IWPR’s Top 10 Research Findings of 2017

For IWPR, this year emphasized, at a basic level, the importance of facts and how easily inaccurate information can lead to harmful policies. We are grateful for our partners, supporters, social media followers, and others who have helped share our research and have used it to spark change for women and their families.

Below are our Top 10 findings from the year and a sampling of the impact of our research so far. The work continues in 2018!

1. The economic, social, health, and political status of Black women varies widely by U.S. state.

In June, IWPR and the National Domestic Workers Alliance released 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.

  • Findings from the report were discussed by eight Black women leaders during a groundbreaking panel moderated by Alicia Garza, Special Projects Director at NDWA and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, on June 7, 2017, at the policy research forum, “From Persistence to Power: Facts, Truth & Equity for Women,” hosted by IWPR, Wellesley Centers for Women, and the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College. Watch the recording of the panel here.
  • Read NDWA’s Alicia Garza’s commentary in Cosmopolitan, “Black Women Are Working Hard. It’s Time to Work Hard for Them Too.” plus other coverage of the report in The Washington Post, Refinery 29, Mic, the Cut, the AtlanticColorlines, Blavity, Slate, Rewire and the New Republic.

2. Number of single mothers in college doubled over a decade—and they are disproportionately more likely to attend for-profit colleges than non-parent peers.

The number of single mothers in college more than doubled in the 12 school years between 1999 and 2012, to reach nearly 2.1 million students—or 11 percent of all undergraduates. Nearly two in five Black women (37 percent) and over one-quarter of American Indian/Alaska Native women (27 percent) are raising a child on their own while in college, more than twice the rate of White women (14 percent).

3. Gender Wage Gap Narrows for First Time in a Decade, but Women Won’t See Equal Pay for 43 More Years

New annual earnings data were released in September, showing the first statistically significant narrowing of the gender wage gap since 2007.

  • Fortune, The Washington Post, Vox, and Mic cited IWPR’s analysis in their coverage of the new wage gap data. IWPR updated its useful wage gap primer, “5 Ways to Win an Argument about the Wage Gap.”
  • Is the wage gap due to “women’s choices” or is it actually due to policy choices? IWPR’s Ariane Hegewisch and Emma Williams-Baron explore the social science evidence in a new article for the Saint Louis University Public Law Review.
  • IWPR’s analysis of unemployment rates among Millennial women garnered attention in Teen Vogue and Mic, while Heidi Hartmann was interviewed for the Sunday New York Times on women’s stagnating labor force participation rate.

4. Child care is critical to keeping women in the labor force and in school—and the Trump Administration’s child care proposals fall far short of what’s needed.

  • In the Fall issue of Dissent, IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and Gina Chirillo analyze proposals on child care from the Trump Administration and Congressional Democrats, review research from around the world on the benefits of child care, and outline what a child care agenda for the progressive movement in the United States would look like. Hartmann and Chirillo conclude that, “as in many other countries with our wealth, we can and must humanize our economic system by building in time and resources for caring for our families.”
  • In May, the Trump Administration released their budget proposal, which eliminated funding for CCAMPIS, the only federal program that helps low-income student parents access child care. IWPR experts raised awareness about the critical importance of the CCAMPIS program in The Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, and on social media, including a tweet chat with Young Invincibles. Marketplace radio listed the threat to CCAMPIS as one of the “3 things you may have missed in Trump’s budget.” In September, a White House official told Refinery29, “We are working on ways to preserve the program.”

5. Health care costs, job instability, and reduced educational attainment compound the negative effects of violence.

In August, IWPR released a fact sheet that summarizes findings from research literature on the economic consequences and costs of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, and stalking.

6. Receiving transportation assistance, child care, and other supportive services may improve the chances of completing workforce development programs and finding a job.

  • IWPR’s reports on the impact of supportive services on job training success included results from a nationwide survey of 1,887 current or former job training participants, the largest survey to explore the relationship between supportive services and program and employment outcomes and the first to examine which services participants need most. The findings from the Job Training Success series were featured in IndustryWeek, The Atlantic CityLab, and Next City.
  • Watch the recording or read the social media conversation from the panel event, “Supportive Services in Workforce Development Programs: Policies and Practices to Promote Job Training Success,” held in Washington, DC, on February 28 to culminate the release of the Job Training Success report series.

7. Instituting a national paid family and medical leave policy would provide vital benefits at an affordable cost.

  • Who would benefit from a national paid leave policy? How much would it cost? Using data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Census Bureau, IWPR and IMPAQ International produced a series of analyses finding that a national paid leave policy would especially benefit working women, younger workers, and workers of color and, depending on the policy alternative enacted, cost less than half of one percent of payroll. IWPR’s two recent one-pagers on costs and benefits summarize what the research says.
  • Read more on IWPR’s paid leave research and expertise in recent pieces from Vox, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

8. Equal pay would cut the poverty rate for children with a working mother by half and add $513 billion in wage and salary income to the U.S. economy.

  • On Equal Pay Day, IWPR partnered with org’s #20PercentCounts campaign to provide new data on the impact of equal pay on poverty and the economy.
  • Find new state analysis on the impact of equal pay on poverty and state economies and updated projections for when women in each state will receive equal pay if current trends continue (women in Wyoming will be waiting until the 22nd century).
  • In January, in advance of the presidential inauguration, IWPR President Heidi Hartmann penned an op-ed with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in TIME, “Pay Women More If You Want a Stronger Economy.”

9. Stalking victims face economic barriers to safety: some of the groups most likely to experience stalking also have among the lowest levels of financial resources available to address the issue.

  • A blog post from IWPR’s Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski and Alona Del Rosario, “Supporting Survivors in Business and Entrepreneurship,” highlights the importance of developing trauma-informed business development programs. These programs are increasingly exploring entrepreneurship as a pathway to economic security and independence for survivors.
  • Visit IWPR’s YouTube page to view recent webinars from IWPR’s Economic Security for Survivors project, focusing on promoting job training success and entrepreneurship among survivors.

10. Women, particularly low-income women and women of color, have the greatest stake in effective and humane disaster recovery.

  • IWPR’s in-depth work on women in the Post-Katrina Gulf Coast informed coverage of the devastating hurricanes this summer (Newsweek: “Hurricanes like Irma increase risk for sexual assault”).
  • IWPR President Heidi Hartmann co-authored an op-ed with Geanine Wester of the Florida Red Cross and EmpowHER of the Palm Beaches in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (“Post-hurricane recovery efforts must include women’s voices”) that urged those involved in hurricane recovery efforts to include women in decision-making.



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