Five Facts to Know on International Women’s Day

Five Facts to Know on International Women’s Day

Not only is March Women’s History Month, but March 8th is International Women’s Day. While women have made progress at work, in education, and in leadership, women still face a frustratingly stagnant wage gap and, as recent news makes clear, still experience pervasive harassment at work.

In line with this year’s theme of #PressForProgress, IWPR has compiled five things to know this International Women’s Day:

  1. Women will have to wait another four decades—or much longer—for equal pay

If current trends continue, it will take 41 years—or until 2059—for women to finally reach pay parity with men. For women of color, the rate of progress is even slower. Hispanic women will have to wait until 2233—216 years from now—and Black women will wait until 2124 for equal pay. The last decade saw the slowest growth in women’s wages in nearly forty years.

  1. As the number of single mothers in college doubled over a decade, access to campus child care declined

The number of single mothers in college more than doubled in 12 school years between 1999 and 2012, to reach nearly 2.1 million students—or 11 percent of all undergraduates. Women of color in college are especially likely to be single parents: 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).

At the same time, access to child care on campus declined in most states and student parent enrollment in for-profit colleges grew by a staggering 138 percent, the most dramatic increase among all institution types. Student parents are more likely to have lower incomes and less likely to graduate than their non-parenting peers.

  1. The financial costs of domestic violence and sexual assault compound physical and psychological trauma

Intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, and stalking have profound economic effects on victims and survivors, outlined in an IWPR  fact sheet, which summarizes findings from research literature on the economic consequences and costs of violence against women. In addition to physical harm, survivors and victims often must contend with high medical expenses, lower wages from diminished educational attainment, lost wages from missed work and job loss, debt and poor credit, and costs associated with housing instability.

  1. Black Millennial women are still twice as likely to face unemployment as young White women

A decade after the Great Recession, a slow and uneven recovery has left young women of color behind. In 2016, Black women aged 25-34, experienced an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, which was higher than the peak rate experienced by White women of the same age in 2010 (7.7 percent). For younger women, the disparity is even wider.

“Youth unemployment is a critical issue because prolonged unemployment in the years following high school or college graduation means lost wages and lost opportunities to gain work experience, develop occupational skills, and cultivate a professional network,” IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., said about the analysis last year.

  1. Unions can bring a significant boost to women’s paychecks

Unionized women earn $219 more per week, or 30 percent more, than non-unionized women, according to a new analysis by IWPR. In addition, union membership may also help women secure health insurance: About 51 percent of women who are not in unions have employer-provided health insurance coverage, compared with about 77 percent of women in unions.


This year, women in industries as diverse as entertainment, media, politics, and professional sports, are saying #TimesUp or #MeToo. Even Economics, a field where only one in three doctoral degree recipients are women, is grappling with how to address misogyny in the field. (Learn more about the effort led by IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and UC-Berkeley’s Michael Reich.)

IWPR will continue to #PressforProgress by producing reliable research and analysis that advances the status of women. Join us by connecting with us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn) or signing up to receive our email newsletters.

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.



IWPR Update: Black Women’s Equal Pay, Work-Family Supports, and Access to Child Care

IWPR Update: Black Women’s Equal Pay, Work-Family Supports, and Access to Child Care

This week at IWPR, we focused on the Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, family poverty, child care, and higher education. Here’s everything you need to know:

5 Stats to Know on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

Monday, July 31, was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, marking how far into 2017 Black women must work to earn what White men earned in the previous year. The average Black woman working full-time earns only 63 cents for every dollar earned by a White man. This gap is wider than for women overall, who earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

>>Read the new blog

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150 Years Later, Pay Gap Still Hurts Children

Equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, has long been an issue in the United States. An 1869 Letter to the Editor of The New York Times questioned the fairness of the Treasury Department paying female clerks less than one-half the salary of men doing the same work. The women workers were not the only ones to suffer: “Most of them, too, have families to support; being, nearly all, either widows or orphans made by the [Civil] war.” Nearly 150 years later, the gender pay gap continues to exert a pernicious impact on children and families.

>>Read the one pager on how equal pay could cut poverty for working women by half.

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The Gender Wage Gap and Work-Family Supports: Women’s Choices or Policy Choices?

A recent article published in the Saint Louis University Public Law Review by IWPR researchers Ariane Hegewisch and Emma Williams-Baron uses state-by-state data on earnings, employment, and work-family supports from IWPR’s Status of Women in the States project to draw attention to the links between the work-family policy infrastructure and the gender wage gap.

>>Read the full blog

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​Let’s Make Child Care More Accessible

In a recent opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed, Sarah Labadie highlighted the need for accessible and affordable child care. President Trump’s proposed budget plans to eliminate the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program (CCAMPIS). The program provides child care for low-income parents enrolled in institutions of higher education and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Since 2004, the number of college students raising children has gone up by 30 percent — at the same time, availability of on-campus child care is dwindling.

>>Read the full article

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Supporting Survivors in Business and Entrepreneurship

Supporting Survivors in Business and Entrepreneurship

By Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski and Alona Del Rosario

Women-Owned Businesses in the United States

In United States in 2012, 35.8 percent of businesses were women-owned compared with 53.7 percent that were men-owned, the remaining 10.5 percent or jointly or publicly owned. While the proportion of businesses owned by women has steadily increased, the proportion of women-owned businesses has remained stagnant at four percent. Approximately 90 percent (89.5 percent) of women-owned businesses are sole proprietorships, with women of color having even higher rates of ownership of non-employer firms.

Economic Empowerment Spotlight

A 2016 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor survey found women-owned firms that generate an income reported average annual earnings of $63,590. While only a fraction of women business owners report earnings, those earnings exceed the 2015 median annual income for full-time working women of $39,900. Further, women who are established business owners report higher levels of well-being than women who are not entrepreneurs.

Many women-owned businesses are concentrated in industries that tend to employ more women than men. For example, 61 percent of health care and education firms are women-owned, but women own only 35 percent of businesses in professional, scientific, and technical services; 32 percent in finance, insurance, and real estate; 25 percent in manufacturing; and 14 percent in transportation and warehousing, all traditionally male-dominated industries.

Women’s entrepreneurship also varies greatly from state to state. The District of Columbia, Maryland, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Georgia have the highest shares of women-owned businesses, while South Dakota, Idaho, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota have the lowest. For more information on women’s business ownership in your state go to IWPR’s Status of Women in the States website.

Obstacles for Women Entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs may encounter significant obstacles to developing successful businesses. Research indicates that women have less access than men to business counseling and training, fewer opportunities to build networks and work with mentors, and less access to capital. Historically marginalized and underserved populations face the additional challenges of racial discrimination and stereotyping in the labor market.

Women’s entrepreneurship has grown in recent years. From 1987 to 2013, women-led small businesses grew from 4.1 to 8.6 million in the United States according to a 2014 Majority Report of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. While women-owned businesses have been growing quickly, women of color, Black and Latina women in particular, represent the fastest growing segments of the small business community. Since 1997, the number and share of firms owned by women of color has nearly doubled, from 17 percent of women-owned firms in 1997 to 32 percent in 2014, with African American women-owned businesses having increased by an estimated 296 percent.

Supporting Entrepreneurial Survivors

Like many women entrepreneurs, survivors of sexual and domestic violence often face many misconceptions about their strength, ability, and resilience. When it comes to the day-to-day reality of living with and/or managing a relationship with an abusive partner, however, many advocates suggest that survivors employ the same skills exhibited by the most successful CEOs–calculated risk taking, thoughtful action, tough-mindedness, the ability to read people, problem solving, and determination.

Survivors may face additional obstacles to starting a business as a result of years of economic abuse. Abusive tactics that damage credit, deplete resources, and prevent completing education and training put survivors at a disadvantage by limiting their personal and social capital. These challenges can be exacerbated by additional obstacles, such as the immediate and long-term effects of trauma, legal issues, and ongoing threats of violence.

Growing interest in entrepreneurship as a pathway to economic security and independence has led some domestic violence programs to develop trauma-informed business development programs that provide an array of supports such as small grants or loans, training and education, business planning, networking and mentorship, while providing supportive counseling and advocacy. Alternatively, some programs may build partnerships with business development agencies can help provide survivors with guidance and support. Whatever the approach, being mindful of survivors’ safety needs, addressing impacts of abuse and trauma, and taking steps to mitigate the risks, must be priorities.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2014-TA-AX-K433 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

Equal Pay Day: What You Need to Know about the Gender Wage Gap in 2017

Equal Pay Day: What You Need to Know about the Gender Wage Gap in 2017

Equal Pay Day 2017 is Tuesday, April 4, marking how far into the year that women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Women make up almost half of the workforce, are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of American families with children, and are graduating from college at higher rates than men. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. In 2015, women working full-time, year-round made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent.


Women, on average, earn less than men in nearly every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio. In middle-skill occupations, workers in jobs mainly done by women earn only 66 percent of workers in jobs mainly done by men. Outright discrimination in pay, hiring, or promotions continues to be a significant feature for women in the workplace.

According to IWPR’s research, if change continues at the same slow pace as it has for the past fifty years, it will take 42 years—or until 2059—for women to finally reach pay parity. For women of color, the rate of change is even slower:

  • Hispanic women will have to wait until 2248
  • Black women will wait until 2124for equal pay

wage gap projection by race

IWPR’s Status of Women in the States project tracks the gender wage gap across states, by race/ethnicity and by age. In 13 states, progress on closing the gender wage gap is so slow that a woman born in 2017 will not see equal pay during her working life. If current trends continue, women living in North Dakota, Utah, Louisiana, and Wyoming will not see equal pay until the next century.

Reasons for the gender wage gap are multi-faceted. IWPR’s research shows that, jobs predominantly done by women pay less on average than jobs predominantly done by men, even despite similar skill requirements. Millions of women work in jobs that are seen as “women’s work” and are in fact done disproportionately by women, such as teaching young children, cleaning, serving and caring for elders — essential jobs that, despite requiring physical skill, emotional labor and often, postsecondary education, offer workers low wages and scant benefits.

Women have made tremendous strides during the last few decades by moving into jobs and occupations previously done almost exclusively by men, yet during the last two decades there has been very little further progress in the gender integration of work. In some industries and occupations, like construction, there has been no progress in forty years. This persistent occupational segregation is a primary contributor to the lack of significant progress in closing the wage gap.

Persistent pay inequality can have far-reaching economic consequences. According to an analysis of federal data, equal pay would cut poverty among working women and their families by more than half.

Have you ever found yourself discussing equal pay with a wage gap skeptic? Find more research-backed, fact-based information from IWPR:

  • The 80% wage gap statistic is not misleading. Indeed, it is actually a moderate estimate of gender pay inequality. Read and share IWPR’s fact sheet, “Five Ways to Win an Argument about the Gender Wage Gap.”
  • Women tend to work in female-dominated fields, while men tend to work in higher paying male-dominated fields. Why do we value jobs traditionally done by women so much less than those traditionally done by men when they often require comparable skill and effort? Read the Q&A with IWPR Program Director on Employment & Earnings Ariane Hegewisch.
  • Why should we take the gender wage gap seriously? If women were simply paid the same as men who are the same age, had the same level of education, worked the same number of hours, and had the same urban or rural status, poverty among working women would fall by more than half, according to a new analysis IWPR prepared for the Lean In Foundation’s 20 Percent Counts campaign. Learn more at

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit

Year in Review: IWPR’s Top 10 Findings of 2016

It has been a busy, surprising couple of months at IWPR, but our research continues to inform public dialogue and tangible policy change. Just last week, DC passed one of the most progressive paid leave laws in the country – a hard-fought win for local and national paid leave organizers. IWPR’s paid leave simulation model analyzed a previous version of the bill and found that providing paid leave in DC is affordable policy with economic, social, and health benefits. Read IWPR’s testimony before the DC City Council and IWPR President Heidi Hartmann’s letter in The Washington Post and blog on Huffington Post for more on why paid leave in DC and beyond would be more affordable than opponents warn.

Below are our Top 10 findings from the year and a sampling of the impact of our research so far. The work continues in 2017!

#1. Hispanic Women Will Wait 232 Years for Equal Pay, If Current Trends Continue.

In advance of Latinas Equal Pay Day on November 1, IWPR released projections for equal pay by race and ethnicity. The exceptionally slow pace of progress for Hispanic women is nearly two centuries behind when White women should expect to see equal pay with White men (2056). Black women are not projected see equal pay until 2124. Previous IWPR analysis found that women overall will not see equal pay until 2059. Read coverage of IWPR’s findings on trends in earnings for women of color in Glamour , ThinkProgress , Huffington Post, and TIME.

#2. Equal pay would cut poverty by more than half for working women in 28 states and the nation overall.

California’s working women would have earned $51.8 billion more dollars with equal pay, an earnings increase that, by itself, is greater than the entire economy of South Dakota ($45.9 billion).

IWPR President Heidi Hartmann and Program Director Ariane Hegewisch contributed expert commentary to the The New York Times’ Room for Debate and  PBS NewsHour, respectively, on what Massachusetts’ new equal pay law means for future efforts to close the gender wage gap.


#3. Job Segregation keeps 1 in 4 working women in traditional care, serving, and cleaning roles with lowest pay.

Undervalued and Underpaid in America, a recent study by IWPR and Oxfam America finds that workers in growing, low-wage, female-dominated jobs—who are disproportionately women of color—earn less than men working in similar jobs. For instance, maids and housekeepers, who earn $9.94 per hour, are 90 percent female, while janitors, who are mostly men, earn 22 percent more, at $12.13 per hour. Read the coverage in MarketWatch, Fortune, and New York Magazine.

  • IWPR’s Barbara Gault and Oxfam’s Mary Babic wrote an op-ed on the findings for PBS NewsHour, “The Economy Undervalues Women’s Work and That Needs to Change.”
  • IWPR Program Director on Employment & Earnings Ariane Hegewisch answered some frequently asked questions on the wage gap for Oxfam America’s blog, “Why DO women earn less than men? And other vexing questions.” (A great resource for how to respond to common questions from a wage gap skeptic!)

#4. Women account for only 1 in 3 workers in good, growing, middle-skill occupations.

IWPR’s Pathways to Equity initiative and new interactive website,, aim to show how improving women’s access to good middle-skill jobs can help close the wage gap and improve women’s economic security, while also filling skills shortages in manufacturing, information technology, and transportation (where women average only 11 percent of the incumbents of growing, middle skilled jobs). The analysis finds that many women work in jobs that already have a similar skill profile to better paying, male-dominated jobs—jobs that employers report are facing skills shortages. IWPR’s Heidi Hartmann and JP Morgan Chase’s Chauncy Lennon delve into what the findings mean for closing the gender and skills gap in an op-ed for U.S. News & World Report. Read more about the findings in MarketWatch, BloombergBusiness, IndustryWeek, Vox, The New York Times, and Pacific Standard.


#5. Supportive services, such as child care, are key to success for parents in college or job training programs, but lack of funding means child care is out of reach for many.

Impact on Higher Education: In 36 states around the country, availability of on-campus child care actually declined in the last decade. IWPR’s state-by-state and national analysis finds that many states have rules, such as work requirements, that make it difficult for students to get child care subsidies. IWPR’s findings were featured in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Slate, New York Magazine, MarketWatch, The Hechinger Report, and NPR, since the briefing paper’s release in September. Watch a Chronicle for Higher Education video interview with IWPR’s Barbara Gault on the challenges facing low-income female students.

Impact on Workforce Development Programs: New IWPR survey results reveal that 97 percent of job training administrators, including those based at community colleges, say that supportive services—such as child care, housing, emergency cash, and transportation assistance—are key to helping participants complete job or skills training programs, but programs lack funding to offer enough services to meet demand. As one administrator responded, “Supportive services are critical. All of the training and job placement efforts in the world aren’t going to be effective if the trainee can’t get to/from work, doesn’t have child care resources, or can’t overcome other barriers to getting and keeping the job.”


  • Read more insights from the administrators on IWPR’s blog and read coverage of the findings in, “What Keeps Women Out of Career Programs — and What Will Make Them Stay.”
  • The survey revealed that nearly one in three (32 percent) administrators said domestic violence services are some of the greatest unmet needs for women participants. IWPR’s Job Training Success and Economic Security for Survivors Project teams hosted a webinar on promoting job training success among survivors. On IWPR’s blog, read an interview with Erika Yingling of YWCA of Greater Cincinnati on how workforce development programs can support survivors of violence.

#6. Native American women saw the largest declines in wages over the last decade, with their earnings falling more than three times as much as women overall.

Black and Hispanic women also saw wages decline around three times as much as women overall in the last decade. As half of American families with young children have a breadwinner mother, women’s earnings are important for families. An IWPR analysis of breadwinner mothers by race/ethnicity found that the majority of Black, Native American, and Hispanic breadwinner moms are single and raising a family on their own, while the majority of White and Asian/Pacific Islander breadwinner mothers are married. See coverage of the findings in New York Magazine, Slate, and Ebony, and watch the HuffPost Live chat (with nearly 23,000 views) with IWPR’s Julie Anderson. (Read the series of quick figures to get state-level data on each.)

#7. At the current rate, women inventors will not reach parity in patenting until 2092.

Only 8 percent of patents have a woman as the primary inventor. See coverage of IWPR’s briefing paper and full report on the gender gap in patenting in Fast Company, Bloomberg, The Nation, The Atlantic, and The Hill.

“In the years ahead, we will need to tap the brainpower of top innovators around the world to meet persistent and emerging challenges, such as climate change, cyber security, the need to modernize public benefits access, and much more. Diversity in innovation is essential to social progress.” – Barbara Gault, Ph.D., Vice President and Executive Director of IWPR

#8. Paid sick days improves public health and benefits employers and the economy.

IWPR’s new briefing paper brings together rich body of evidence on the economic, health, and social benefits of paid sick leave. In the last few months, IWPR’s research on paid sick days has informed public debate in Arizona, Chicago, and Michigan.

#9. The Pacific West is the most broadly diverse region in the country, according to a new measure of regional demographic diversity developed by IWPR.

The new measure scores each region based on the number of women from each racial and ethnic group, rather than on the concentration of the non-White population as a whole.

As The Atlantic’s CityLab notes in its coverage of the findings,

Only when lawmakers gain a detailed understanding of who the most vulnerable women are and what specific problems they face can they create an environment where all women thrive.

IWPR President Heidi Hartmann told CityLab, “We need to understand that diversity is a nuanced concept, with tremendous variation, so that we can target policy solutions and make sure no group slips through the cracks.”


#10. 1 in 6 high school girls experienced sexual dating violence in 2015.

IWPR’s new chartbook, “High School Girls and Violence 2015,” highlights the alarming prevalence of violence against teenage girls, with differences by race and ethnicity. Hispanic teen girls are twice as likely as their male counterparts to experience sexual violence and Black teen girls are 1.5 times as likely. Another briefing paper, “Intersections of Domestic Violence and Economic Security,” reviews available social science and policy research on the economic impact of domestic violence.

“The barriers to economic security facing survivors of intimate partner violence are two-fold. Survivors face a high likelihood of economic abuse from within their intimate relationships, and research finds that higher health care costs, lack of paid sick and safe leave, and limited access to help with legal fees create challenges to achieving, safe, healthy and economically secure lives.” – Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski, Director of IWPR’s Economic Security for Survivors Project.

To view more of IWPR’s research, visit


Top 5 IWPR Findings of 2015

By Rachel Eichhorn and Rachel Linn

What a year it’s been for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research! In 2015, we released 119 publications, including the seven chapter Status of Women in the States: 2015 report, with an accompanying interactive website. IWPR research was cited more than 2,100 times in media outlets around the country – from a feature in Glamour Magazine to a skit on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer. Our staff also presented or participated in over 60 meetings and events on key issues affecting women and families.

Below are our top 5 findings of 2015 (plus a bonus!) from our many research reports. Let us know which one you found most interesting or surprising on Twitter or Facebook using #IWPRtop5.

1. The overall best state for women in America is Minnesota. The worst states are Alabama and Mississippi.

SWS EE map

This Spring, IWPR released the highly anticipated Status of Women in the States: 2015 report, ranking and grading the status of women on six topic areas: Political Participation, Employment & Earnings, Work & Family, Poverty & Opportunity, Reproductive Rights, Health & Well-Being, plus data on Violence & Safety.

The site is also the most accessible, comprehensive source of state data on women of color in the U.S. Browse spotlight pages that highlight data on specific groups, such as older women, Millennials, women living in same-sex households, immigrant women, and women in unions.

2. There are five states that will not see equal pay until the next century: Louisiana, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Jon Stewart.jpg

A viral segment on The Daily Show called “The Future of Gender Wage Equality” summarized this finding perfectly when Kristen Schaal explained how humans will go to Mars before women get pay equity!

3. Women will not achieve political parity in Congress until the year 2117.

Share of Elective Offices Held by Women

In 2015, 20 of 100 members of the U.S. Senate (20 percent) and 84 of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives (19.3 percent) are women. These numbers represent an increase since 2004, but the number of seats held by women in the U.S. Congress is still well below women’s share of the overall population.

4. Nearly half of current exempt Millennial women will gain overtime coverage under new U.S. DOL rule.

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In a report co-authored by MomsRising, IWPR found that working women—especially young women, single mothers, women workers of color, and women working in service and administrative support positions—have the most to gain from an increase of the overtime salary threshold to $50,440 proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor in July 2015. The collaboration with MomsRising helped to put a human face on those that would be positively affected by the rule change.

5. Women experience higher poverty rates than men for every demographic group and at all ages.

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The report, Toward Our Children’s Keeper, provides a discussion and analysis of the interim report of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, using data for males and females together as a reference point. The report argues that initiatives addressing the needs of young people of color should address the needs of girls and young women of color, as well as those of boys and young men of color, rather than targeting separate spending and program initiatives solely at boys and young men of color.


In 32 states, one week of additional earnings of union women is sufficient to cover the costs of full-time child care.

union advantage mapThis summer, IWPR released a briefing paper that converted women’s union advantage into childcare costs. Women represented by a union in the United States earn an average of $212 more per week than women in nonunion jobs. Union women earn more in every state, with the size of the union wage advantage varying across states: union women in Wyoming earn $349 per week more than their nonunion counterparts, while union women in the District of Columbia earn $48 more per week than D.C.’s nonunion women. This union wage advantage for women is sufficient to cover at least the weekly cost of full-time child care in a center for an infant.

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