Passing the Torch: News from IWPR

Passing the Torch: News from IWPR

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.

With appreciation,

heidiheidi

Founder & President

 

Dear colleagues,

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 (tdelano@koyapartners.com) or through this form.

Thank you for your trusted partnership,

lorretta picLorretta sig2

Chair of the Board, Institute for Women’s Policy Research

Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

IWPR Research News Roundup – March 2019

RESEARCH MAKING THE NEWS 

As AI Takes Over Jobs, Women Workers May Have the Most to Lose

Sarah Holder |  | March 2019

If the automation revolution is as bad as some researchers believe, almost half of all occupations in the U.S. are at risk of replacement by 2026. Truck drivers will be swapped out for self-driving AI. Manufacturers will use smarter machines instead of hands. Supermarkets will go cashier-free. Even more conservative projections acknowledge that some kind of transition is coming: The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the overall number of jobs of the future will grow, but that 1.4 million current ones could soon become “redundant.” […]according to a report released Wednesday by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)—the first known comprehensive analysis of how automation will affect U.S. workers differently based on their gender—women could have even more at stake.

Citing: Women, Automation, and the Future of Work by Ariane Hegewisch, Chandra Childers, and Heidi Hartmann at Institute for Women’s Policy Research, March 13th, 2019

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The U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team Makes a Really Good Cased for Equal Pay

Maggie Mertens |  | March 2019

According to a lawsuit filed on March 8 by the U.S. women’s national soccer team, these female athletes are being paid less than the men’s team, in some cases earning just 38 percent of pay per game. This, despite the fact that in recent years the women’s team has generated more profits and revenue for the U.S. Soccer Federation, earned larger viewing audiences, and played more games than the men’s team. […] Out in the wider U.S. labor market, women’s median weekly earnings in 2018 were 81.1 cents for every dollar earned by a man. (The gap is bigger for women of color: Compared with white men’s median weekly earnings in 2018, Hispanic women earned just 61.6 percent and black women earned just 65.3 percent.) And it’s getting worse. According to data analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the gender wage gap actually widened last year.

Citing: The Gender Wage Gap: 2018 Earnings Difference by Race and Ethnicity by Ariane Hegewisch and Heidi Hartmann at Institute for Women’s Policy Research, March 7th, 2019

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STEMming the Parent Flow

Colleen Flaherty |  | March 2019

Women are more likely than men to leave full-time careers in the sciences, technology, engineering and math when they become parents. But this is not just a “mothers’ problem” — dads are leaving, too, at too high a rate, says a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Using National Science Foundation data on STEM professionals — about 10 percent of whom were academic scientists, representative of national trends — the authors found that 43 percent of women and 23 percent of men left their full-time jobs within seven years of having or adopting a child.

Citing: The Changing Career Trajectories of new parents in STEM by Erin A. Cech and Mary Blair-Loy, at Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, February 19th, 2019.

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Inequality is Holding Economies Back. Education could be one Solution

Jeanna Smialek |  | March 2019

Anyone who believes the system is rigged would have experienced a grim “told you so” moment on March 12, when federal prosecutors charged 33 parents who’d bought into a scheme to ensure their children spots at elite universities. […] America is further toward the high-inequality, high-immobility end of the scale than other advanced economies. Such stickiness leads to a problem International Monetary Fund economist Shekhar Aiyar calls “talent misallocation.” When high-aptitude people are shunted to the margins of society, “not only is it unfair, it’s also bad for growth,” he says. As Aiyar describes in a February paper, countries with high income inequality paired with low mobility see slower economic progress.

Citing: Inequality of Opportunity, Inequality of Income and Economic Growth by Shekhar Aiya & Christian Ebeke at International Monetary Fund, February, 2019

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Millennial Women are Struggling Financially: Here’s Why (and Why it’s not their Fault)

Eillie Anzilotti |  | March 20th, 2019

There’s no doubt that closing the pay gap between men and women, and across races, is a vitally important step for advancing equity. Measured against the median salary that a white, male, full-time worker earns, women earn 80% of what men do: Hispanic and black women earn just 54% and 60%, respectively. But according to a new report, it’s not enough. In the U.S., young women in particular are struggling to access and build wealth, and this cannot be explained by the gender pay gap alone [..]  Clipped Wings was created by the Asset Funders Network, which directs grantmakers and funders in how to support economic equity, as well as the Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. In it, the authors delve into exactly why millennial women are encountering financial difficulties today, and how support programs and investments should be redesigned to meet their needs.

Citing: Clipped Wings: Closting the Wealth Gap for Millennial Women by Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Anne Price, and Fenaba R. Addo at Asset Funders Network, 2019

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NEW RESEARCH REPORTS

Digitalization, Automation, and Older Black Women: Ensuring Equity in the Future of Work

Chandra Childers | Peterson Foundation & Institute for Women’s Policy Research | March 2019

Older Black women have always worked outside the home despite limited occupational opportunities. In 1940 more than three-fourths of Black women worked as either private household workers or farm laborers. Since then, Black women have increased their educational attainment and moved in large numbers into clerical and professional occupations. Despite these advances, Black women aged 40 and older remain concentrated in a small number of occupations—almost half of older Black women work in just 20 occupations out of more than 400. Many of the occupations that older Black women work in are disproportionately low wage occupations. Automation and other technologies threaten many of the jobs older Black women work in including low wage jobs, middle-skill jobs that pay well but do not require a bachelor’s degree and professional jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or more. The risks of automation threatens to increase economic inequality—either through the growth of low-wage occupations where older Black women are disproportionately employed, or by increasing the risk of automation or digital skills substituting for workers in middle-skilled and professional occupations.

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Employer Consolidation and Wages: Evidence from Hospitals

Elena Prager & Matt Schmitt | Washington Center for Equitable Growth | February 2019

To isolate the effects of changes in concentration due to mergers, we estimate difference-in-differences models comparing wage growth in markets with mergers to wage growth in markets without mergers. We find evidence of reduced wage growth in cases where both (i) the increase in concentration induced by the merger is large and (ii) workers’ skills are at least somewhat industry-specific. Following such mergers, annual wage growth is 1.1pp slower for skilled non-health professionals and 1.7pp slower for nursing and pharmacy workers than in markets without mergers. In all other cases, we fail to reject zero wage effects. We argue that the observed patterns are unlikely to be explained by merger-related changes aside from labor market power.

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Motherhood, Migration, and Self-Employment of College Graduates

Zhengyu Cai, Heather M. Stephens & John v. Winters | IZA Institute of Labor Economics | February 2019

Women face unique challenges in starting and running their own businesses and may have differing motives to men for pursuing self-employment. Previous research suggests that married women with families value the flexibility that self-employment can offer, allowing them to balance their family responsibilities with their career aspirations. This may be especially true for college graduates, who tend to have more successful businesses. Access to childcare may also affect their labor force decisions. Using American Community Survey microdata, we examine how birth-place residence, a proxy for access to extended family and child care, relates to self-employment and hours worked for college-graduate married mothers.

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Perceived Bias and Income Patterns Differ by Race

Anna Hernandez Kent | Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis | February, 2019

Focusing on discrimination in economic research is not unusual, but concentrating on perceived discrimination is less common. In doing so, researchers can highlight an “unobservable” factor: an individual’s experience that is not readily seen or directly measured. This research, therefore, places less emphasis on reality (whether discrimination actually occurred) and more on perception (whether someone thinks they experienced discrimination). This distinction is important because perceptions add an explanatory layer above that of reality alone. People tend to act on their perceptions—even if these may not reflect reality. For example, if people only believe there will soon be a shortage of a material good, they may hoard that good, thus causing a shortage.

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International Women’s Day 2019: Global Attitudes Towards Gender Equality

Ipsos and Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College in London | February 2019

Two-thirds (65%) believe that women won’t achieve equality in their country unless men take actions to support women’s rights too. A quarter (25%) disagree. Three in five men (61%) agree compared to seven in ten women (69%). Agreement with this statement rises to 74% in Chile, 76% in Peru, 76% in Serbia, but is lowest in Italy (53%), Poland (51%) and Japan (47%). Brits are in line with the global average on this measure with 65% agreeing.

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