IWPR’s inaugural publication

IWPR is founded by Drs. Heidi Hartmann and Teresa Odendahl. The new Institute releases the findings of its first study, funded by the Ford Foundation, at a U.S. Senate hearing on October 29: Unnecessary Losses: Costs to Americans of the Lack of Family and Medical Leave. The research is reported in the Wall Street Journal.

In the U.S. workforce, women earn 65 cents for every dollar earned by men.

The U.S. House of Representatives has 23 women members and the U.S. Senate, two.


IWPR conducts the study, Low-Wage Jobs and Workers: Trends and Options for Change, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and produced with Women Work! IWPR also releases High Skill and Low Pay: The Economics of Child Care Work which found that while child care workers have above average education levels, their wages are about 55 percent of what an average worker earns and are paid poorly compared to women with similar education levels in other female-dominated occupations.


IWPR holds the First Annual Women’s Policy Research Conference on May 19, a one-day event attended by nearly 200 people that covers a wide range of feminist policy research. Conference proceedings containing 27 papers are published the following year.


The Act for Better Child Care, the first comprehensive federal child care legislation since Richard Nixon vetoed a bill in 1971, is signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, after IWPR staff provided testimony (1988) in the House and the Senate.

The 35 Million: A Preliminary Report on the Status of Young Women is prepared for the Young Women’s Conference. This effort leads to the formation of The Young Women’s Project, a nonprofit that supports D.C. teen women and girl leaders that now has a full-time staff of nine and a teen staff of 246 youth educators.


On February 21, IWPR President Heidi Hartmann presents the lead testimony documenting continued discrimination against women in the labor market before the full Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives, regarding the proposed Civil Rights Act of 1991. It is signed into law by the end of the year.


Combining Work and Welfare: An Alternative Anti-Poverty Strategy is released.  Dissemination includes a widely reprinted article in the Washington Post, a briefing televised on C-SPAN, and distribution of a summary of the report to 2,000 subscribers to the Coalition on Human Needs newsletter.

1992 is dubbed the “Year of the Woman” as the number of women elected to Congress leapt to 54, including 7 in the Senate.


IWPR staff witness President Bill Clinton sign the Family and Medical Leave Act in the Rose Garden as the first major act of his new administration.

IWPR sponsors the Women and Welfare Reform conference to educate the Clinton Administration about women’s concerns regarding proposed changes to public assistance policies. The conference is chaired by Representative Patsy Mink and co-chaired by Reps. Lynn Woolsey, Maxine Waters, and Ed Pastor.


IWPR President Heidi Hartmann receives a MacArthur Fellowship award in recognition of her groundbreaking work in women and economics and her application of this work to public policy.

IWPR releases Women’s Access to Health Insurance to cabinet members at the White House. It analyzes gains in coverage under President Clinton’s proposed reform.


Welfare That Works: The Working Lives of AFDC Recipients research results are presented as testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Human Resources and the President’s Interagency Task Force on Welfare Reform. Co-author and IWPR President Heidi Hartmann appears on Good Morning America to discuss the findings.


IWPR releases the first set of reports on The Status of Women in the States, a groundbreaking series providing in-depth indicators of women’s status in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This first set focused on thirteen states, the District of Columbia, and included a national overview report. Media response includes every major newspaper and many regional newspapers throughout the country, plus mentions on television and radio.

IWPR launches its website.


In the U.S. workforce, women earn 74 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Findings from a Social Security Administration funded study conducted by Dr. Lois Shaw, Senior Consulting Economist, “How Elderly Women Become Poor,” are published in the Social Security Bulletin.

Measuring the Cost of Domestic Violence Against Women is published with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation.


The second series of The Status of Women in the States reports are released.

IWPR President Heidi Hartmann is among Working Mother Magazine’s “Working Mothers of the Year.”


IWPR and the AFL-CIO release Equal Pay for Working Families, detailing the costs of the wage gap in each state. This report informs new equal pay legislation proposed in more than half the states.

IWPR with the National Council of Women’s Organizations’ Social Security Task Force convenes a retreat at Airlie House to develop proposals for Social Security reform. More than sixty leaders and policy experts participate in what is described by The Washington Post as “an historic event.” Strengthening Social Security for Women is produced in 2000, and Vice President Al Gore uses the credit for caregivers proposal in his presidential election campaign.

(cartoon, above, by Herbert Block, Published in the Washington Post, March 12, 1999)


IWPR staff release research funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation on part-time work among managers and professionals at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the release is reported in Scientific American.

IWPR publishes the third series of The Status of Women in the States reports with additional features including letter grades for each state and new measures on women’s health and well-being. The New York Times covers the release.


IWPR’s new fellowship program named after Mariam K. Chamberlain

The Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellowship in Women and Public Policy is established to honor its namesake and IWPR’s long-time Board Member. Amy Lemar is the first holder of the fellowship.

IWPR publishes Why Gender Matters in Understanding September 11: Women, Militarism, and Violence, which is widely cited and reprinted.


IWPR Study Director Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever debates Dr. Wade Horn, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, on two occasions on issues of marriage promotion and child custody arrangements for welfare recipients.

IWPR Director of Research Dr. Barbara Gault presents testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness, providing evidence that women who receive welfare already work much more than is commonly assumed.

IWPR releases the fourth round of The Status of Women in the States reports. The study is cited in national newspapers like The Washington Post and USA Today, as well as in over 400 daily newspapers and local and national television outlets around the country, including Judy Woodruff’s Inside Politics on CNN.


For its 15th anniversary, IWPR convenes “Women Working to Make a Difference,” the Seventh International Women’s Policy Research Conference, which hosts 700 participants from around the world.  Twenty of the more than 100 presentations are later published in the newly retitled Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, now hosted at IWPR.

IWPR releases No Time to Be Sick: Why Everyone Suffers When Workers Don’t Have Paid Sick Leave, which provides research on the need for paid sick days.


IWPR’s Still a Man’s Labor Market: the Long-Term Earnings Gap, finds that women workers in the prime working ages of 26 to 59 earn only 38 percent of what prime-age men earn across the 15 years in the study. Business Week features the new report.

By 2004, IWPR completes Status of Women in the States reports for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The New York Times again mentions the reports.


IWPR President Heidi Hartmann releases the IWPR report,Valuing Good Health: An Estimate of Costs and Savings for the Healthy Families Act, at a press conference announcing the introduction of the Healthy Families Act in Congress on April 27.

In June, IWPR co-hosts the Eighth International Women’s Policy Research Conference. The conference, “When Women Gain, So Does the World,” brought together more than 700 researchers, policy makers, educators, advocates from around the world.

IWPR was among the first to examine the impact of Hurricane Katrina on women living in the Gulf Coast.

Within two months of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in 2005, IWPR researchers begin studying women’s circumstances along the U.S. Gulf Coast and are among the first to respond with a gendered lens.


IWPR receives the “Women Who Make a Difference” Member Center Award from the National Council for Research on Women for outstanding work in policy research.

Study Director Amy Caiazza speaks at the National Press Club following IWPR’s release of Status of Women in the States

IWPR releases a new briefing paper, The Best and Worst State Economies for Women, marking the tenth anniversary of the Status of Women in the States project.

IWPR’s report, Solving the Nursing Shortage through Higher Wages, commissioned by the SEIU, analyzes trends in nurses’ pay and points to collusion as a likely cause of depressed nurse wages, as well as an artificially induced “nursing shortage.” This research later helps make the case for thousands of nurses in Albany when Northeast Health agreed to a $1.25 million settlement to raise the wages of nurses.


Nancy Pelosi is sworn in as the first woman Speaker of the House in the history of the United States Congress.

San Francisco implements the nation’s first law allowing all workers to earn and use paid sick days, the first of many sick days initiatives at the local and state level informed by IWPR’s cost benefit analyses. The nationwide movement was inspired, in part, by a meeting with Senator Edward Kennedy’s staff in 2000 where IWPR staff put forward the idea of a new labor standard requiring a minimum number of paid sick and vacation days.

IWPR publishes I Knew I Could Do this Work: Seven Strategies that Promote Women’s Activism and Leadership in Unions, a study funded by the Berger Marks Foundation. It is widely used in mentoring programs in labor unions.


In March 2008, the Washington DC Council approved the “Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008” (the Act), requiring all employers to provide each employee with paid sick and/or safe leave.

Members and supporters of IWPR join its staff and board to celebrate IWPR’s 20th anniversary with a reception in New York City.

Economic Justice Summit in Atlanta, GA

IWPR co-hosts the Economic Justice Summit with the National Organization for Women Foundation and the National Council of Negro Women. The Summit program reflects a diversity of topics and presenters including IWPR President Dr. Heidi Hartmann, Lilly Ledbetter, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Dr. Dorothy Height, Kim Gandy, Eleanor Smeal, and Dr. Martha Burk.


President Obama signs into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and signs an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls.

IWPR-Wellesley symposium, “Achieving Equity for Women”

IWPR and the Wellesley Centers for Women bring the insights of policymakers and leading researchers to bear on critical issues confronting women in the United States at a policy-research symposium, “Achieving Equity for Women: Policy Alternatives for the New Administration,”  on April 2.


IWPR launches the Student Parent Success Initiative (SPSI), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focusing on supporting students with dependent children who are pursuing college education.

IWPR, in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), releases findings from a national survey on the status of women in Morocco.  The survey was conducted as part of IFES and IWPR’s Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa (SWMENA) project and marks an expansion of IWPR’s work on international women’s issues.  Following the survey, IWPR researchers travel to Cairo, Egypt to present original findings on Yemen.

An IWPR report, Social Security: Especially Vital to Women and People of Color, Men Increasingly Reliant, shows that reliance on Social Security has increased and that Social Security is our most effective anti-poverty program, lifting more than 14 million men and women aged 65 years and older above the poverty line in 2009.


June 2011, Connecticut becomes the first state to mandate paid sick leave.

IWPR releases a report, San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: outcomes for Employers and Employees that finds that both businesses and employees in San Francisco were generally in support of the nation’s first paid sick days legislation.

On March 8, the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, IWPR releases research that shows it will take until 2056 for women and men’s earnings to reach pay parity if the wage gap continues to close at the same pace it has for the last fifty years.

September 12, the Seattle City Council has passes a proposed paid sick leave ordinance, sponsored by Councilmember Nick Licata, at its full meeting.

Drawing on research from an IWPR report Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope, IWPR submits an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs Betty Dukes et al in their case against Wal-Mart for sex based employment discrimination.

IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., participates in a panel at the United Nations

IWPR President Heidi Hartmann participates on a panel, alongside Cherie Blair and the First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, at a United Nations panel discussion on the inaugural celebration of International Widow’s Day.


North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue holds “Status of Women in North Carolina” report

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue releases IWPR’s findings on The Status of Women in North Carolina at a press briefing in the capital on October 11.

IWPR President Heidi Hartmann is interviewed on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show about the wage gap for women. Women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

IWPR issues a joint report with the NOW Foundation and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Breaking the Social Security Glass Ceiling: A Proposal to Modernize Women’s Benefits.


IWPR celebrates its first 25 years and launches the next era of making research count for women with a sold-out event at the AFL-CIO. Speakers include IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, and Reps. Rose DeLauro, Gwen Moore, and Eleanor Holmes-Norto. Watch our 25th anniversary video.

IWPR’s 25th anniversary event, “Making Research Count for Women”

The U.S. Congress begins in January with a record 20 women in the Senate for a total 98 women in both houses.

Informed by IWPR’s research, the New York City Council passes a paid sick leave law covering most workers in New York City.

Janet Yellen is nominated Chair of the Federal Reserve, the first woman to head a central bank in any major industrial nation. IWPR President Heidi Hartmann writes a letter with economist Joyce Jacobsen (then at Wesleyan University) in support of Yellen that is signed by 505 U.S. economists. The letter is widely covered in financial press, including by The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNN Money, and The Washington Post, and receives mention in the 2014 TIME cover article when Yellen is confirmed Chair.


On April 8, Equal Pay Day, IWPR President Heidi Hartmann is present at the signing of President Obama’s executive order improving pay transparency for government contractors.

Department of Labor sponsors a series of Scholars’ Papers to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s 1963 Commission on the Status of Women American Women: Report. IWPR prepares papers on parental leave, occupational segregation, and the wage gap as party of this effort.

IWPR releases fact sheets on student parents. The subsequent Washington Post feature on IWPR’s student parent and on-campus child care research leads to a meeting between IWPR Vice President and Executive Director Barbara Gault and staffers from Senators John Tester and Barbara Boxer’s offices to discuss policies to address the needs of student parents. IWPR student partent research is cited in The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Quartz, Jezebel, the Austin American Statesman, and The Hill.


IWPR kicks off Status of Women in the States: 2015 with a Glamour Magazine exclusive and webinar for partner women’s funds around the country. IWPR then released a series of 7 chapters, beginning with Employment & Earnings, 51 state fact sheets, and interactive maps and data on its newly launched website, statusofwomendata.org. The series of releases culminates with a signature event that convenes diverse leaders, “Achieving Gender Equality in our Lifetimes: A Bold Vision for Advancing the Status of Women.” The report and fact sheets receive widespread coverage from sources including The Washington Post, MarketWatch, CBS This Morning, The Atlantic,  and a segment on The Daily Show.

Following a years-long effort among advocates to put a paid sick days policy in place in Philadelphia, IWPR Senior Research Associate Jessica Milli provides expert testimony to the Philadelphia Task Force. A paid sick days law is subsequently passed in February. IWPR provides data on paid sick days access rates to advocates in Oregon; Pittsburgh, PA; and Montgomery County, MD; all of whom see victories for their respective campaigns. President Obama marks Labor Day with an Executive Order mandating seven paid sick days for federal contractors. Bloomberg View, Pacific Standard, ThinkProgress, Marketplace, and Fusion cite IWPR in articles about the impact of paid sick day policies nationally.

Equal pay gets the Hollywood treatment: The Sony hacks, which publicize private emails from Sony executives, reveal stunning pay disparities in Hollywood. IWPR’s research on the gender wage gap is cited in coverage and commentary about the scandal, including pieces from The Washington Post, Bustle, The Huffington Post, ThinkProgress, and New York Magazine. In February, Patricia Arquette calls for equal pay in her Academy Award acceptance speech and, during an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, notes that women will not see equal pay until 2058, a projection that IWPR has calculated over time.

IWPR releases a report ahead of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which presents a comprehensive analysis of interviews with 184 low-income black women who lived in “The Big Four”—four New Orleans housing projects, known as “the Bricks”—and who were displaced by the hurricane and flooding. Press highlights included coverage in The Nation, The Atlantic CityLab, Mother Jones, and The Grio.


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes the first woman nominee of a major political party in U.S. history.

IWPR is named a top think tank by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Society Program, the only gender-focused think tank included, and has been ranked a top think tank each year since.

IWPR co-hosts “Advancing the Economic and Political power of Women in the South” event with the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College to recognize the release of its first-ever Status of Women in the South report. The report ranks and grades women’s status on a set of indicators and can be used to highlight women’s progress and the obstacles they face and to encourage policy and programmatic changes that can improve women’s opportunities.

Panelists at IWPR’s 2016 Status of Women in the South release event at Spelman College.

IWPR takes on Economic Security or Survivors (ESS) project, a national technical assistance project focused on elevating and institutionalizing best practices that help to build, protect, and restore survivor economic security so that survivors of intimate partner, sexual violence and stalking may be safe from abuse and violence.

IWPR releases Equity in Innovation: Women Inventors and Patents, which explores women’s underrepresentation among patent holders and their relative success in being granted patents when they apply for them. This report, which is the first to explore the gender differences in patenting, raised awareness for the issue, eventually informing the passage of the IDEA Act.

Undervalued and Underpaid in America, released by IWPR and Oxfam America, finds that workers in growing, low-wage, female-dominated jobs–who are disproportionately women of color–earn less than men working in similar low-wage jobs that are not disproportionately female.

In advance of Latinas Equal Pay Day on November 1, IWPR releases the first projections for equal pay by race and ethnicity. The findings are featured in Glamour, ThinkProgress, Huffington Post, and TIME.


IWPR hosts a research symposium to culminate the Job Training Success research series and share new findings from its national survey of job training participants on access to supportive services.

IWPR releases an annual update to its Gender Wage Gap by Occupation fact sheet and provides data to support LeanIn.org’s #20PercentCounts campaign. IWPR’s research is then featured in publications including USA Today, MarketWatch, Glamour, Fortune, ThinkProgress, and CNN Money and shared by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Jayapal, among other members of Congress; Ivanka Trump; and actresses Jane Lynch (from Glee) and Blake Lively (from Gossip Girl).

IWPR and the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) release The Status of Black Women in the United States, one of the most comprehensive reports on Black women in every state, which builds on IWPR’s signature Status of Women in the States series to explore how Black women are faring across six different topic areas. NDWA Special Projects Director and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza discussed the report in her Cosmopolitan commentary “Black Women Are Working Hard. It’s Time to Work Hard for Them Too,” and moderated a special panel on the report at “From Persistence to Power: Facts, Truth & Equity for Women” a symposium hosted by IWPR, Wellesley Centers for Research on Women, and the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College.

Alicia Garza, of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), moderates a panel discussion for the release of IWPR and NDWA’s Status of Black Women in the United States report.

In the midst of the growing #MeToo movement, IWPR’s experts and research informed coverage of sexual harassment from many angles: women in low-wage jobs (Al Jazeera and Vox), women on Wall Street (The New Yorker and Vanity Fair), and how the pay gap and sexual harassment are two sides of the same coin (ThinkProgress, TIME, and Refinery29). IWPR President Heidi Hartmann joined UC-Berkeley Economics professor Michael Reich to spearhead a petition-signing campaign urging the American Economics Association (AEA) to confront misogyny in the field. The effort received high profile coverage in The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, and Hartmann joined Bloomberg’s Benchmark podcast to discuss the sexual harassment reckoning in the field of economics.


IWPR launches two new research centers: The Center on the Economics of Reproductive Health directed by Senior Research Economist Kelly Jones, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Work Family Supports and Health Research Hub, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Austin, Texas becomes the first city in the South to guarantee paid sick days for its workers. IWPR’s research on access to paid sick days in Austin and the costs and benefits of implementing the proposed ordinance informs city policymakers and coalitions, led by Work Strong Austin. Since 2007, 11 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws guaranteeing paid sick days for workers.

In October, for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, IWPR releases new resources on the economic impact of harassment and abuse and the importance of economic security in survivors’ ability to lead safe and healthy lives. These include 51 state fact sheets and a national overview fact sheet analyzing how much income working adults in each state need to have basic income security using the Basic Economic Security Tables (BEST) Index; “Sexual Harassment and Assault at Work: Understanding the Costs,” a briefing paper about the costs of sexual assault at work; and “Dreams Deferred: A Survey on the Impact of Intimate Partner Violence on Surviviors’ Education, Careers, and Economic Security,” a report about the reasons for and consequences of staying with an abusive partner. Coverage of the Dreams Deferred report appeared in Pacific Standard, Refinery29, Rewire, and NBC News.

IWPR releases the first cost-benefit analysis of investing in higher education for single mothers. IWPR’s research on student parents raised awareness about the importance of Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS), a program that helps provide access to affordable child care for student parents, and informed efforts to secure increased funding for the program. The Department of Education cites IWPR’s research on single mothers in college in the supporting documents justifying the department’s budget request. In 2018, the omnibus spending package passed by Congress more than triples funding for the program to $50 million, the first ever increase in the program’s budget and the highest appropriated funding the program has ever received.

IWPR hosts a public lecture, “Women and the Future of Work,” and a livestreamed event, “Will Robots Take Care of Grandma?” to launch its research on gender, automation, and the future of work.

IWPR and American University’s Program on Gender Analysis in Economics host “Pathways to Gender Equality: Economic Gender Analysis Addressing Current and Future Challenges,” a conference to discuss economic issues through a race and gender lens. Speakers include IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, MacArthur Foundation’s Cecilia Conrad, and former chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen, MacArthur Fellow Nancy Folbre, economists Lee Badgett, Maria S. Floro, Bina Agarwal, Kate Bahn, Caren Grown, Shahra Razavi, and John Schmitt.

Still a Man’s Labor Market: 2018

An IWPR study of earnings and labor force participation finds that women today earn just 49 cents to the typical man’s dollar when accounting for overall labor force participation across 15 years, much less than the 80 cents usually reported. The report highlights how improving access to paid leave and affordable child care is critical to strengthening women’s labor force attachment and narrowing the long-term gender earnings gap (along with stronger enforcement of equal opportunity and equal pay policies). Coverage of the findings appear in Vox, The Nation, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, and many other outlets. Personal finance expert Jill Schlesinger discussed the study on CBS This Morning, while CBS Evening News aired a segment on the findings.


IWPR launches its new Center on Equity in Higher Education to house IWPR’s research and technical assistance on college access and success for low-income and under-represented populations. The Center includes IWPR’s Student Parent Success Initiative (SPSI) and a project to expand reproductive health access to improve community college outcomes.

Founding president Heidi Hartmann announces her transition out of the role of president. Dr. Hartmann continues her work with IWPR as President Emerita and Senior Research Economist, working on paid family leave through the Policies for Action joint research hub with the University of California, Berkeley and her fellowship with the Urban Institute. Dr. Hartmann also continues to serve as editor for the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy.

Maine Governor Janet Mills signs new legislation into law, making Maine the 11th state to guarantee full-time workers paid sick leave, and the first to allow the time to be used for reasons other than personal illness.

Connecticut and Oregon pass new paid family and medical leave laws, offering workers in each state 12 weeks of paid time off that that can be used to recuperate from serious illness, care for new adopted and foster children, or escape a domestic violence situation.

IWPR releases the first comprehensive gender analysis of the potential impact of technological change on women’s and men’s employment in the United States. The report is featured in The Atlantic’s CityLab, Reuters, The Nation, Quartz, and Public Radio International’s The World on NPR, and is shared on Twitter by 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang. IWPR hosts a Capitol Hill briefing about the future of work.