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IWPR publishes its research in formats ranging from short fact sheets to longer form research reports. The Institute publishes on topics addressing the policy needs of women, including pay equity, retirement security, family leave, paid sick days, and employment.

For a full overview of our research areas and to view publications by topic, please visit our Initiatives area. All publications are available for free download on our website or you may choose to buy them through the Google Checkout icon to the right of the publication listing.  To request a publication by phone or e-mail, please contact Mallory Mpare at 202-785-5100 or

Browse our publications below or use our Publication Finder to search for what you're looking for.

Latest Reports from IWPR

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Micro-Enterprise Catalysts and Barriers: Voices of Low-Income and Poor Women
by Roberta Spalter-Roth, Enrique Soto, and Lily Zandniapour (October 1994)

Supporters of micro-enterprise argue that self-employment is a strategy that can improve the economic well being of low-income families and promote economic development in poverty-stricken urban communities. IWPR's study "Micro-Enterprise and Women" investigates self-employment and micro-enterprise as a strategy to enhance the income package of women receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and other low-income women. The development of micro-enterprise ventures among low-income women could contribute to the economic well-being of their families, provided that this activity is viewed as part of an income package rather than as the sole source of family support. Our study links IWPR's previous work on income packaging with our analysis of self employment.

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Pay Equity and Women's Wage Increases: Success in the States, A Model for the Nation
by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. and Stephanie Aaronson, Ph.D. (October 1994)

Published in the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy By 1989, twenty states had implemented programs to raise the wages of workers in female-dominated job classes in their state civil services. A study of these pay equity programs, conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research and the Urban Institute, found that all twenty states were successful in closing the female/male wage gap without substantial negative side effects such as increased unemployment. The extent to which the states succeeded depended on many factors including how much money was spent, the proportion of women affected, and the standard to which female wages were raised. As women's responsibilities for their families' wellbeing increase, it is important to explore policies to raise women's wages to levels that are free from discrimination or cultural devaluation. An American woman working full-time year-round in 1992 earned only 71 percent as much as her male counterpart.

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The Clinton Round: An Analysis of the Impact of Current Proposals to "Free" Single Mothers from Welfare Dependence
by Roberta Spalter-Roth, Ph.D, and Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D (August 1994)

Since its beginnings, there has been heated public debate about whether AFDC should be a relatively ungenerous stop-gap program, or an anti-poverty program specifically designed to meet the needs of families headed by single women. In the latest round of this debate, the growing rhetoric has emerged that AFDC should be a stop-gap program that emphasizes transitions to paid employment rather than "welfare dependency." Is this new round of welfare reform likely to enable more single mothers and their children to live above the poverty level, or will it be another failed attempt to address a problem constructed by political rhetoric? The purpose of this paper to examine the likelihood that current proposals will aid AFDC recipients to bring their families out of poverty. The estimates and analysis are based on the actual income sources and job characteristics of a nationally representative sample of AFDC recipients generated from the 1984-1988 panels of the US Bureau of the Census' Survey of Income and Program Participation. The findings suggest that unless changes are enacted in the low-wage labor market, or income supplementation policies are designed that specifically address the family care needs of these women, many could wind up worse after a transition to work that "frees" them from dependence on welfare. We conclude by suggesting policy strategies that could successfully alter the circumstances of poor single mothers and bring them and their families out of poverty.

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Few Welfare Moms Fit the Stereotypes
by Jill Braustein (August 1994)

In contrast to stereotypes of pathological dependency on public assistance, single mothers participating in the AFDC program actually "package" income from several different sources, including paid employment, means- and non-means tested welfare benefits, and income from other family members, to provide for themselves and their children. These patterns are described in a new Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) study, "Welfare that Works," based on a nationally-representative sample of single welfare mothers generated from the US Bureau of the Census' Survey of Income and Program Participation. The study presents a complex portrait of women who participate in the AFDC program.

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Summary Chart of Documented Cost Savings of Selected Women's Health Services
by Stephanie Aaronson and Nicoletta Karam (August 1994)

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Pay Equity as a Remedy for Wage Discrimination: Success in State Governments
by Heidi Hartmann, Stephanie Aaronson (July 1994)

Testimony concerning the Fair Pay Act of 1994 before the Subcommittee on Select Education and Civil Rights, U.S. House of Representatives Based on findings from teh project The Economic Effects of Pay Equity in the STates. Argues that teh Fair Pay Act would be an effective way to raise women's wages to a level comparable to men's.

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Impact of an Employer Mandate on Women's Access to Health Care
by Young-Hee Yoon and Robin Dennis (July 1994)

President Clinton's proposed Health Security Act (HSA) guarantees all Americans health insurance coverage regardless of their marital status, employment status, or socioeconomic status. A new report by IWPR, Women's Access to Health Insurance, estimates how the workplace guarantee-- or employer mandate-- proposed by the President would affect women's access to health insurance.


Women's Health Insurance Costs and Experiences
by Women's Research and Education Institute (June 1994)

This report is part of the Join Project on Women's Health Care Policy Research of the Women's Research and Education Institute and the Institute for Women's Policy Research. The project was funded by the Kaiser Family Foundation, as part of the Kaiser Health Reform Project. This report focuses on health insurance coverage and expenditures for reproductive and preventive services among women of childbearing age (age 15 to 44). It provides the latest and most comprehensive measures of' the adequacy of women's health insurance coverage for all health care services and for reproductive and preventive health services in particular. Measurements of the adequacy of health insurance coverage used in this report include: 1) the percent of total expenditures covered by health insurance; 2) the level of out-of-pocket expenditures; and 3) out-of-pocket expenditures in relation to income.


Women's Access to Health Insurance: Excerpts
by (June 1994)

Overall, women are more likely than men to have insurance coverage. Our findings show that in 1990, 15 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 64, or 12 million women, are uninsured compared to 19 percent, or 14 million men. Women are less likely to have insurance through their own employers (direct employer-based insurance) than are men.


Women’s Access to Health Insurance
by (June 1994)

Women have a unique relationship to the health care system in the United States that needs to be taken into account in health care reform. Compared with men, women use more health care services and pay more for them as a proportion of their income. They are also responsible for facilitating their families' use of health care and for ensuring the health of infants and children.

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Micro-Enterprise and Women: The Viability of Self-Employment as a Strategy for Alleviating Poverty
by Enrique Soto, Lily Zandniapour and Jill Braunstein (June 1994)

Supporters of micro-enterprise argue that self-employment is a strategy that can improve the economic well-being of low-income families and promote economic development in poverty stricken urban areas. IWPR's study "Micro-Enterprise and Women" investigates self-employment and micro-enterprise as strategies to enhance the income package of women receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) as well as other low-income women.

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Women of Color and Access to Women's Health Care
by Young-Hee Yoon, Stephanie Aaronson, Heidi Hartmann, Lois Shaw, and Roberta Spalter-Roth (June 1994)

#A116, Briefing paper, 8 pages
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Micro-enterprise and women: The Viability of Self-Employment as a Strategy for Alleviating Poverty
by Roberta Spalter-Roth, Enrique Soto, and Lily Zandniapour (May 1994)

In this study, IWPR assesses the factors that result in successful use of micro-enterprise as part of the income-package of AFDC recipients and other low-income women.

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Women's Access to Health Insurance (Testimony)
by Heidi Hartmann, Young-Hee Yoon, Stephanie Aaronson, Lois Shaw, Roberta Spalter-Roth (April 1994)

Testimony before the Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate, on the IWPR report Women's Access to Health Insurance. Using data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, the testimony presents factors that affect women's access and lack of access to health insurance and focuses on the characteristics of women who are uninsured.

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Income Insecurity: The Failure of Unemployment Insurance to Reach Out to Working AFDC Mothers
by Roberta Spalter-Roth, Heidi Hartmann, and Beverly Burr (March 1994)

Unemployment Insurance (UI) was designed as a program to benefit full-time, full-year workers, usually with male bodies, facing periods of temporary layoff. In many states receipt of benefits requires relatively high prior earnings and involuntary reasons for job loss (with interruptions due to childbirth or family responsibilities usually disqualified as "voluntary quits"). Because female heads of households tend to have less continuity of employment than do male heads of families, they are twice as likely to face unemployment without UI benefits. If Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the primary income support program for impoverished single mothers and their children, becomes a time-limited program that promotes employment in the low-wage labor market, can UI serve as an effective substitute for AFDC, providing income security during periods of unemployment and non-employment?

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Women and Welfare Reform: Women's Poverty, Women's Opportunities, and Women's Welfare Conference Proceedings
by Gwendolyn Mink (March 1994)

Transcript of presentations and discussions at a conference sponsored by IWPR, chaired by the late Congresswoman Patsy Mink, and co-chaired by Congresswomen Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters and Congressman Ed Pastor. Held in Washington, DC, in October 1993. Topics include welfare myths and women's lives, welfare reform proposals, women's employment opportunities, and alternatives to welfare. Pwerful and timeless analysis by feminist scholars such as Mimi Abramovitz, Richard Cloward, Lynne Burbridge, Martha Davis, and Linda Gordon. Available by mail in limited quantities. E-mail iwpr [at] iwpr [dot] org to place an order.

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A Feminist Approach to Policy Making for Women and Families
by Heidi Hartmann and Roberta Spalter-Roth (March 1994)

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What Do Unions Do for Women?
by Roberta Spalter-Roth, Heidi Hartmann, and Nancy Collins (March 1994)

At a time when union membership has been declining overall, a new report by IWPR, "What Do Unions Do For Women?" shows that the number of women who are unions members has continued to increase. As a result, women are currently 37 percent of organized labor membership-- a higher percentage than at any time in the US labor movement's history. Thus the face of unionism in the US is changing, even though much of the research on unions continues to focus on men. IWPR research shows that union membership for women because membership or coverage under a collective bargaining agreement is associated with higher wages and job tenure, as well as a smaller pay gap between women and men.

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Making Work Pay: The Real Employment Opportunities of Single Mothers Participating in the AFDC Program
by Roberta Spalter-Roth, PH.D (February 1994)

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AFDC Recipients as Caregivers and Workers: A Feminist Approach to Income Security Policy for Women
by Roberta Spalter-Roth, Ph.D, and Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D (January 1994)

This article examines whether current proposals that "reward work over welfare" by continuing the shift in AFDC from a program that subsidizes the private, familial caregiving activities of impoverished mothers to a program that subsidizes their low-wage employment will aid AFDC recipients in bringing their families out of poverty. The research presented here, based on the US Bureau of the Census' Survey of Income and Program Participation, shows that the kind of intermittent jobs that AFDC recipients are likely to obtain do not provide the earnings necessary to keep their families out of poverty, without additional income support. The research further suggests that because the Earned Income Tax Credit, the major program to supplement wages, most benefits full-time, full-year workers and does not take into account women's caregiving activities and their family-related work absences, most recipients will not be better off as a result of welfare reform proposals. Alternative income support programs, such as expanded Unemployment Insurance and Temporary Disability Insurance, that provide for all the sources of earning losses common to single mothers will be needed to bring families out of poverty, if AFDC benefits become time-limited. Additional strategies such as reforming the low-wage labor market, including its race and gender bias, and augmenting AFDC are also suggested. These policies, taken together, can benefit AFDC recipients (and other low-wage working mothers) as both workers and as caregivers.

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