It is an honor to step into the role of President of the National Council for Research on Women. As I travel around the country in the coming months, I look forward to meeting and speaking with many of you. Hearing from and working collaboratively with members and partners is my priority as I set out to build on the numerous accomplishments of Mariam, Mary Ellen and Linda.
I am very grateful to Linda and the Board for making this an enjoyable transition. All of us at the Council look forward to tapping Linda's expertise as she settles into her role at Harvard.
That the moment of assuming leadership of the Council coincided with news from my native country of Ireland about a young woman who was allowed to die by being denied a life-saving abortion serves as both a painful reminder of the stagnation in some areas of the women's movement and as an inspiration to speed up the process for achieving global gender rights.
Like all of you, I am driven to realize full gender rights and equity. And, I believe that the connecting power of research can steer and accelerate our collective movement toward this goal.
The common thread in my previous work on issues of poverty is the overrepresentation of women - with numbers that are often the inverse of women's leadership statistics. Indeed, while celebrating the recent achievement of women filling 20 percent of the U.S. Senate seats, I was sobered not only by the underrepresentation of women's more than 50 percent share of the nation's population, but by the knowledge that women account for almost 70 percent of people on food pantry lines. And, I wondered how it is that these disparate levels of disproportionate representation can feel simultaneously acceptable.
The beauty of research is that it goes beyond illustrating such stark realities; it also guides us to work collectively to fix problems. For example, data showing how closing the male-female employment gap would boost developed countries' GDPs by up to 13 percent underscores that building leadership across sectors is a sound strategy for increasing economic stability for all women, and nations.
I envision working collaboratively with all of you to make the Council a nexus that brings research alive - in addition to disseminating our members' research and supporting corporate and community partners in utilizing the findings, we will also work to facilitate the flow of information back from the front lines to inform new research that is topical, relevant and cutting edge.
By working in partnership, I see a day when women will not only fill as many CEO seats as their male counterparts but when leadership structures are designed to accommodate healthy work-life balance; a day when unequal pay and debates about reproductive health rights are but lessons in our daughters' history books; and a day when the centennial anniversary of our right to vote is preceded by the celebration of a woman leaning back in the chair behind the desk in the Oval Office.
Simply put, it is because I believe that research can clear the path to bring us to these and other benchmarks that I am excited to join the team at the National Council for Research on Women and to work with all of you.
Please feel free to contact me to talk or arrange a meeting, or to let me know if any of us at the Council can be of assistance.
National Council for Research on Women