Oakley is the only daughter of Professor Richard Titmuss and wrote a biography of her parents as well as editing some of his works for recent re-publication. Her mother Kathleen, née Miller, was a social worker.
Ann Oakley was born in London in 1944. She was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls and Somerville College, Oxford University taking her Bachelor of Arts in 1965, having married fellow future academic Robin Oakley the previous year. In the next few years Oakley wrote scripts for children's television, wrote numerous short stories and had two novels rejected by publishers. Returning to formal education at Bedford College, University of London, she gained a PhD in 1969; the qualification was a study of women's attitudes to housework, from which several of her early books were ultimately derived. Much of her sociological research focused on medical sociology and women's health. She has also made important contributions to debates about sociological research methods.
In 1985, Oakley moved to work at the Institute of Education in London where she set up the Social Science Research Unit (SSRU).
Ann Oakley has written numerous academic works, many focusing on the lives and roles of women in society as well as several best-selling novels, of which the best-known is probably The Men's Room, which was adapted by Laura Lamson for BBC television in 1991, and which starred Harriet Walter and Bill Nighy. She has also written an early partial autobiography. She divides her life between living in London and in a rural house where she does most of her fiction writing. She is a mother and grandmother.
Oakley, Ann (2000). Experiments in knowing: gender and method in the social sciences. Cambridge (England): Polity Press. ISBN9780745622576. OCLC758209469.
Titmuss, Richard (2001). Oakley, Ann; Alcock, Peter; Glennerster, Howard; Sinfield, Adrian (eds.). Welfare and wellbeing: Richard Titmuss's contribution to social policy. Bristol (England): Policy Press. ISBN9781861342997. OCLC5104775528.
Oakley, Ann (2012) , "Where the bee sucks", in Williams, A. Susan; Jones, R. G. (eds.), The Penguin book of erotic stories by women, London: Penguin, pp. 384–397, ISBN9780241965450, OCLC823688999
Oakley, Ann (1995), "Death in the egg", in Williams, A. Susan; Jones, Richard Glyn (eds.), The Penguin book of modern fantasy by women, Harmondsworth: Penguin, pp. 525–532, ISBN9780670859078, OCLC317528903
Oakley, Ann (1 November 1998). "Gender, methodology and people's ways of knowing: some problems with feminism and the paradigm debate in social science". Sociology. 32 (4): 707–731. doi:10.1177/0038038598032004005.
^"Oakley, Ann". Library of Congress. Retrieved 27 November 2014. (Ann Rosamund Oakley, born 17 Jan. 1944, is the real name of Rosamund Clay)
^Janet Horowitz, Murray (3 June 1984). "Sex and Work". New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
Blain, Virginia; Clements, Patricia; Grundy, Isobel, eds. (1990). The feminist companion to literature in English: women writers from the middle ages to the present. London: Batsford. ISBN978-0-7134-5848-0. OCLC908195284.