Informing policy. Inspiring change. Improving lives.
1200 18th Street NW, Suite 301
Washington, DC 20036
202 785-5100

About Us

Our Mission | Our People | Our Networks | Our Results | Our Impact

Our Mission

Informing policy. Inspiring change. Improving lives.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences. IWPR works with policymakers, scholars, and public interest groups to design, execute, and disseminate research that illuminates economic and social policy issues affecting women and families and to build a network of individuals and organizations that conduct and use women-oriented policy research.

It is the leading think tank in the United States focusing on the quantitative and qualitative analysis of public policy through a gendered lens. Founded in 1987, IWPR’s reports and other informational resources have informed policies and programs across the country and internationally, in each of its key program areas:

Employment, Education, & Economic Change - Employment and Job Quality, Economic Status of Women in the States , Pay Equity and Discrimination, Access to Higher Education and Job Training, Unemployment and the Economy

Democracy & Society - The Status of Women and Girls, Immigration and Religion, Women in Unions, Women's Civic and Political Engagement

Poverty, Welfare, & Income Security - Retirement and Social Security, Poverty, Katrina and the Gulf Coast, Welfare Reform

Work & Family - Early Care and Education, Family Leave and Paid Sick Days, Workplace Flexibility

Health & Safety - Women's access to health insurance, costs and benefits of preventive health services for women, costs of domestic violence

Our People

IWPR brings far-reaching expertise to each of its projects through its multi-disciplinary staff of seven Ph.D.-level and several Masters-level researchers, who have training in the fields of economics, sociology, psychology, social work, international relations, theology, and women’s studies. IWPR’s President, Dr. Heidi I. Hartmann, is a pre-eminent economist and recipient of the Macarthur “genius” award.

Our Networks

IWPR is affiliated with the graduate programs in Public Administration and Public Policy and Women’s Studies at the George Washington University.  It also has a network of hundreds of organizational and individual members, many of whom are academic researchers and community leaders around the country. IWPR, as a research organization, participates in many issue-based coalitions in order to provide research and information that is useful in policy change. IWPR's staff members also participate on several steering committees and boards-of-directors in areas such as poverty, education, retirement security, and family and work issues.

IWPR office

Our Results

IWPR’s research informs policy and programmatic priorities, inspires change, and improves women’s lives.

IWPR’s work and experts are cited and appear regularly in almost a thousand media sources each year, including the New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, broadcast, cable, and satellite, and internet media outlets such as The Huffington Post.

IWPR’s work has been used to craft new policies, inform funding strategies, and develop programs to promote gender equity and encourage leadership among women and girls.

Our Impact

IWPR's research has helped policymakers, advocates, community leaders, and the media separate myth from fact for more than 25 years. By providing rigorous and reliable data analysis, IWPR has worked each year to shine a light on misleading information and provide credible information on overlooked populations. For instance, IWPR's research has shown that:

  • Community colleges would need to increase the supply of child care on campus at least 10-fold to meet the current needs of students.
  • The poverty of families headed by single mothers would fall by half if the wage gap were eliminated. IWPR's Equal Pay for Working Families report from 1999 was used to introduce pay equity legislation in the states. The 2012 update was highlighted in the 2013 Shriver Report, A Woman's Nation Pushes Back from the Brink
  • Hispanic women earn only 53 percent of what white men earn for full-time, year-round work.  African American women earn only 62 percent.  Women of all races earn 77 percent of what men earn for full-time, year-round work. Updated twice per year, IWPR’s Gender Wage Gap Fact Sheet is used by advocates and policymakers to build support for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
  • At the current rate of progress it will take 100 years for women to achieve parity in political representation in Congress and 50 years to achieve equal pay. IWPR's groundbreaking Status of Women in the States reports were used to support the work of advocates working in the states to promote policy agendas that meet the needs of women.
  • Nearly half of private sector workers lack paid sick days. Businesses like restaurants, nursing homes, and child care centers are among the least likely to provide any paid sick days, putting the public at increased risk of contagion. IWPR's series of reports and testimonies on paid sick days have been used nationally and in individual states to inform policy changes to increase paid sick days for workers.
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