In the 32 years since Heidi Hartmann founded IWPR, the organization has developed into a research powerhouse, producing groundbreaking analyses on such issues as women’s labor force participation, women’s leadership and entrepreneurship, the glass ceiling, women in green jobs and high tech fields, the status of women in the states, and access to paid leave, child care, higher education, and job training. Last week, more than 150 friends and supporters gathered at the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC to recognize IWPR’s tremendous impact and honor Heidi’s career achievements.
Former IWPR Board Chair Terry Odendahl emceed the event, beginning the evening with a welcome and introduction to IWPR Board Member Martha Darling. Martha spoke to the groundbreaking research IWPR has produced and its significance to proponents of gender equity, calling event attendees a “slice of the women’s movement.”
She was followed by U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, who gave an impassioned speech on the importance of paid leave and pay equity as vehicles for women’s economic advancement. She commended Heidi for leading the effort to promote these policies, describing her as “tireless and fearless” and declaring her the “authority” on labor policies’ effects on women and working families. She also recognized IWPR’s role as the research backbone of the national effort to improve health and job quality for low-wage workers.
Rosa’s sentiments were echoed by IWPR Board Member and Rutgers University economist William Rodgers, who noted that by attending the event, ““We are not only celebrating Heidi, we are rededicating ourselves to women and families.”
Former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and current Cornell University professor Erica Groshen noted the prolific nature of Heidi’s work, calling the “depth and breadth” of her analyses as a labor economist “amazing. Martha Burk, Money editor at Ms. Magazine, dove into the specifics of this research, explaining the significance of Heidi’s investigations into the relationship between motherhood and educational attainment.
Rhiana Gunn-Wright, IWPR alumna and Board Member and policy architect of the Green New Deal, discussed the influence Heidi had on her as a young feminist and activist. “When I first met Heidi, I was intimidated because I had never met someone like [her]. Heidi changed the way I thought about women.”
Rhiana’s speech was followed by a video tribute to Heidi.
Heidi Hartmann, IWPR President Emerita, reflected on her reasons for starting IWPR, the policy successes IWPR has witnessed and contributed to, and the future of research on women’s issues.
Finally, IWPR introduced its new President and CEO, C. Nicole Mason. Nicole spoke to the impact Heidi had on her early career by showing her a path for scholars outside of academia. She announced that IWPR will rename its two-year Post-Doctoral research fellowship in economics in Heidi’s honor.
The fellowship provides the opportunity to collaborate with an experienced, multi-disciplinary team of PhD-level researchers and research associates on projects that span a variety of topics, including employment, education, income security, work and family, and health and safety, and that inform policies affecting women and working families.
It’s not too late to support Heidi’s legacy! Donate today to support IWPR’s work advancing women’s status through social science research, policy analysis, and public education.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research offers its heartfelt thanks to the following organizations and individuals for their support:
Emily van Agtmael
Deborah Figart and Ellen Mutari