Mariam K. Chamberlain, PhD
National Council for Research on Women
The National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) is deeply saddened by the loss of our Founding President and friend, Dr. Mariam K. Chamberlain. A true visionary, her contributions to the feminist and social justice movements can be seen and will be felt across the country and the world by generations of women.
Mariam was a key force in shaping and launching the women’s studies and academic research movements in the US and worldwide through her work as a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation in the 1960s and 70s. She provided the strategic vision as well as funding and support to launch university and college based centers focused on women’s issues as well as free standing policy institutes. Mariam helped build a network of dedicated and accomplished leaders committed to advancing women, especially in academia, and helped develop institutional support for their work.
Over the years, Mariam expanded the scope of women’s studies to include international women and a global perspective. Many of the centers that make up the current network of the Council – as well as other organizations like the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession of the American Economic Association (CSWEP)– owe their current strength at least in part to Mariam’s work.
In 1981, Mariam founded the National Council for Research on Women to provide further support to the movement she helped create. Under her leadership, NCRW has increased and promoted research on women, built alliances for synergistic work, and advanced research into policy applications. Her vision has evolved into a dynamic 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.
Mariam received an A.B. in Economics from Radcliffe College and her PhD in Economics from Harvard University in 1950.
She is the recipient of two honorary degrees: Doctor of Humanities from the University of Arizona and Doctor of Humane Letters from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She was the editor of the ground-breaking books Women in Academe: Progress and Prospects and Women of Color and the Multicultural Curriculum, as well as the author of numerous articles on women’s roles in higher education and other sectors.
She served on the boards of a number of women’s organizations including The Feminist Press, the Women’s Interart Center, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the Network of East-West Women, the International Association of Feminist Economists, and the Tribune Center, as well as the advisory council of Gender Action’s Advisory Council.
Mariam remained active until the end of her life and was at the center of a large national and international network of
scholars, advocates, and activists, who looked to her as a leader and a role model. She took special interest in new
generations of women and the directions in which they were taking feminist thought and action. While the NCRW has been her home for the past three decades, her community was much wider. Mariam was a remarkable woman who certainly left her mark on the world and touched many lives.
We are truly grateful to have known her and learned from her. Thank you, Mariam.
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