History of NCRW
The National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) was established as a result of a historic gathering in 1981 of leaders from women’s research centers across the United States to strategize about how to ensure a thriving existence for years to come. This meeting, organized by Marjorie Lightman, then-director of the Institute for Research in History, brought together 28 university-based centers, policy organizations and educational coalitions.
Participants determined the need for an alliance of their organizations that would produce collaborative, interdisciplinary and dynamic work on behalf of women and girls.
To head NCRW, the founders appointed Mariam K. Chamberlain, who had been a key supporter of the burgeoning women’s research movement during her tenure as a Higher Education program officer at the Ford Foundation. While at Ford, Chamberlain apportioned much of a $9-million fund to support many of the organizations that attended the conference.
In 1982, with Chamberlain as president, Mary Ellen Capek as Executive Secretary, and Marjorie Lightman as Treasurer, NCRW was formally established, with generous financial support from Sara Engelhardt of Carnegie Corporation and the Ford Foundation. Under Chamberlain, Capek, and Lightman's leadership, NCRW sought to increase and promote research on women, build alliances for synergistic work and advance research into policy applications.
Founding board members included William Chafe, Jane Roberts Chapman, Betty Dooley, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Florence Howe, Laura Lein, Elaine Marks, Margaret McKenna, Cynthia Secor, Myra Strober and Margaret Wilkerson.
Today, NCRW has evolved into a flourishing network of thought leaders and change agents working to ensure more fully informed debates, policies and practices, thereby contributing to a more inclusive and equitable world for women and girls, their families and their communities.
To view a video of the history of NCRW, click here.
To view the 25th Anniversary Milestones, click here.
What We Do
NCRW is a network of leading university and community based research, policy, and advocacy centers with a growing global reach dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls. We also have a Corporate Circle comprised of senior diversity professionals from leading U.S. and global member companies and a Presidents Circle of college and university leaders who share our commitment. NCRW harnesses the collective power of its network to provide knowledge, analysis, and thought leadership on issues ranging from reducing women’s poverty to building a critical mass of women’s leadership across sectors.