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A Guide to Race, Gender, and Family Research on the Internet

Prepared by Emily Martin and Lauren Cowan, ACLU Women’s Rights ProjectGeneral Information

When beginning your search for information, a good starting point is the Administration of Children and Families under the Department of Health and Human Services. This agency is responsible for federal programs that affect the well-being of children and families. On their website, you can begin sifting through various government policies and federal programs designed to improve the welfare of these groups.

To gain a basic understanding of current child care issues, visit Policy Almanac

It offers a brief summary of child care’s growing demand, quality, and affordability concerns. After that, visit the National Child Care Information Center site to view some statistics that will help put the issues in perspective. The site contains state profiles that provide demographic information about children, families, and child care in each state, as well as contact information for different state agencies involved in child care. Here, there is a site table of contents so that you can see all of the available possibilities.

In August 2002, the US Commission on Civil Rights released a statement on the effects of welfare policies on people of color. It gives a general overview of the problem, statistics demonstrating the disparate affects on women of color, and recommendations for remedying current welfare legislation. This site, located at, will help a researcher to get an overall sense of the debates surrounding welfare, and how those controversies will affect women of color, low-income women, and their families. Other sites to visit that will broaden your perspective on welfare issues are and

One of the gravest problems affecting women, children, and families today is poverty. Approximately 16% of children and 9% of families in the United States live in poverty. This issue deserves public attention, and organizations such as the National Center on Poverty Law and the National Center for Children in Poverty are dedicated to raising public awareness and providing services to those in need. The Poverty Institute also provides publications, a Bill-Tracking service to monitor Congressional members’ votes on poverty bills, and links to government and advocacy group resources.

Next, you might want to look into the health issues that affect women, children, and families. The National Women’s Health Information Center created a website that focuses solely on the health of minority women. The information is broken down by ethnicity, and then by the illness under question. Along the same lines, the National Women’s Health Information Center also compiled a Women of Color Health Data Book. The table of contents is listed by chapter, which makes it an easy site to parse through at a quick pace. The data book first explores the factors affecting women’s health, and then the current state of the health of women from different minority groups.

Finally, for both current events and conferences plus pedagogic research, visit The Research Cluster for the Study of Women of Color in Collaboration and Conflict . This website lists programs, festivals, publications, and more.

Think Tanks and Research Institutions

There are a number of think tanks and research institutions that stimulate research and debate on public policy issues important to women and their families. The National Research Center for Women and Families breaks down its research into three areas: women’s health, children and teens, and work, family and economic security. Under these headings, you will find summaries of recent research with links to the original published articles. If you are a graduate student, already have an advanced degree, or work in a field concerned with the well being of women and children, you can apply to enter the Research Network of this think tank which grants access to further information.

Another research institution that is dedicated to improving public policy decisions that affects women is the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The site posts publications written about issues ranging from changing family and work structures to women’s political participation, and also has a news report search engine to help you locate news articles on pertinent topics.

University Centers

The National Center for Children and Families housed in Columbia University, conducts interdisciplinary research to improve the social conditions of American families. Over 50 academics are engaged in research with The Center for the Study of Women, located at UCLA. Their website , explains the sort of research underway by individual academic.

Policies Affecting Women, Children, and Families
Child Care Policy

Visit the US. Census Bureau’s Statistical Brief to see data demonstrating the effects on low-income families or visit The Children’s Aid Foundation to get an overall sense of policy issues impacting children.

Domestic Violence Policy

Former President Clinton’s Violence Against Women Act of 2000, which was reauthorized in 2005, provides $3.3 billion for programs benefiting battered women, legal services for women suffering from domestic violence, and a variety of other VAWA programs. The full text of the act can be viewed here or a summary is provided here.

Despite the positive effects of this legislation, domestic violence remains a problem for women in the United States. Often, women are forced into homelessness due to eviction policies, or feel pressured into marrying their abusers given the economic incentives of marriage stipulated in recent welfare legislation. To learn more about the struggle to eliminate domestic violence, visit The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence or the Stop Family Violence Organization.

Welfare Policy

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research provides a full analysis of the results of recent welfare reform laws on low-income families, with a focus on female-single parent run households. The results demonstrate that, while TANF has increased work rates, it has not lifted former welfare recipients out of poverty. Another study, conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, focuses on the struggle of low-income families to survive, and provides data on the effects of differing family structures of low income-families. Other sites to visit include The Finance Project and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Employment Policy

If you are looking for information on employment discrimination, you may want to begin your search with wage discrepancies. This chart, displays the existing wage gap between men and women, and how that is further confounded by race. In 1999, Congress passed the Fair Pay Act to eliminate discrimination in wages based on sex, race, and national origin. While we cannot be sure if this narrowed the gap yet, the initial chart suggests that there is a long way to go. For a more basic summary of employment discrimination, visit Legal Match or The Equal Rights Advocates.

Demographics and Statistics

Data on Child Poverty Rates (2003)

Additional Data on Child Poverty Rates

Statistical Brief on Family Structure, Children, and Income (not race)

Comparative Data on Family Structure and Race

Fact Sheet on Child Welfare

Fact Sheet on Child Care

Summary and Table on Minority Low Birth Weight

Earnings Analysis By Gender from the 2000 Census

Youth Violence Statistics Summary

Domestic Violence Statistics

Advocacy Organizations

The following organizations share the same goal: improving the lives of women and children and strengthening their families. At their websites, you can research specific topics concerning women and children or learn how to lend your own support to their cause.

Organizations That Support Women

Closing the Health Gap

Center for Law and Social Policy

Center for Women Policy Studies

National Council for Research on Women

Third Wave Foundation

Feminist Majority Foundation Online

Making Face, Making Soul

National Network to End Domestic Violence


Legal Momentum

Equality Now

Equal Rights Advocates

Office On Violence Against Women

Organizations That Support Children and Families

Family Support America

National Network for Child Care

National Black Child Development Institute

National Partnership for Women and Families

Action Alliance for Children

American Family Rights Association

Child Welfare League of America

National Children’s Advocacy Center

The Child and Family Policy Center

International Organizations

These organizations are either based in foreign countries or work in collaboration with other countries. From their international efforts, the following groups gain a broader, more complete perspective and often incorporate a human rights agenda into their mission.

The Association of Women in Development

Mujeres in Red

Global Fund for Women

Amnesty International for Women


International Center for Research on Women

Blackgirl International

Childwatch International

Child Rights Information Network

Alliance for Children and Families

Defense for Children International

PRRAC Research Guide, 7/1/2004, updated 6-26-06 and 9/17/2010



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