Projects & Programs
The National Council for Research on Women (the Council) works to end gender inequity and discrimination against girls and women by exposing root causes and advancing research-informed action. Working with multiple sectors and disciplines, we are shaping a world that demands fairness across difference.
Comprised of national, state and local-level cross-sector individuals and institutions, the Council's network connects research, policy and practice to end gender inequity. Institutions include cross-sector representation from academia, business, government, labor, philanthropy and nonprofit organizations—such as social justice, cultural, health-related and women's organizations. Individual members include advocates, change agents, policy thinkers, practitioners, public intellectuals, researchers and other allies. 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.
The 2012 NCRW Financial Report can be found here.
The Women & Politics Institute advances the study and discussion of women and politics, promotes opportunities for women in politics, and trains young women to become political leaders. The Institute offers Graduate and Undergraduate Certificates in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership (WPPL) that provide students with the opportunity to take courses taught by nationally recognized experts within their fields, to work in career building internships with women’s organizations and in the offices of women members of Congress, and to attend leadership workshops and lectures featuring distinguished women leaders.
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.
The National Council for Research on Women is a broad network of leaders and experts working for positive change across the economy and society. At its core are research, policy and advocacy member centers, two-thirds based on university campuses across the U.S. with a growing number of international partners. Members meet rigorous standards of scholarship and excellence and have a significant impact on improving the lives of women and girls.
NCRW also has an active Corporate Circle of major companies who are committed to advancing women and under-represented groups in their organizations. Leaders from higher education comprise the NCRW's Presidents Circle. Other forms of membership are open to individuals and organizations as Affiliates.
Volunteer opportunities are also available to scholars, emerging leaders and prospective change agents across disciplines and interests. We believe that together, we can build a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable world.
To become involved, please contact Debbie Kellogg at dkellogg[at]ncrw.org.
-from Taxes ARE A Women’s Issue: Reframing the Debate
Taxes ARE a Woman's Issue: Reframing the Debate
(Feminist Press, April 2006)
This book examines the current tax system and highlights the ways in which it disadvantages women, their families, and their communities. The book demonstrates how women benefit from services paid for by taxes – but also how they are adversely affected by the ways in which taxes are currently collected. The information presented is intended to educate, inform, and inspire women to speak out about current tax policy and its impact on their well being and that of their families. The facts point to the strong link between fair taxes and the quality of all our lives.
*written by Mimi Abramovitz (Hunter College School of Social Work and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York) and Sandra Morgen (Center for the Study of Women in Society, Univ. of Oregon) with the National Council for Research on Women
The National Council for Research on Women extends deep appreciation
to the following for their generous support of this project: The J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation; Katherine M. Klotzburger; and Mariam Chamberlain.
We express great appreciation to the Ford Foundation for their general support during the life of this project. We also thank the many individuals and organizations whose contributions and support make our work, and the work of our member centers, possible
GAINS AND GAPS: A LOOK AT THE WORLD'S WOMEN
(March 2006) Over the past decade, United Nations agencies have tracked women’s progress in critical areas identified by the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing . In 2000, the National Council for Research on Women produced a report which, through statistics, mirrored these areas and provided a snapshot of the current status of women in the world. In Spring 2006, the Council released a report that presents another snapshot, five years later – Gains and Gaps: A Look at the World's Women.
To order a copy for $12 (plus $4 S&H), click here
The National Council for Research on Women expresses its profound gratitude to the institutions that provided funding for this report:
We especially thank the Lead Sponsor, UBS, for its encouragement and generous financial support from the early stages of the project through its completion.
We are deeply grateful to the Women’s Economic Round Table for its gift in support of this report, contributed in honor of Mariam Chamberlain.
We also thank the following members of the Council’s Corporate Circle for their Co-Sponsorship of this project:
Avon Products, Inc.
Credit Suisse Group
Educational Testing Service
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Merck & Co., Inc.
Linda Basch - President
A. Greenblatt - Director of Operations
Vivienne Heston-Demirel - Director of Communications
T. Bagley - Director of Development
Shyama Venkateswar - Director of Research and Programs
Lisa Rast - Development and Operations Coordinator
Kyla Bender-Baird - Research and Programs Coordinator
Linda Blyer - Bookkeeper
Mary Ellen Capek - Former Executive Director
Mariam K. Chamberlain - Founding President and Resident Scholar
Elizabeth Horton - Senior Fellow
C. Nicole Mason - Senior Research Fellow
Paula Bruno - Corporate Consultant
Courtney E. Martin
JaneAnne Murray - pro bono legal Counsel
Susan Stevens, The Stevens Group of Larson Allen - Management Consultant
Bill Tam, Tam & Nester - Accountant
Vivian Todini - Communications Consultant
Anna Wadia - Program Consultant
Linda Basch, PhD, President, has led the National Council for Research on Women since 1996. Under her leadership, the Council has grown into a thriving network of 120 research, advocacy, and policy centers with a growing Corporate Circle of major corporations and a Presidents’ Circle of college and university leaders. Her areas of expertise include globalization; economic security; the impact of public policy on women and families; higher education; gender and diversity in academia, society, and the workplace; women in the corporate world, including work/life balance; human security; women’s leadership; and women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and math. An anthropologist by training, she has examined issues of migration, race, ethnicity, and gender, conducting field research in the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and North America.
Previously, she has held positions as Director of Academic Programs at New York University, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Manhattan College, and Academic Vice President at Wagner College. She has also worked for the United Nations as a social policy specialist and a director of research. She has written and co-authored numerous books and articles for scholarly journals and also overseen the Council’s many special reports. Her articles, letters and interviews have been featured in major media outlets including the Associated Press, National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle and Fox News.com. She serves on numerous boards and advisory bodies including Ms. Magazine and the Women’s Rights Prize of the Gruber Foundation.
Linda is an Elected Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences and a current member of the National Academy of Sciences previously serving as co-Chair of its Anthropology Section. She received her PhD in Anthropology from New York University and a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan.
Vivienne Heston-Demirel, Director of Communications, is a communications specialist who has worked in journalism as well as in public relations for educational, non-profit, and international organizations. She has undertaken numerous assignments for the United Nations where she played a key role in implementing global communication strategies, conducting media outreach and producing public information materials. She began her career as a reporter working for newspapers, magazines and broadcasters. An experienced writer and editor, she has produced a wide variety of information products and materials including website content, annual reports, press kits and promotional tools as well as op-ed articles and speeches. No stranger to gender issues, she has written extensively about the role of women in development and the special needs of women and girls in times of crisis, including humanitarian disasters, armed conflict, and public health emergencies, including HIV and AIDS. She graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a BA in French Language and Literature and has conducted research and completed graduate coursework in international relations at Bosphorus University in Istanbul, Turkey.
T. Bagley, Director of Development, brings to NCRW twenty years of experience developing and directing fundraising initiatives and strategic communications to secure revenue and generate awareness. She has raised money for multi-million dollar organizations including North General Hospital in Harlem, St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals, and most recently Continuum Hospice Care.
Shyama Venkateswar, PhD, Director of Research and Programs, brings a strong background in international programming, particularly in the areas of poverty reduction and economic sustainability. At the Council, she provides vision and strategic direction as well as helping to develop research and policy agendas.
Before joining the Council in late 2008, Shyama was the founding Executive Director of Mercy Corps’ Action Center to End Global Hunger [http://www.actioncenter.org/visit_us], an interactive learning center dedicated to eradicating hunger and poverty. Previously, she served as the Director of the Asian Social Issues Program at the Asia Society and was a Program Officer at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs. She was also an Adjunct Professor at Brooklyn College where she taught courses on South Asia and Middle Eastern history and politics.
Shyama’s areas of expertise include human rights, peace and conflict, and South Asian politics. Her commentary has appeared in numerous publications such as The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Asia Times, The Indian Express, and the Chicago Sun-Times. Her broadcast experience includes Voice of America, NDTV Profit, Reuters Television, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and her work has been profiled in Crain’s New York and The New York Times (Business section).She has organized international conferences and led policy briefings on human security issues across Asia and given presentations at Columbia University, the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and the Population Council. She has served in advisory capacities at the New York Women’s Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, and for Echoing Green. She is currently a contributing editor for India Review, an external reviewer for Transparency International, as well as an advisor to Breakthrough, a human rights organization.
Shyama was awarded the Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship for her research and dissertation work on religious nationalism in India. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science at Columbia University and is a graduate of Smith College. A native of Calcutta, India, Shyama now lives in New York.
Lisa Rast, Development and Operations Coordinator, received a B.A. in French and Women’s Studies from the University of the South, and completed a master’s degree at New York University’s Institute of French Studies. Her thesis explored the development of Parisian youth in the wake of the suburban riots of 2005 – specifically the significance of gender identity on France’s immigrant community. Lisa first came to the Council as an intern during the last semester of her master’s program, and stayed on as a Summer Program Associate before assuming the position of Development and Operations Coordinator. She worked previously as an intern in the Development office at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, where she helped to prepare the organization’s first annual report and many grant requests. Before moving to New York City, Lisa worked at the law firm of McCullough & Payne in Atlanta, Georgia. She has studied at the Sorbonne, Paris IV and at St. John’s College, Oxford, and speaks fluent French and conversational Spanish.
Kyla Bender-Baird, Research and Programs Coordinator, is providing the Council with a wide range of research and communications support. She received a BA in Sociology from Principia College and an MS in Women’s Studies from Towson University. Her thesis focused on transgender experiences of employment discrimination. During her time at Towson University, Kyla was a graduate assistant with the Institute for Teaching and Research on Women. On completion of her master’s degree, Kyla served as a Vaid Fellow with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. Kyla first joined the Council as a research consultant for The Big Five initiative. She has also interned previously with Planned Parenthood and the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition.
Mary Ellen Capek, a founding officer of NCRW and Executive Director from 1989-1996, is a philanthropic and nonprofit consultant whose recent work includes "Funding 'Norm' Doesn't Fund Norma: Women, Girls, and Philanthropy," a chapter in The State of Philanthropy 2002 published by the National Committee for Responsive Philantrhopy (available for purchase at www.ncrp.org); Fostering Effective Funding for Women and Girls: A Next Stage Strategy published by Chicago Women in Philanthropy (available online at www.wfnet.org or www.womenphil.org); and Women and Philanthropy: Old Stereotypes, New Challenges (available online at www.wfnet.org). She was instrumental in shaping NCRW priorities that link research, policy, and activism, and launched many of the Council's groundbreaking publications--including Women's Research Network News and Issues Quarterly (IQ). An advocate for using technology to improve access to women's resources, Mary Ellen also produced the award-winning Women's Thesaurus (Harper & Row, 1987).
The former Director of Continuing Education at Princeton University and a faculty member and department chair at Essex County College in Newark NJ, she has served on numerous boards and working groups--among them the Aspen Institute's Nonprofit Sector Research Fund, the Independent Sector Research Committee, the Conference Board Work and Family Council, Women & Philanthropy's Action/Research Committee, the Working Group on Funding Lesbian and Gay Issues, and the New Jersey Commission on the Status of Women.
Honored on her retirement from the Council with a $25,000 nonprofit leadership award, Mary Ellen spent 1996-1998 as a Visiting Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, and is now based at the University of New Mexico, where she is affiliated with the Anderson Schools of Management. She is the author with Molly Mead of Effective Philanthropy: Organizational Success through Deep Diversity and Gender Equality (paper, 2007). To order, click here.
Mariam K. Chamberlain, PhD, Founding President and Resident Scholar, is an economist by training whose career includes university, government, and foundation employment. She is the Founding President of the National Council for Research on Women and continues to work on international programs and higher education programs.
Mariam's career in philanthropy spans three decades, and involves work at the Ford and Russell Sage Foundations. At the Ford Foundation she served as a Program Assistant in the Economic Development and Administration Program and as a Program Officer in Education and Public Policy in which capacity, she was instrumental in developing the field of women's studies. At the Russell Sage Foundation she was Resident Scholar and headed a Task Force Study on Women in Higher Education. While there, she helped to found the National Council for Research on Women and presided over its growth during the 1980s.
Mariam has also taught at Connecticut College, the School of General Studies at Columbia University, and at Yale University, where from 1960 to 1966 she was Executive Secretary and Research Associate at the Economic Growth Center. Her publications include Women in Academe: Progress and Prospects, and Women of Color and the Multicultural Curriculum. She currently serves on the boards of the Feminist Press, the Institute for Women's Policy Studies, the Network of East-West Women, the Women's Interart Center, and the National Council for Research on Women. She holds an AB in Economics from Radcliffe (1939) and a PhD, also in Economics, from Harvard (1950).
Elizabeth Horton, Senior Fellow, served as Director of Finance and Administration and as Deputy Director at the National Council for Research on Women from 1997 to 2006. During her tenure, she oversaw the development and growth of the Council’s financial infrastructure, participated in the expansion of its programming and organizational reach, and oversaw the development of recent programming, including Taxes are a Women’s Issue and Gains and Gaps. With an MA in secondary education, Liz also has extensive experience in educational issues. She served as a classroom teacher, as Assistant to the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Manhattan College , and as the Board chair of the Ethical Culture Fieldston Schools (an independent pre-K-12 school system in NYC) and of the Literacy Assistance Center (an organization devoted to professional development and institutional capacity building for adult and out-of-school youth education). She currently serves as a Board member of the Literacy Assistance Center and as chair of the Steering Committee of Border Crossers, a start-up organization that addresses the de facto segregation in the New York City education system.
C. Nicole Mason, PhD, Senior Research Fellow has worked in advocacy and public education at the local, state, and national levels with a special focus on women and underserved communities. For the last 12 years, her work has centered on violence against women, reproductive rights, civic engagement, youth development and education, economic security, welfare reform, and health policy reform. She is the former Director of Research and Policy Initiatives at the Council and is the current Executive Director of the Women of Color Policy Network at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU.
In her work, Nicole continues to investigate the intersections of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and other markers of difference and their impact on rights and liberties in the modern democratic state. Nicole has also written extensively on the experiences of black women and gender-based violence and is the author of the Guide to Addressing Violence Against Women: An Intersectional Model and Approach for Service Providers, Advocates and Community Leaders. She has been interviewed by National Public Radio, among other news outlets.
Nicole previously served as the Executive Director of the National Women's Alliance, a multi-issue human rights organization focused on the needs and concerns of women and girls of color based in Washington, D.C. She built strategic partnerships and alliances at the grassroots and national levels and spearheaded innovative research and policy initiatives. She also taught at the Institute for Policy Studies’ Social Justice and Leadership School for Activists and in the Department of Political Science at Howard University. She is a current member of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research Advisory Board for the Status of Women in the Fifty States.
Nicole earned her Doctorate and MS degrees in Government and Politics, along with a Graduate Studies Certificate in Women's Studies, from the University of Maryland, College Park. She received a BA with honors in Political Science from Howard University.
Ejima Baker is an artist and academic whose work focuses on popular culture, race, and gender. She is intensely interested in the multiplicity of black and Latin@ identities, their intersections, and the ways in which racial and gendered identities can be employed for political, economical, and cultural strength. She spends her time reading, singing, writing and teaching.
Deb Berman, Director of Talent and Search at JustMeans. Deb has extensive experience growing and building the capacity of non-profit organizations and socially responsible entities. In her role as The Director of Talent and Search at JustMeans, Deb partners with the Council on strategically growing and expanding the team. In Deb’s 15 year career, she has amassed experience working with and for organizations and companies focused on deliberate and strategic social returns on investment with a particular focus on talent identification and retention. Deb Berman started her career founding a highly successful camp for emotionally disturbed children with a one-to-one camper to staff ratio called Camp Starfish. Her successes in that role have equipped her to understand the needs of growing entities. In addition to taking coursework at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, Deb earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education and Sociology cum laude from Colgate University and her Master of Business Administration from Boston University with a concentration in non-profit management.
Paula Bruno, Corporate Consultant, prior to joining the Council, worked in various capacities in the business world for 15 years. In 1996, she was a founder of United Rentals, Inc., an equipment rental company which quickly went public and became the world’s largest equipment rental company. From 1996-2001, she was Assistant Vice President, Acquisitions with responsibility for analyzing acquisitions in terms of strategic fit, risk, shareholder value and ensuring smooth integration. She assessed risk by examining key areas and components of the acquired businesses, such as critical processes, integration issues, and opportunities for synergy. In this role, she evaluated over 200 prospective companies. This work included analyzing financial statements, preparing pro forma financial statements, using valuation techniques such as discounted cash flow analysis and performing sensitivity analysis and accretion/dilution analysis. Paula was also involved in transaction analysis and deal design working closely with legal teams throughout contract stages. As one of the founders of the company Paula was also involved in preparing press materials and investor presentations, as well as public information related to acquisitions.
Prior to launching United Rentals, Paula was an Acquisition Associate at United Waste from 1994-1996. She is currently a private equity investor particularly interested in companies making a difference in the lives of women and girls. Paula holds a BS degree from Le Moyne College and an MBA from Syracuse University in Finance and Accounting, graduating summa cum laude.
Courtney E. Martin is the award-winning author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women called “a hardcover punch in the gut” by Arianna Huffington and “a smart and spirited rant that makes for thought-provoking reading” by the New York Times. She is also a widely-read freelance journalist and regular blogger for Feministing. She is a columnist on political and youth culture for The American Prospect Online and her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, and the Christian Science Monitor, among others. Courtney co-wrote the life story of Marvelyn Brown, called The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Positive, just released in August on HarperCollins. In addition, she has essays in many anthologies, including A 21st Century Ethical Toolbox (Oxford University Press), and Declare Yourself: Fifty American Talk About Why Voting Matters (Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins). She is the Director of Undergraduate Programs at the Op-Ed Project, a Woodhull fellow, and part of the Progressive Women’s Voices Project at the Women’s Media Center. Read more about her work at www.courtneyemartin.com.
JaneAnne Murray, principal attorney of Murray Law LLC, has over fifteen years of experience representing individual and corporate clients in complex civil, regulatory and criminal matters. Her civil practice covers a broad spectrum of transactional and counseling work, including review of all kinds of contracts, advice on employment-related matters, and guidance on corporate governance and compliance issues. She has represented whistleblowers, witnesses and targets before a variety of investigative bodies, and has also counseled individual and corporate clients with regard to internal corporate investigations. Throughout her career, Ms. Murray has demonstrated a strong commitment to public service. She was a trial lawyer with the Federal Defenders’ Office for the Eastern District of New York for five years. In 1999, Ms. Murray spent a year in Cambodia working as a provincial human rights advisor with the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. She sits on the Criminal Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Irish American Bar Association. Ms. Murray graduated with a First Class Honors law degree from University College Cork (Ireland) in 1989 and with a First Class Honors masters in law from the University of Cambridge (England) in 1990.
Deborah Siegel, PhD is the author of Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild, co-editor of the literary anthology Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo, and co-founder of the webjournal The Scholar & Feminist Online. She has written about feminism, masculinity, contemporary families, sex, and popular culture for The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The American Prospect, More, Psychology Today, The Progressive, The Mothers Movement Online, and on her blog, Girl with Pen (girlwpen.com). In addition to writing, Siegel consults with individuals and organizations seeking to expand their public platforms and bring their expertise to the public. Through one-on-one coaching, webinars, and on-site workshops, Siegel coaches thought leaders, philanthropists, advocates, and social entrepreneurs wishing to differentiate or amplify their written voice, migrate real-world activities online, and connect with a broad audience. Siegel received her doctorate in English and American Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001. Read more about her work at www.deborahsiegel.net.
Vivian Todini, Communications Consultant, has extensive experience in creating integrated communications and advocacy strategies for social justice organizations. She has worked with a range of national civil rights, women’s rights and grassroots youth organizations. Her areas of expertise include strategic communications counseling, public affairs, speech and op-ed writing, message development, media training, and website development. She is the former Director of Communications for NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (NOW LDEF). She is a former board member of YouthBASE, an HIV/AIDS education organization for at-risk youth and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. Vivian received her B.A. from William Paterson University and her M.A. from New York University.
Anna Wadia, Program Consultant, has dedicated her career to empowering low-income communities to create and improve jobs and have a voice in local and national policy. With almost 20 years experience in domestic and international philanthropy and economic development, Anna specializes in strategic program planning and evaluation, social change philanthropy, integrated technical assistance planning and delivery, and public policy research.
Anna ’s recent projects include: a mid-course assessment of an $18 million Ford Foundation initiative to improve the quality of low-wage jobs by expanding the availability of government and employer-provided work supports; an analysis of the feasibility of expanding the pool of funders supporting improvements in caregiving and human services frontline jobs (for the Ms. Foundation for Women, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson and Annie E. Casey Foundations); co-authoring a paper on strategies to improve the quality of jobs and the quality of care in the child care and home health care fields for the Ms. Foundation; an assessment of the most effective strategies Ms. Foundation grantees have used to promote the sustainability of women’s microenterprises and social purpose businesses; and an analysis of domestic and international strategies to promote women’s economic empowerment for the Women’s Funding Network.
Prior to launching her consulting business, Anna led the Ms. Foundation’s efforts to improve women’s economic security. She managed one of the country’s leading national funding collaboratives, the Collaborative Fund for Women’s Economic Development, that has directed over $10 million since 1991 to create jobs for low-income women. Anna managed a consensus-based grant selection process with over twenty funders, designed and organized a range of technical assistance opportunities for grantees, and worked with evaluators to document lessons learned. She also spearheaded the Ms. Foundation’s 2004 voter engagement initiative.
Before coming to the Ms. Foundation, Anna worked in international development, where she was a Program Officer in the Africa and Middle East Program of the Ford Foundation and worked in West Africa and Southern Africa for Catholic Relief Services.
Anna co-authored Kitchen Table Entrepreneurs: How Eleven Women Escaped Poverty and Became Their Own Bosses, published by Westview Press, as well as several reports on best practices in microenterprise development. Anna has also organized and presented at numerous conferences and training workshops for foundations and practitioner organizations.
She earned her BA from Yale University in 1984 and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
Last night I attended a dynamic panel hosted by Legal Momentum on Women’s Economic Equality: The Next Frontier in Women’s Rights. The brilliant panelists duked it out, discussing the current economic situation, its impact on women, and in what directions we should be heading.
Legal Momentum President, Irasema Garza, discussed the frustration that while historic legal victories were secured decades ago, this hasn’t translated into systematic equality for the majority of women in the U.S. Women continue to be steered away from training opportunities, segregated into low-wage jobs, and are 42% more likely to be poor than men. In the midst of this stalemate came a ray of sunshine: the election of Obama. With this historic election comes the opportunity to set new goals, reframe old debates, and shift the focus of our advocacy. In this light, Legal Momentum is calling for a Second Bill of Rights for Women. The bill must provide pathways to employment for women through job training and education; secure rights and supports to ensure women earn a living wage; ensure that public benefits provide an adequate safety net; and expand legal rights and support services for survivors of domestic violence.
- Seven states have unemployment rates over 10%
- 20,000 jobs are lost every day
- Half of the people who lost their jobs don’t get unemployment
- There are 12.5 million people out of work
- For every job opening there are four people actively seeking work
Heather pointed out that in this new economic context, traditional policy tools are no longer an option: there is no room for monetary policy to get us out. Despite the direness of the situation, Heather offers some hope. 4 out of 5 jobs lost have been men’s jobs leaving many families with an earner who receives only 78 cents on the dollar. “If ever there was a moment to push pay equity,” Heather said, “this is the moment.” Heather also said that we need to start thinking about what we want the next recovery package to look like now, so that it doesn’t catch us off guard.
Mimi Abramovitz found that the economic stimulus package put women back on the agenda in two significant ways. First, by ensuring that there were more service ready (typically women’s) jobs as well as shovel ready jobs. Second, by modernizing unemployment insurance. Mimi pointed to a recent New York Times article that proved the effectiveness of investing in social infrastructure. Furthermore, unemployment insurance is based on traditional, antiquated notions of gender roles that do not recognize the realities of women’s lives. The inclusion of social infrastructure investment and modernizing unemployment insurance are giant steps in the right direction. The U.S. will not have a sustainable economic recovery unless women are taken into account. Therefore, Mimi urged people to be vigilant in monitoring the implementation of the stimulus package.
Finally, Linda Hirshman expressed frustration with the mainstream media’s blinders regarding the impact of the economic crisis on women. She wants to find a way to wake-up the media and get them to pay attention to insightful thinkers such as Mimi and Heather. People simply aren’t talking enough about women in an economic context. Linda, however, offered some starting points. She recommended that everyone read Nancy Folbre’s weekly blog in the New York Times and check out Susan Feiner’s blog on the economy.
During the question and answer discussion, panelists frequently respectfully disagreed with each other. While Irasema argued we must double our efforts to get women into non-traditional jobs—which pay better and offer more substantial benefits packages—Heather expressed concern that we would be preparing women for jobs that are never coming back.
One thing they all agreed on: we need to get this information out there and into the public. People suggested writing to Paul Krugman insisting he include women in his analysis. Audience members also pointed to wonderful groups already doing the work of spreading news vital to women’s lives: The Women’s Media Center, Women’s eNews and She Source. Check out these sources and the next time you notice women aren’t being included in a vital debate, write in to your local newspapers!