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IWPR Celebrates 25th Anniversary

25th Anniversary Publications

The below Research-in-Briefs comprise a series of publications highlighting 25 years of IWPR research contributions to policy issues affecting women.

25th Anniversary Timeline

1987

Unnecessary LossesIWPR is founded by Drs. Heidi Hartmann and Teresa Odendahl and releases the findings of its first study, funded by the Ford Foundation, Unnecessary Losses: Costs to Americans of the Lack of Family and Medical Leave, at a hearing in the U.S. Senate on October 29. The research is reported in the Wall Street Journal.

In the U.S. workforce, women earn 65 cents for every dollar earned by men.

The U.S. House of Representatives has 23 women members and the U.S. Senate, 2.

1988

IWPR conducts the study, Low-Wage Jobs and Workers: Trends and Options for Change, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and produced with Women Work! IWPR also releases High Skill and Low Pay: The Economics of Child Care Work.

1989

IWPR holds the First Annual Women's Policy Research Conference, May 19, a one-day event attended by nearly 200 people that covers a wide range of feminist policy research. Conference proceedings containing 27 papers are published the following year.

1990

The Act for Better Child Care (the first comprehensive federal child care legislation since Richard Nixon vetoed a bill in 1971) is signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, after IWPR staff provided testimony (1988) in the House and the Senate.

The 35 Million: A Preliminary Report on the Status of Young Women is prepared for the Young Women's Conference. This effort leads to the formation of The Young Women's Project, a nonprofit that supports D.C. teen women and girl leaders that now has a full-time staff of seven and a teen staff of 20.

1991 On February 21, IWPR President Heidi Hartmann presents the lead testimony documenting continued discrimination against women in the labor market before the full Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives, regarding the proposed Civil Rights Act of 1991. It was signed into law by the end of the year.
1992

Combining Work and Welfare: An Alternative Anti-Poverty Strategy is released.  Dissemination includes a widely reprinted article in the Washington Post, a briefing televised on C-SPAN, and distribution of a summary of the report to 2,000 subscribers to the Coalition on Human Needs newsletter.

1992 is dubbed the “Year of the Woman” as the number of women elected to Congress leapt to 54, including 7 in the Senate.

1993

IWPR staff witness President Bill Clinton sign the Family and Medical Leave Act in the Rose Garden as the first major act of his new administration.

To educate the Clinton Administration about women's concerns in welfare reform, IWPR sponsors Women and Welfare Reform, a conference chaired by Congresswoman Patsy Mink and co-chaired by Congresswomen Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters and Congressman Ed Pastor.

1994

Heidi Hartmann receives a MacArthur Fellowship award in recognition of her groundbreaking work in women and economics and her application of this work to public policy.

IWPR releases Women’s Access to Health Insurance to cabinet members at the White House. It analyzes gains in coverage under President Clinton’s proposed reform.

1995 Welfare That Works: The Working Lives of AFDC Recipients research results are presented as testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Human Resources and the President's Interagency Task Force on Welfare Reform. Co-author Heidi Hartmann appears on Good Morning America to discuss the findings.
1996

IWPR releases the first set of reports on The Status of Women in the States, a groundbreaking series providing in-depth indicators of women’s status in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This first set focused on thirteen states, the District of Columbia, and included a national overview report. Media response includes every major newspaper and many regional newspapers throughout the country, plus mentions on television and radio.

IWPR’s launches its website.

1997

In the U.S. workforce, women earn 74 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Findings from a Social Security Administration funded study conducted by Dr. Lois Shaw, Senior Consulting Economist, “How Elderly Women Become Poor,” are published in the Social Security Bulletin.

Measuring the Cost of Domestic Violence Against Women is published with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation.

1998

The second series of The Status of Women in the States reports are released.

Heidi Hartmann is among Working Mother Magazine's "Working Mothers of the Year."

1999

Herb Block cartoon-equal pay 1999

IWPR and the AFL-CIO release Equal Pay for Working Families, detailing the costs of the wage gap in each state. This report informs new equal pay legislation proposed in more than half the states.

IWPR with the National Council of Women's Organizations' Social Security Task Force convenes a retreat at Airlie House to develop proposals for Social Security reform. Over sixty leaders and policy experts participate in what is described by The Washington Post as "an historic event." Strengthening Social Security for Women is produced in 2000, and Vice President Al Gore uses the credit for caregivers proposal in his presidential election campaign.

(cartoon, left, by Herbert Block, Published in the Washington Post, March 12, 1999)

2000

IWPR staff release research funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation on part-time work among managers and professionals at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the release is reported in Scientific American.

IWPR publishes the third series of The Status of Women in the States reports with additional features including letter grades for each state and new measures on women's health and well-being. The New York Times covers the release.

2001

MKC BrochureThe Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellowship in Women and Public Policy is established to homor IWPR's long-time Board Member. Amy Lemar is the first holder of the fellowship.

IWPR publishes Why Gender Matters in Understanding September 11: Women, Militarism, and Violence, which is widely cited and reprinted.

2002

IWPR Study Director Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever debates Dr. Wade Horn, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, on two occasions on issues of marriage promotion and child custody arrangements for welfare recipients.

IWPR Director of Research Dr. Barbara Gault presents testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness, pointing out that women who receive welfare are already working much more than is commonly assumed.

IWPR releases the fourth round of The Status of Women in the States reports. The study is cited in national newspapers like The Washington Post and USA Today, as well as in over 400 daily newspapers and local and national television outlets around the country, including Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics on CNN.

2003

For its 15th anniversary IWPR convenes “Women Working to Make a Difference,” the Seventh International Women's Policy Research Conference, which hosts 700 participants from around the world.  Twenty of the more than 100 presentations are later published in the newly retitled Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, now hosted at IWPR.

IWPR releases No Time to Be Sick: Why Everyone Suffers When Workers Don’t Have Paid Sick Leave, which provides research on the need for paid sick days.

2004

IWPR’s Still a Man’s Labor Market: the Long-Term Earnings Gap, finds that women workers in the prime working ages of 26 to 59 earn only 38 percent of what prime-age men earn across the 15 years in the study. Business Week features the new report.

By 2004, IWPR completes Status of Women in the States reports for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The New York Times again mentions the reports.
2005

On April 27, 2005 Heidi Hartmann releases the IWPR report,Valuing Good Health: An Estimate of Costs and Savings for the Healthy Families Act, at a press conference announcing the introduction of the Healthy Families Act in Congress.

In June, IWPR co-hosts the Eighth International Women’s Policy Research Conference. The conference, “When Women Gain, So Does the World,” brought together more than 700 researchers, policy makers, educators, advocates from around the world.

Katrina&Gulf CoastWithin two months of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in 2005, IWPR researchers begin studying women’s circumstances along the U.S. Gulf Coast and are among the first to respond with that focus.

2006

IWPR receives the “Women Who Make a Difference” Member Center Award from the National Council for Research on Women for outstanding work in policy research.

SWS 2007 Press conference

IWPR releases a new briefing paper, The Best and Worst State Economies for Women, marking the tenth anniversary of theStatus of Women in the States project.

IWPR’s report, Solving the Nursing Shortage through Higher Wages, commissioned by the SEIU, analyzes trends in nurses’ pay and points to collusion as a likely cause of depressed nurse wages, as well as an artificially induced “nursing shortage.” This research later helps make the case for thousands of nurses in Albany when Northeast Health agreed to a $1.25 million settlement to raise the wages of nurses.

2007

Nancy Pelosi is sworn in as the first woman Speaker of the House in the history of the United States Congress.

San Francisco implements the nation’s first law allowing all workers to earn and use paid sick days, the first of many sick days initiatives at the local and state level informed by IWPR’s cost benefit analyses. The nationwide movement was inspired, in part, by a meeting with Senator Edward Kennedy’s staff in 2000 where IWPR staff put forward the idea of a new labor standard requiring a minimum number of paid sick and vacation days.

IWPR publishes I Knew I Could Do this Work: Seven Strategies that Promote Women’s Activism and Leadership in Unions, a study funded by the Berger Marks Foundation. It is widely used in mentoring programs in labor unions.

2008

In March 2008, the Washington DC Council approved the "Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008" (the Act), requiring all employers to provide each employee with paid sick and/or safe leave.

Members and supporters of IWPR join its staff and board members to celebrate IWPR’s 20th Anniversary with a reception in New York City.

2008 conferenceIWPR co-hosts the Economic Justice Summit with the National Organization for Women Foundation and the National Council of Negro Women. The Summit program reflects a diversity of topics and presenters including Dr. Heidi Hartmann, Lilly Ledbetter, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Dr. Dorothy Height, Kim Gandy, Eleanor Smeal, and Dr. Martha Burk.
2009

President Obama signs into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and signs an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls.

2009 Symposium RegistrationIWPR and the Wellesley Centers for Women bring the insights of policymakers and leading researchers to bear on critical issues confronting women in the United States at a policy-research symposium, “Achieving Equity for Women: Policy Alternatives for the New Administration,”  on April 2, 2009.
2010

SPSI logoIWPR launches the Student Parent Success Initiative (SPSI), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focusing on supporting students with dependent children who are pursuing college education.

IWPR, in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), releases findings from a national survey on the status of women in Morocco.  The survey was conducted as part of IFES and IWPR’sStatus of Women in the Middle East and North African (SWMENA) project and marks an expansion of IWPR’s work on international women’s issues.  Following the survey, IWPR researchers travel to Cairo, Egypt to present original findings on Yemen.

An IWPR report, Social Security: Especially Vital to Women and People of Color, Men Increasingly Reliant, shows that reliance on Social Security has increased and that Social Security is our most effective anti-poverty program, lifting more than 14 million men and women aged 65 years and older above the poverty line in 2009.

2011

June 2011, Connecticut becomes the first state to mandate paid sick leave.

IWPR releases a report, San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: outcomes for Employers and Employees that finds that both businesses and employees in San Francisco were generally in support of the nation’s first paid sick days legislation.

On March 8th, the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, IWPR releases research that shows it will take until 2056 for women and men’s earnings to reach pay parity if the wage gap continues to close at the same pace it has for the last fifty years.


September 12, 2011 the Seattle City Council has passed a proposed paid sick leave ordinance, sponsored by Councilmember Nick Licata, at its full meeting.

Drawing on research from an IWPR report Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope, IWPR submits an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs Betty Dukes et al in their case against Wal-Mart for sex based employment discrimination.

Heidi on Panel for UN Widows DayIWPR President Heidi Hartmann participates on a panel, alongside Cherie Blair and the First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba at a United Nations panel discussion on the inaugural celebration of International Widow’s Day.
2012

Bev PerdueGovernor Bev Perdue releases IWPR’s findings on The Status of Women in North Carolina at a press briefing in the capital on October 11.

IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann is interviewed on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show about the wage gap for women. Women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

IWPR issues a joint report with the NOW Foundation and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Breaking the Social Security Glass Ceiling: A Proposal to Modernize Women’s Benefits.

2013

With support from the Ms. Foundation and the Open Society Foundation, and in collaboration with the Caring Across Generations campaign, IWPR releases companion reports on immigrant care workers in the United States: Increasing Pathways to Legal Status for Immigrant In-Home Care Workers and Improving Career Opportunities for Immigrant Women In-Home Care Workers.

Informed by IWPR’s research, the New York City Council passes a paid sick leave law covering most workers in New York City.

IWPR calculates that, at the current rate of progress, the wage gap will not close before 2057.

IWPR holds a national convening “Accelerating Change for Women of Color Faculty in STEM: Policy, Action, and Collaboratio,” funded by the National Science Foundation.

The U.S. Congress begins in January with a record 20 women in the Senate for a total of 98 women in both houses together.

IWPR celebrates its first 25 years and launches the next era of making research count for women!

IWPR Today

Today, in collaboration with its many partners and supporters, IWPR serves as a powerhouse of groundbreaking research targeted at eliminating gender disparities.

Looking forward, IWPR has established several priorities for the coming period, including:

  • Informing election-year debates and dialog about issues that affect women such as the gender wage gap and workplace discrimination, Social Security and retirement, access to child care and other services.
  • Working to make institutions and communities more equitable and family-friendly.
  • Continuing to provide relevant research on the status of women in the United States and internationally.
  • Identifying best practices for increasing rates of postsecondary training and education among student parents.
  • Giving young women opportunities to gain career experience while expanding their knowledge of research and policy issues through our internship and fellowship programs.

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