C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D.

Position: President & CEO

Recently named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, Dr. C. Nicole Mason is the president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Having stepped into the role in November 2019, Dr. Mason is the youngest person currently leading one of the major inside-the-Beltway think tanks in Washington, D.C., and one of the few women of color to do so. She succeeded noted economist and MacArthur Fellow Heidi Hartmann, the Institute’s founding CEO.

As one of the nation’s foremost intersectional researchers and scholars, Dr. C. Nicole Mason brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. For the past two decades, Dr. Mason has spearheaded research on issues relating to economic security, poverty, women’s issues, and entitlement reforms; policy formation and political participation among women, communities of color; and racial equity. Prior to IWPR, Dr. Mason was the executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the nation’s only research and policy center focused on women of color at a nationally ranked school of public administration. She is also an inaugural Ascend Fellow at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.

At the start of the pandemic, she coined the term she-cession to describe the disproportionate impact of the employment and income losses on women. Dr. Mason is the author of Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America (St. Martin’s Press) and has written hundreds of articles on women, poverty, and economic security. Her writing and commentary have been featured in the New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, the Washington Post, Marie Claire, the Progressive, ESSENCE, Bustle, BIG THINK, Miami Herald, Democracy Now, and numerous NPR affiliates, among others.

C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D.

President & CEO

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Cynthia Hess, Ph.D.

Position: Chief Operating Officer

Cynthia Hess is Chief Operating Officer (COO) at IWPR and Scholar in Residence at American University. In her role as COO, Cynthia oversees the operations of the Institute while working with program staff to support the execution of research and other projects. As COO, Cynthia serves as a member of the executive leadership team within the organization and works closely with the President and staff to develop and implement organizational systems and processes to maximize efficiency and support future growth.

Prior to her position as COO, Cynthia served as Associate Director of Research, directing IWPR’s research on numerous issues including projects on intimate partner violence, workforce development, and women’s leadership and activism. Under her tenure, IWPR expanded its longstanding Status of Women in States project and launched an accompanying website, statusofwomendata.org. Cynthia has been quoted in a number of media outlets including The Washington Post, Fortune, Governing magazine and, The Boston Globe.

Before joining the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Dr. Hess taught for two years as a visiting faculty member in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Ph.D. in Theology from Yale University and her A.B. from Davidson College.

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Cynthia Hess, Ph.D.

Chief Operating Officer

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Jeff Hayes, Ph.D.

Position: Program Director, Job Quality and Income Security

Jeff Hayes is a sociologist and Scholar in Residence at American University and works on research examining women’s and men’s employment, job quality, and economic security over the life course, including retirement. He currently oversees IWPR’s work analyzing usage and cost of paid family and medical leave in the United States and provides technical assistance to several states and localities considering how they might improve workers’ access to paid leave for their own health needs or to care for family members. Dr. Hayes has been interviewed on paid leave, income security, and job quality issues in The Washington Post, MarketWatch, Huffington Post, CNN Money, CNBC, and other outlets around the country.

Dr. Hayes has testified on the costs of paid leave proposals before the New York City Council, the DC city council, and the Maryland House Economic Matters committee. He is currently serving on the Maryland Task Force to Study Family and Medical Leave Insurance. He served on the Commission to Modernize Social Security and has provided technical assistance to members of the US Congress on including credits for caregiving in Social Security. Dr. Hayes is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. As an experienced survey researcher, Dr. Hayes advises on IWPR’s survey work and conducts major surveys such as the IWPR/Rockefeller Survey of Economic Security.

Prior to joining IWPR, Dr. Hayes worked at the McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy and the Harvard Project on Global Working Families, analyzing how labor conditions affect children’s health and development around the world, and taught research methods at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He holds Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Religious Studies from the University of Virginia.

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Jeff Hayes, Ph.D.

Program Director, Job Quality and Income Security

Jeff Hayes is a sociologist and Scholar in Residence at...

Ariane Hegewisch, M.Phil.

Position: Program Director, Employment and Earnings

Ariane Hegewisch is Program Director of Employment and Earnings at IWPR and Scholar in Residence at American University; prior to that she spent two years at IWPR as a scholar-in-residence. She came to IWPR from the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings. She is responsible for IWPR’s research on workplace discrimination and is a specialist in comparative human resource management, with a focus on policies and legislative approaches to facilitate greater work life reconciliation and gender equality, in the US and internationally. Prior to coming to the USA she taught comparative European human resource management at Cranfield School of Management in the UK where she was a founding researcher of the Cranet Survey of International HRM, the largest independent survey of human resource management policies and practices, covering 25 countries worldwide. She started her career  in local economic development, developing strategies for greater gender equality in employment and training in  local government in the UK. She has published many papers and articles and co-edited several books, including ‘Women, work and inequality: The challenge of equal pay in a deregulated labour market”. She is German and has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and an MPhil in Development Studies from the IDS, Sussex.

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Ariane Hegewisch, M.Phil.

Program Director, Employment and Earnings

Ariane Hegewisch is Program Director of Employment and Earnings at...

Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.

Position: President Emerita and Senior Research Economist

Heidi Hartmann is the President Emerita and Senior Research Economist at the Washington-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), a scientific research organization that she founded in 1987 to meet the need for women-centered, policy-oriented research. Dr. Hartmann is also a Distinguished Economist In-Residence for Gender and Economic Analysis at American University and serves as the Editor of the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy.

Dr. Hartmann lectures internationally on women, economics, and public policy; frequently testifies before the U.S. Congress; and is often cited as an authority in various media outlets, such as CNN, ABC News, The New York Times, and PBS NewsHour. She has published numerous articles in journals and books and her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. She is a co-author of several IWPR reports, including Women’s and Men’s Employment and Unemployment in the Great Recession; Still A Man’s Labor Market: The Long-Term Earnings Gap; Unnecessary Losses: Costs to Americans of the Lack of Family and Medical Leave; Equal Pay for Working Families, and Strengthening Social Security for Women. She served as Chair of the Board of the American Academy of Political Science, and Treasurer of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

Prior to founding IWPR, Dr. Hartmann was on the faculties of Rutgers University and the New School for Social Research and worked at the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 1994, Dr. Hartmann was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship Award for her work in the field of women and economics. She is an economist with a B.A. from Swarthmore College and M. Phil and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University, all in economics. She is the recipient of two honorary degrees. She was named a Charlotte Perkins Gilman Fellow by the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2014, and in 2017 she received the Distinguished Career Award from the American Sociological Association.

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Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.

President Emerita and Senior Research Economist

Heidi Hartmann is the President Emerita and Senior Research Economist...

Chandra Childers, Ph.D.

Position: Study Director

Chandra Childers is a Study Director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. An expert on social stratification and social and economic inequality by race and sex, Chandra examines issues related to women and girls of color and job quality.

In addition to being cited in the press, including The Nation and The Atlantic, Chandra has given presentations on the findings of IWPR research reports at various policy conferences.

Before joining IWPR Chandra taught multiple undergraduate courses in Sociology at Texas Tech University and the University of Washington. Courses taught include Social Problems, Poverty & Inequality, and Research Practicum. Chandra completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Washington. Her dissertation examined trends in racial occupational segregation by sex.

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Chandra Childers, Ph.D.

Study Director

Chandra Childers is a Study Director at the Institute for...

Federiga Bindi, Ph.D.

Position: Senior Fellow, Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative

Dr. Federiga Bindi is a new Senior Fellow at IWPR. She is also a tenured Professor of Political Science and Jean Monnet Chair at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, where she founded and directed the “Jean Monnet EU Center of Excellence” (2004-2012). She is also a Non Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations. Professor Bindi, who has a PhD from the European University Institute, has been a Visiting Fellow in a number of prestigious international institutions, among which the Brookings Institution, the Institute d’Études Politiques in Paris, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, the University of Lisbon and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Professor Bindi served in a number of senior positions in government, among which Senior Advisor to the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs (2008-2011); Acting Director of International Affairs and Director of International Training of the Italian National School of Administration (2010-2012) and Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Brussels (2012-2014). She published seven volumes, among which The Foreign Policy of the European Union: Assessing Europe’s Role in the World (2010 & 2012); The Frontiers of Europe: A Transatlantic Problem? (2011); Italy and the EU (2011), Analyzing European Union Politics (2012).

Federiga is currently editing a book Women Leaders in Foreign Policy for Brookings Press.

At IWPR, Federiga directs the Foreign Policy Initiative promoting women leadership in foreign policy and a feminist foreign policy. The project, which is financially supported by the European Commission, follows a previous initiative Federiga created in Brussels, Women Leaders in International Relations. She also leads the THE STATE OF WOMEN: Mapping Women Leadership in the World project, with support from the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.


Women are mysteriously missing from D.C. think tanks’ foreign policy panels. Here’s the data.

Cracks in the IR Glass: The Evolving Relationship Between International Relations & Gender Equality

The End of the Pantsuit Nation and the Force of Subliminal Messages

Harassment in the Workplace: Why the US and the EU Must Act 

Women Leaders in (EU) Foreign Policy: will Mrs Be Better than Lady? 

Women Leaders in Foreign Policy: When Federica Mogherini Found Her Voice

Female Leaders in Misogynous Foreign Policy: An Example to Follow 

The State of Women in Post-Berlusconi Italy

Missing in Action: The Absence of Women Scholars on Foreign Policy Panels

Federiga Bindi, Ph.D.

Senior Fellow, Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative

Dr. Federiga Bindi is a new Senior Fellow at IWPR. She...

Lindsey Reichlin Cruse, M.A.

Position: Managing Director

Lindsey Reichlin is a Study Director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Lindsey manages IWPR’s grant-funded projects under the Student Parent Success Initiative (SPSI), which promotes access to and success in college for women who are parents of dependent children. She also contributes to IWPR’s research on global women’s issues, including conducting case studies for a study funded by the International Finance Corporation on private sector provision of child care supports.

Lindsey has presented IWPR research at numerous events and conferences, including serving as a panelist on private sector strategies to promote work-family balance at UNDP’s Third Global Forum on Business for Gender Equality in Panama City. An expert on access to postsecondary education, Lindsey has been quoted in several outlets including The Washington Post, the National Journal, and Market Watch.

Prior to joining IWPR, Lindsey held positions at the Aspen Institute’s Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health and at Global Policy Solutions in Washington, D.C. Lindsey has a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she studied human rights, and a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Lindsey Reichlin Cruse, M.A.

Managing Director

Lindsey Reichlin is a Study Director at the Institute for...

Elyse Shaw, M.A.

Position: Study Director

Elyse Shaw is a Study Director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Elyse directs IWPR’s Status of Women in the States project, which provides data, research, and policy recommendations on women’s lives on a wide range of topics – including economic security, education, reproductive rights, political participation, violence and safety, heath, and racial equity – that change agents at the local, state, and national level can use to improve all women’s lives. Elyse also manages IWPR’s research on increasing gender and racial equity in patenting, innovation, and entrepreneurship. She works extensively on women’s advancement in management and leadership positions, workforce development and job training initiatives, and contributes to IWPR’s research on global women’s issues.

Elyse has presented IWPR research at numerous conferences, as well as on webinars and panels, and to visiting international thought leaders. She has provided commentary on a broad range of research topics and has been quoted in several local and national outlets including The Washington Post and Public Radio International. She has authored or co-authored a wide range of publications, including reports, policy briefs, blogs, and opinion pieces.

Prior to joining IWPR in August of 2012, Elyse received her Masters of International Relations from American University’s School of International Service and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College.

Elyse Shaw, M.A.

Study Director

Elyse Shaw is a Study Director at the Institute for...

Valerie Lacarte, Ph.D.

Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Valerie is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. She conducts empirical analysis for research projects related to the Future of Work, entrepreneurship, and the Student Parent Success Initiative.

Prior to joining IWPR, Valerie had more than seven years of experience doing research and project implementation for development organizations, including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States. Valerie has worked and lived in several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and is fluent in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole. She has also been an Adjunct Instructor at American University, George Mason University and University of Mary Washington where she taught Economic Theory, Business and Society, and Gender Economics.

Valerie has a PhD in Economics from American University. Her dissertation combined quantitative and qualitative data to analyze immigrant labor outcomes while considering the intersectionality of gender, race, ethnicity and culture.

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Valerie Lacarte, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Valerie is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for...