depth by systematic behavioral observations of the boys in comparison with the girls. She noted that boys who did the work normally assigned to girls were "intermediate in many social behaviors, compared with the other boys and girls". Following this study, she continued her research in the field of cross-cultural study on "variation in marriage, family, descent groups, and war and peace." She did this study in association with Melvin Ember who later became her husband; they got married in 1970. This study was also correlated with similar cross-cultural studies done in other parts of the world.