Bell earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Social Work from Smith College School for Social Work, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College. She published the chapter on psychoanalytic theories of gender in The Psychology of Gender, an introductory textbook.
An award-winning lecturer, Bell has taught courses on women’s development, gender inequality, and sexuality at U.C. Berkeley and the Women’s Therapy Center in Berkeley. She currently supervises graduate students at the Psychotherapy Institute and the Women’s Therapy Center in Berkeley.
Bell has served as a fellow for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the Robert Stoller Foundation.
She lives in Oakland, California with her family.