By Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.

In the past few months at IWPR, we have expanded long-standing research areas and developed several new ones.

We have amplified our work on student parents, especially single mothers and women of color. The administration and Congress passed a budget that allocated greater than expected funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant program, a first step in helping more low-income student parents access affordable care. With new funding from the ECMC and Kresge Foundations our Student Parent Success Initiative will expand this area of research at IWPR, where our findings brought greater recognition to the special barriers confronting single mothers combining work, higher education, and parenting.

IWPR has also added two new research hubs. The Center on the Economics of Reproductive Health is directed by Kelly Jones, a Senior Research Economist. With support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the new Center will identify the causal, economic impacts of reproductive health policies and raise awareness of reproductive health as an economic issue on scholarly and policy debates on such topics as postsecondary education, workforce development, economic growth, community economic development, family poverty, workplace benefits, and public support programs. As part of IWPR’s partnership with American University’s Program on Gender Analysis in Economics, Dr. Jones has also joined AU as an Assistant Professor of Economics.

Our second new hub, The Work-Family Supports and Health Research Hub, is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. IWPR researchers partnered with Professor Will Dow and his colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley. Professor Dow, is a health economist interested in examining evidence for the health effects of family support policies such as paid family and medical leave, the Earned Income Tax Credit, child care, and minimum wages. IWPR will now add to our studies of health effects as well, focusing on the health impacts of paid family and medical leave. The new Hub is part of the RWJF’s Policy for Action research program.

You will also find articles on two other new areas of work at IWPR, the paucity of women patent holders and how it may play an important role in making it more difficult for women entrepreneurs to access capital, and the way automation is likely to affect women differently from men since the majority of both women and men still work in different occupations. Another article discusses new developments in our work on the status of women in the states, reports we have been producing since 1996: satisfying the need for more local, county, and regional emphases as well as urban-rural differences.

A historic surge of women is stepping up and running for office this year, and, in a variety of offices across the country, the numbers of women will increase. IWPR is preparing an agenda of actionable economic policy solutions for civic leaders and policymakers, a menu that they can prepare even before they take office. Analyzing the impact of policies from an intersectional perspective is more important to the advancement of human progress than ever before. Please join us!

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