Ph.D., Brandeis University
Utilizes participatory research and case-study methods to research policies affecting low-income single mothers; research focus includes access to higher education for welfare recipients and the family connections of female offenders and prisoners
Erika Kates, Ph.D., is a senior scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She has extensive experience in policy analysis and research, focusing mainly on low-income women, women of color, and immigrants. Kates has worked in two major research areas at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) -- gender and justice with a focus on women and low-income women’s access to education.
In 1996, Kates co-founded the Welfare, Education, Training Access Coalition at the Heller School of Graduate School of Policy and Management at Brandeis University, directing the project for five years. She has worked actively with state and federal policymakers, providing testimony to numerous state hearings and U.S. Congressional debates on welfare reform in 1994 and 2002. In addition, for over twenty years she has examined the intersection of welfare, workforce development, and higher education policies in her work on access to education and training for low-income women, publishing many articles, monographs and book chapters on this topic.
Prior to joining WCW, Kates was research director at the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she was responsible for conducting research on the economic inequities among women, women in prison, incidence of HIV/AIDS among women of color in Massachusetts, 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.
Kates has considerable experience with evaluation research theory and practice, having worked extensively on evaluation projects at the Harvard School of Education and Tufts University. She often utilizes a participatory approach that actively involves multiple groups of stakeholders and involves low-income women as researchers. Kates has taught courses on feminist perspectives on policy, research methods, and sociology at Smith College, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston, and Tufts University.
"Low-Income Women's Access to Higher Education? A Case Study of Welfare Recipients in Boston." Research Report. June 2007.
"Parenting from Prison: Family Relationships of Incarcerated Women in Massachusetts." Research Report. June 2008, Erika Kates, Sylvia Mignon and Paige Ransford.
"Pretrial Incarcerated Women: An Analysis of Women in Bristol County Jail, Massachusetts (July 1 2012-June 30 2013)." Policy Brief. March 2016. Erika Kates and Helen Levine.