Three of the leading gender-focused and policy research centers in the United States brought together an outstanding and diverse group of guests and speakers from the spheres of policymaking, research, business, labor, philanthropy, and advocacy in June for the policy research forum in Washington, D.C., “From Persistence to Power: Facts, Truth, & Equity for Women,” featuring keynote addresses by Maggie Hassan, U.S. Senator representing New Hampshire, and Charlotte Burrows, Commissioner, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) in Washington, D.C., the Women’s Research and Resource Center (WRRC) at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, and the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) at Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA, assembled dynamic panels that considered gender while focusing on the intersectionality of race, religion, and immigration in civic engagement; child care and leave polices; women’s health, wellbeing, violence, and safety; and the status of Black women in the United States. “Every person has their gender, race, ethnicity, and a host of other social identities that combine to inform their experience in the world, while all systems of oppression and privilege are also interlocking,” said Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D., Director of WRRC and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies, Spelman College. “Being constantly aware of and attendant to the ways each of these work together to define the experience of individuals and groups is an essential intersectional perspective.” Participants and attendees left this day-long program with a better understanding of the complex issues underlying the social and political climate, empowered with research and resources to strengthen their fight for equity and influence.

“Leadership for social action is powered up by evidence that comes from high-quality research and theoretical innovation,” said Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., the Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of WCW. “Finding the right partners and working together to make sure key decision makers and practitioners have access to good research about women and girls helps us to amplify our impact.”

The Status of Black Women in the United States, the most comprehensive report on Black women in every state, produced by IWPR in collaboration with the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), was released and discussed during a special afternoon panel moderated by Alicia Garza, Special Projects Director for the NDWA and co-creator of Black Lives Matter.

“Data has the power to provide solid evidence about how women are faring and what policies could lead to meaningful progress in women’s lives,” said Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., President of IWPR. “This conference allowed us all to share important research, explore how different groups of women are impacted differently by public policies, and inspire action to address inequality.”

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