New multi-year partnership will secure research funding for gender justice funders across the globe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 23, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO — The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) today announced a partnership to quantify the pandemic’s economic impact on women—and to identify evidence-based policies for a gender-equitable recovery.

WFN and IWPR’s first-of-its-kind partnership will allow for the development of both place-based and national data-informed solutions that advance a gender-equitable recovery. Not only will the partnership address the immediate economic needs of women and families, it will also help build a long-term strategy for creating stronger systems and institutions that reflect the experiences and contributions of women in the workforce, in society, and in their families.

“IWPR is honored to partner with WFN to build evidence to drive investments in women and girls and to accelerate change,” said C. Nicole Mason, President and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). “We have more than three decades of experience conducting researching at the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, and other markers of difference that will allow women’s funds to tell fuller stories of what’s happening in their states and communities.”

The multi-year partnership will enable WFN members to create a standard set of benchmarks and data repository for a 50-state assessment on the state of gender equity in the U.S., which can be used by policymakers, media, and others. With the new partnership, WFN members will be able to access support for rapid response research, essential as the pandemic changes the landscape of need on a daily basis.

“This partnership model is rooted in our values of abundance and our commitment to supporting the critical role women’s funds play in the philanthropic landscape,” said Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network (WFN). “Women’s funds vary in geography, demographics served, local economic drivers, and political realities. Members’ needs for data-informed solutions are as diverse as they are, and I’m thrilled they will now have access to the high-quality research critical to creating lasting change.”

Women, especially women of color, have experienced a disproportionate number of job losses since the start of the pandemic. From February to May 2020, 11.5 million women lost their jobs compared with 9 million men, triggering a “she-cession”—an economic downturn where job and income losses are affecting women more than men. Between August and September 2020, 865,000 women dropped out of the labor market, four times the number of men who are no longer employed or looking for work. The reasons ranged from layoffs to burnout to the pressures of caring for children or other family members.


With more than 100 women’s funds and foundations spanning six continents, the Women’s Funding Network is the largest global philanthropic alliance dedicated to providing strategies, research, and resources that support the critical agency and influence of women’s foundations and gender justice funders in the movement for equality, justice, and power for all. Visit the Women’s Funding Network website for more information, or connect on Twitter and Facebook.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research strives to win economic equity for all women and eliminate barriers to their full participation in society. As a leading national think tank, IWPR builds evidence to shape policies that grow women’s power and influence, close inequality gaps, and improve the economic well-being of families. Learn more at and follow them on Twitter.