The National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) was established as a result of a historic gathering in 1981 of leaders from women’s research centers across the United States to strategize about how to ensure a thriving existence for years to come. This meeting, organized by Marjorie Lightman, then-director of the Institute for Research in History, brought together 28 university-based centers, policy organizations and educational coalitions.
Participants determined the need for an alliance of their organizations that would produce collaborative, interdisciplinary and dynamic work on behalf of women and girls.
To head NCRW, the founders appointed Mariam K. Chamberlain, who had been a key supporter of the burgeoning women’s research movement during her tenure as a Higher Education program officer at the Ford Foundation. While at Ford, Chamberlain apportioned much of a $9-million fund to support many of the organizations that attended the conference.
In 1982, with Chamberlain as president, NCRW was formally established, with generous financial support from Sara Engelhardt of Carnegie Corporation and the Ford Foundation. Under Chamberlain’s leadership, NCRW sought to increase and promote research on women, build alliances for synergistic work and advance research into policy applications.
Founding board members included William Chafe, Jane Roberts Chapman, Florence Howe, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Elaine Marks, Cynthia Secor and Margaret Wilkerson.
Today, NCRW has evolved into a flourishing network of thought leaders and change agents working to ensure more fully informed debates, policies and practices, thereby contributing to a more inclusive and equitable world for women and girls, their families and their communities.
As President of the National Council for Research on Women, Áine Duggan is focused on leveraging independent research to accelerate advancements for women and girls. Áine is working to deepen strategic partnerships throughout the Council’s network of 200 members and partners to build resources for research, connect research professionals with business and community leaders and fuel collective models for achieving change. Áine’s expertise spans two decades and countries, and a diverse range of organization size, mission and function. Prior to joining the Council, she served as the Vice President for Research, Policy and Education at the Food Bank For New York City, where she developed the organization’s research wing and propelled the conversation about food poverty onto national and international media and policy stages, including authoring a series of reports on hunger that highlighted disproportionate levels of poverty among women, children, seniors and veterans. Prior to this, Áine’s work at the Coalition for the Homeless included initiatives that shed light on the issue of homelessness among women and children, and working with corporate partners to strengthen a job-training program for women. Áine has also developed collaborations within the LGBTQ commmunity to address poverty among LGBTQ individuals and families. In addition, Áine has regularly contributed to reports and served as a speaker at government hearings and academic, corporate and community events and forums, and has taught in the Graduate Social Research program at Hunter College. A native of Ireland, where she served on the Board of Cáirde, a national HIV/AIDS services organization, Áine began her journey in the nonprofit sector as a volunteer with the Irish Refugee Council in the early 1990s. She graduated with an MA from University College Dublin before taking up permanent residence in the United States. Áine currently lives with her partner in Brooklyn, NY.
Associate Director for Communications
As Associate Director for Communications, Erica Acosta is responsible for overseeing and directing the internal and external communications efforts of NCRW, including the implementation of NCRW’s communications plan and ensuring the integration of communications strategies in program and development efforts. Prior to joining the External Affairs team at NCRW, Erica was the Director of Communications for a New York City based non-profit. Erica received a B.A. in Political Science from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Executive Assistant to the President
Dinah Asante is Executive Assistant to the President. She has an M.S. in Urban Policy from the New School and studied at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada and the State University of New York, Old Westbury from which she received a B.S. in Marketing. She conducted research for the Women’s HIV Collaborative of New York and for the Supportive Housing Network of New York. Dinah has private sector experience in the U.K. and U.S. and has held administrative positions for companies in Accra, London, and Ottawa. She also taught French in Ghana.
Vice President for Programs
Member Center Relations Liaison
As Member Center Relations Liaison, Kadija Ferryman coordinates the activities pertaining to NCRW’s over 100 Member Centers. At the Council she builds relationships with existing members, conducts outreach with potential centers, connects Member Centers to research opportunities within the Council and beyond, and works on special projects such as the annual Member Center Awards and Annual Conference. She worked for six years as a public policy researcher at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. where she conducted in-depth research on public housing transformation in cities across the country. She is a graduate of Yale University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Anthropology at the New School where she completed her Master’s degree.
Allie Fernandez supports the development team, helping to plan and implement all fundraising activities. In addition, she is a member of the Steering Committee of the NCRW Emerging Leaders Network, a professional development group engaging mid-level women working in both the non-profit and corporate arenas. Previously, Allie has worked as the Volunteer and Docent Coordinator at the Claremont Museum of Art in Southern California and as Assistant Supervisor of the Annual Fund Giving program at the University of La Verne. Allie holds a Master of Arts degree in Applied Women’s Studies from Claremont Graduate University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and Philosophy from the University of La Verne.
Vice President of Operations
As Vice President for Operations, Andrea oversees all aspects of finance, personnel relations, IT, office procedures and logistics for NCRW. Andrea has 20 years of non-profit administrative and program management experience for local and national service organizations. Prior to joining the National Council for Research on Women, Andrea worked in the Homeless Services department of the American Red Cross of Greater New York and at the Food and Hunger Hotline.
Vice President for External Relations
As the Vice President for External Relations, Debbie leads the National Council for Research on Women efforts in all development, marketing and communications initiatives. She joined the organization in January 2013 with over 12 years’ experience as a fundraiser for national and international nonprofit organizations including Food Bank For New York City, Partnership for Drug-Free America and Dress for Success Worldwide. Before making a career move into the nonprofit sector, Debbie held management positions at several advertising agencies, overseeing the strategic development and execution of national branding campaigns, acquisition programs, digital initiatives as well as new business development.
PAST NCRW PRESIDENTS
Mary Ellen Capek
Former Executive Director
Mariam K. Chamberlain
Founding President and Resident Scholar
Elizabeth Horton, Senior Fellow, served as Director of Finance and Administration and as Deputy Director at the National Council for Research on Women from 1997 to 2006. During her tenure, she oversaw the development and growth of the Council’s financial infrastructure, participated in the expansion of its programming and organizational reach, and oversaw the development of some programming, including Missing: Information About Women’s Linves, Taxes are a Women’s Issue and Gains and Gaps. With an MA in secondary education, Liz also has extensive experience in educational issues. She served as a classroom teacher and Assistant to the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Manhattan College. She was the Board chair of the Ethical Culture Fieldston Schools (an independent pre-K-12 school system in NYC), of the Literacy Assistance Center (an organization devoted to professional development and institutional capacity-building for adult and out-of-school youth education), and of Border Crossers (a start-up nonprofit that addresses the de facto segregation in elementary schools). She currently serves as a Board member of the Literacy Assistance Center and Border Crossers.