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Erika Kates, Ph.D., Joins Wellesley Centers for Women as Senior Research Scientist

March 1, 2008

WELLESLEY, MA—Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) is proud to announce that Erika Kates, Ph.D., has joined the Centers as a new Senior Research Scientist where she will serve as co-director of the Gender and Justice Project and conduct action-focused research to define policy and program issues for both public and private entities affecting women as victims, as offenders, and as women struggling to achieve and maintain economic stability.

Kates has extensive experience in policy analysis and research, focusing mainly on low-income women, women of color, and immigrants. Her most recent research projects concern the family connections of women in prison in Massachusetts. In her previous role as research director at the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, at the University of Massachusetts Boston, she was responsible for conducting research on the economic inequities among women, women in prison, incidence of HIV/AIDS among women of color in MA, homeless women and children, working conditions of nursing and home care staff, mentoring and leadership, welfare recipients’ access to education and training, and women elected to public office.

Through this project, Kates and co-director Monica Driggers, J.D., are also assisting stakeholders in shaping concrete strategies for change that will make a difference in the lives of vulnerable groups of women, particularly cultural, ethnic and racial minorities, and the institutions in which they are involved.

Kates received her doctorate from the Heller School at Brandeis University, conducting research on the ways in which women in state prisons in the Northeast used legal and quasi-legal strategies to address their numerous legal issues. Her work on female offenders began when she was hired as the first criminal justice planner in Massachusetts, became a member of the state’s first Women and Criminal Justice organization, and directed a unique pre-trial diversion program for women arraigned in the Boston courts. She has taught courses on feminist perspectives on policy; research methods, and sociology at Smith College, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston, and Tufts University.

Since 1974, the Wellesley Centers for Women has been a driving force—both behind the scenes and in the spotlight—promoting positive change for women, children, and families. Work at WCW addresses three major areas: the status of women and girls and the advancement of their human rights both in the United States and around the globe; the education, care, and development of children and youth; and the emotional well-being of families and individuals. Issues of diversity and equity are central across all the work as are the experiences and perspectives of women from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.


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