Dear Supporters and Friends,
With great appreciation for your support and friendship over the last 30 plus years, I am writing to let you know that I will be transitioning out of the role of president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) later this year. Leading IWPR has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, due in large part to the many allies who have been collaborators, funders, users, and reporters of IWPR’s work. I am grateful for your friendship and inspired by the progress we have made together.
I founded IWPR in 1987 out of a need for an organization that provided rigorous data analysis and quality research on women’s policy issues, a role that other research institutes and think tanks have brought to successful policy movements on the environment, labor, the economy, and others. My goal then was to build a lasting institution that could drive progress on many of the issues that the women’s movement had organized around—equal pay, paid and unpaid leave, affordable child care, and others—and many issues that shape women’s lives but had yet to be explored. I am grateful to the founding members of IWPR, who each pledged $100 or more for three years, to help set up an institute dedicated to gender issues at a time when few mainstream funders were interested in doing so.
This is a propitious time to pass the torch to the next visionary leader of IWPR, not only for IWPR, but also for the policymakers and advocates who rely on our research and analysis. IWPR has grown substantially since its founding, now housing three research centers: on equity in higher education, on the health and economic benefits of work-family policies, and on the economics of reproductive health. The national policy conversation now regularly tackles issues of gender, race, and ethnicity and needs more reliable data and information than ever before. It is a time when IWPR can help to meet this increased demand.
I am most proud of our top-notch team. Our research staff—made up of an interdisciplinary group of experts on economics, sociology, education, and public policy—identifies and tracks what I like to call the “next policy frontier,” developing a body of research on such issues as the economic costs of sexual harassment, students who are also parents and struggle to complete degrees, and the risks of automation to women and people of color, topics that will shape national and international policy conversations for years to come. Our outstanding staff teams in administration, communications, and development help us tell our story and ensure that our organization is as strong as our research methodologies.
Our board of directors has always provided committed and supportive leadership to me and our staff members. They understood that it would take a herculean effort to ensure that a small startup could enter the ranks of top think tanks in Washington, DC, and were with us every step of the way. I know they will not let up their vigilance and support as IWPR continues to be heard on important issues, grows sustainably, and achieves its goals.
While I will be stepping back from the day-to-day role as president, I will not be riding off into the sunset. Since I first founded IWPR, we have progressed as a society in increasing our attention to women’s issues and the experiences of women of diverse backgrounds, but much work on changing outdated policies remains to be done. I look forward to sharing more details about what’s next for me later this year and to continuing our work together. In the meantime, thank you for being a part of this journey with me—it’s been a great ride.
Founder & President
As chair of the IWPR Board of Directors, it is my impossible task to express our appreciation for Heidi Hartmann’s legacy of achievement at IWPR. Her founding vision for IWPR was to create an organization dedicated to applying rigorous research and analysis to women’s policy issues. Now, 32 years later, this vision has led to real progress for women.
In 1987, the year IWPR was founded, where some saw public policies not changing quickly enough to address the needs of the rapidly growing numbers of working women, Heidi saw opportunity. Many lawmakers were eager to have women-focused, policy research that could make the case for sensible solutions, like family and medical leave. Meanwhile, women’s advocacy groups were standing at the ready to support such policy proposals, and universities were training and graduating more women scholars with excellent social science research skills. IWPR brought these separate networks together to inform and shape policy change.
Since then, IWPR’s research has informed national legislation such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Our Status of Women in the States reports, dating from 1996, have brought IWPR’s work to every state and many cities and regions where reports have sparked policy discussions and campaigns for new laws, brought attention to local researchers and groups, and made the case for millions of dollars in additional funding for domestic violence and child care programs across the nation. Under Heidi’s leadership, IWPR has truly changed women’s lives through research. We owe her a huge debt of gratitude for organizing this new endeavor and bringing it to its present state of usefulness and excellence.
We are excited to launch a national search for IWPR’s next visionary leader. Policymakers, advocates, and the media are increasingly looking at policy issues through gendered and racial lenses, requiring more data analysis and research disaggregated by gender and race as well as in new subject areas that have been ignored. I truly believe that there is no research institute better prepared to inform policies that affect women’s lives than IWPR.
You—our closest supporters and partners—are the first to hear about this exciting next chapter for IWPR. In the next few days, we will be sharing more details about what we are looking for in our next leader. We hope you will help us find an inspiring, pragmatic, resourceful, and flexible leader who has a deep understanding of public policy issues affecting women and of research techniques that can illuminate those issues.
We have enlisted the help of Koya Leadership Partners to help us with the presidential search. If you have any suggestions or ideas, please share them with Turner Delano at Koya (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through this form.
Thank you for your trusted partnership,
Chair of the Board, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO