About International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
ICRW was founded in 1976 in response to concerns that international development interventions were benefiting men and women unequally – to the detriment of entire societies.At the time, women’s roles and responsibilities, their needs and concerns, and their contributions and constraints were invisible to those who determined how countries spent funds to combat poverty, illiteracy and poor health. ICRW was established to make visible the invisible.
In its early years, ICRW quantified how women contributed to the economy through diverse occupations and showed that a growing number of poor households depended on income from women’s labor. Our findings determined that the effectiveness of poverty relief programs were undermined by a misperception that households were led only by men. By not recognizing women as heads of households, programs failed to reach the most vulnerable among the poor. Even more, these poverty-alleviation programs did not capitalize on another well-documented reality – that when women control resources, their children are more likely to be educated and healthier.