History of Re:Gender


The National Council for Research on Women (NCRW), now Re:Gender, 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 presidentMary Ellen Capek as Executive Secretary, and Marjorie Lightman as Treasurer, NCRW was formally established, with generous financial support from Sara Engelhardt of Carnegie Corporation and the Ford Foundation.  Under Chamberlain, Capek, and Lightman'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 ChapmanBetty DooleyCynthia Fuchs EpsteinFlorence HoweLaura LeinElaine MarksMargaret McKenna, Cynthia SecorMyra Strober and Margaret Wilkerson.    

The organization 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.


Re:Gender Today

In 2013, the organization engaged in an intensive strategic planning process and the new vision, to apply a broad gender lens to issues that relate to our identities, economic well-being and environments, was implemented. In addition, an expanded network and new programmatic tools were launched.

As the final phase of the planning process, the Board selected a new organizational name. The National Council for Research on Women became:

The organization began exploring a name change in response to feedback received during our 2013 Presidential Listening Tour, our strategic planning environmental scan and our desire to reflect our new mission and vision. The name exploration process included interviews with a sampling of approximately 60 stakeholders to solicit input and feedback on name options. Our logo and tagline reflect much of our strategic direction, which is illustrated in this video.

If you have not already, we encourage you to join our network. Re:Gender looks forward to working with you to advance gender equity.