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SWS 2003 Press ConferenceThe Washington-based Institute for Women's Policy Research was founded in 1987 out of a need for an organization whose distinct purpose was to develop comprehensive, women-focused, policy-oriented research. Co-founder and current IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, was driven by her awareness of the persistence of gender-based economic injustice; an awareness fostered by her upbringing in a single-mother, single-income household.

In its founding year, IWPR analyzed the costs to American workers of not having unpaid leave for childbirth, personal health needs, or family care giving in its inaugural publication, Unnecessary Losses: Costs to Americans of the Lack of Family and Medical Leave. Shortly after the launch of that project, IWPR testified before the U.S. Senate with unique findings. Our research showed that—by not recognizing the need for work-life balanceestablished policies not only failed to support workers and their families, but were costly to taxpayers. Six years later, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law. Now twenty years old, FMLA has become a facet of U.S. employment law and human resource policy.

For 25 years, the Institute has filled a unique niche by speaking a language that policymakers and key leaders understand. IWPR has informed policy by putting relevant, high quality facts in the hands of thousands of local leaders and advocates, increasing their ability to shape and implement legislation that benefits women and their families. IWPR has published hundreds of reports, fact sheets, and research-in-briefs that place women as the central point of analysis. Our research serves as a reliable resource to policymakers, providing background and context for present and future policy agendas impacting women in the United States and around the world. IWPR’s research addresses issues of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. In addition, IWPR research focuses specifically on policies that help or hurt women in their efforts to achieve social, economic, and political equality. Supported by our research, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research has become the preeminent organization informing and shaping private and public debates on the issues that matter most to women and their families.

Today, IWPR, in collaboration with its many partners and supporters, continues to contribute groundbreaking research to the policy discussion in an effort to eliminate gender based disparity.

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