Vice President and Executive Director

Areas of Expertise: Access to Higher Education, Child Care & Early Education, Flexible Work & Fair-Scheduling, Investing in Single Mothers' Higher Education, Job Training Success, Paid Sick Days, Pay Equity & Discrimination, STEM and Innovation, Student Parent Success Initiative, The Status of Women and Girls

Barbara Gault, Ph.D., is the Vice President and Executive Director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Her work covers a wide range of issues, including college access and affordability, job quality, paid leave, poverty, political engagement, and the need for better early care and education options for working parents. She founded and leads IWPRs Student Parent Success Initiative, and has authored dozens of reports and publications, including Improving Child Care Access to Promote Postsecondary Success Among Low-Income Parents,  Resilient and Reaching for More: Challenges and Benefits of Higher Education for Welfare Participants and Their Children, " and Working First But Working Poor: The Need for Education and Training Following Welfare Reform.  She has testified in Congress on low-income women’s educational access, has spoken and delivered keynote presentations in venues throughout the country, and appears in a range of print, radio and television media outlets. Prior to joining IWPR, Dr. Gault conducted research at the Office of Children’s Health Policy Research, and served as a staff and board member of organizations promoting human rights in Latin America. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and her B.A. from the University of Michigan. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Coalition on Human Needs, and is a Research Professor of Women’s Studies at the George Washington University.

Publications

Five Ways to Win an Argument about the Gender Wage Gap (Updated 2017)

The 80.5 percent wage ratio figure, the most commonly used figure to measure the gender wage gap in the United States, is often derided as misleading, a myth, or worst of all, a lie. In this post, we argue that the figure is an accurate measure of the inequality in earnings between women and men…

College Students with Children: National and Regional Profiles

This report provides a national and regional profile of undergraduate college students who are raising dependent children. Drawing on original analysis of national postsecondary education data, it quantifies the growth in the student parent population over time, both nationally and regionally, and describes trends in student parents’ economic status, their declining access to oncampus child…

Supportive Services in Workforce Development Programs: Administrator Perspectives on Availability and Unmet Needs

Report Summary Although program administrators confirm that supportive services must supplement skills training, budget constraints often leave participants with unmet needs.    Workforce development programs offer much-needed skills training to un- and under-employed Americans.  Many such individuals also face personal challenges that prevent them from completing their training.  Workforce professionals have long asserted that supportive…

Equity in Innovation: Women Inventors and Patents

This report compiles existing data on women and patenting. It explores both women’s underrepresentation among patent holders and their relative success in being granted patents when they apply for them. The report identifies the technology classes that women are most likely to patent in, and examines the overall success of patents granted to women as…

Undervalued and Underpaid in America: Women in Low-Wage, Female-Dominated Jobs

This report investigates women’s experiences in large, low-wage, growing, female-dominated occupations, comparing demographic data and indicators of economic security between 1994 and 2014, and projecting growth rates to 2024. It focuses on 22 occupations fitting these criteria, and analyzes these jobs’ size and wages, racial and ethnic composition, share of parents and single parents, workers’…

Child Care for Parents in College: A State-by-State Assessment

Child care is a crucial support for the 4.8 million parents in college, but it is difficult for students to find and afford. Balancing the responsibilities of school, family, and work, student parents with young children rely on affordable, reliable child care arrangements to manage the many demands on their time while pursuing a postsecondary…

The Gender Patenting Gap

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reviewed and analyzed published data and literature on women and patenting, finding that women hold an extremely small share of patents, and that at the current rate of progress, gender equity is more than 75 years away. This briefing paper presents a snapshot of the data and related recommendations.