Dr. Heidi Hartmann's Bio

Heidi Hartmann
Research Fellow

Headshot of Heidi Hartman

Dr. Heidi Hartmann, Distinguished Economist in Residence at the Program on Gender Analysis in Economics at American University and a Nonresident Fellow at the Urban Institute, specializes in labor economics and public policy, focusing on equity of opportunity and outcomes. She is also the President Emerita of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which she founded in 1987 to bring social science research findings to bear on policy issues that affect women of all races and economic and social backgrounds. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the African American Policy Forum and the International Association for Feminist Economics.

Among the lines of research Dr. Hartmann developed at IWPR, a series of reports on the status of women in the states and in many regional and local areas is widely used across the United States to enable advocates to make the case for policy changes that can improve women’s lives. In 2017, the Status of Black Women in the United States was released jointly with the National Domestic Workers Alliance to shed light on the conditions of Black women in every state and the District of Columbia. Dr. Hartmann coauthored the first analysis of the earnings women lose when they give birth, because they did not have the right to return to their jobs after childbirth (a right known as unpaid leave); the analysis also found that Black women lose more than white women because they rely more on earnings and they were unemployed longer when returning to work after time off for childbirth or illness. These findings were instrumental in the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993. Additionally, research by Hartmann and her colleagues shows that if women earned pay equal to similar men, poverty in the US would be reduced by half. The decrease in poverty would be larger for women of color than for white women. Dr. Hartmann has proposed that the social security system award caregiving credits to workers who take time off to care for family members; these credits would disproportionately benefit low-income mothers who raised children on their own and other low earners providing family care. Dr. Hartmann’s work has addressed additional income supports such as unemployment insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and welfare, frequently identifying the gaps in these programs that leave out and shortchange many women and men of color. Most recently, a new analysis of who would benefit most from paid leave systems proposed nationally shows that low earners and those with low family incomes would gain the most relative to their incomes.

Dr. Hartmann lectures internationally on women, economics, and public policy, frequently testifies before the U.S. Congress, and is often cited as an authority in various media outlets, such as NPR, CNN, ABC News, the NewsHour, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. She has published numerous articles in journals and books and her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.  She is a co-author of several IWPR reports, including Women’s and Men’s Employment and Unemployment in the Great Recession; Still A Man’s Labor Market: The Slowly Narrowing Gender Earnings Gap; Equal Pay for Working Families; and Social Security: Especially Vital to Women and People of Color, Men Increasingly Reliant; and, published inContemporary Economic Policy, “Estimating Benefits: Proposed National Paid Family and Medical Leave Programs.” She is the editor of the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy.

Dr. Hartmann was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her pioneering work in women and economics in 1994. She is the recipient of honorary degrees from Swarthmore College and Claremont Graduate University, the Wilbur Cross Medal for distinguished alumni of the graduate school of Yale University, and the 2012 Women of Vision Award from the National Organization for Women. She was named the 2014 Charlotte Perkins Gillman Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. In 2017 she was awarded the Career Award for the Lifetime Practice of Sociology, American American Sociological Association. She holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College and M. Phil and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University, all in economics.

Dr. Hartmann has also held research and teaching positions at the New School for Social Research, the US Commission for Civil Rights, the National Academy of Sciences, and Rutgers University, and was an adjunct faculty member at American University, George Washington University, and the University of Maryland at College Park.

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