Research that Empowers

The Women’s Fund is the region’s expert on the status of women’s economic self-sufficiency.

Employer Toolkit Text

The Employer Toolkit is a first-of-its-kind resource developed by the Women’s Fund. It addresses barriers of success for regional employers and their employees. This project was implemented to combat one of the largest barriers to employment for women, workplace policies with unintended consequences for lower-wage workers. Many employment benefit strategies were created by and for middle- and upper-class employees, and therefore, overlook important perspectives and experiences of lower-wage employees producing a cycle of vacant positions, turnover and absenteeism. This can be extremely disruptive and expensive for employers.

The Toolkit seeks to help employers understand their lower-wage employee’s circumstances and provides actionable policy changes to help recruit, retain and engage their workforce.


Cliff Effect

“I keep working harder and harder, but I never feel like I am getting ahead.” This sentiment is understood by too many single mothers. Despite working hard and trying to provide for their family, they can’t reach self-sufficiency. The cause of this is often a situation called “Cliff Effect”.

Cliff Effect refers to a threshold where a family or individual becomes ineligible for public benefits due to a raise or promotion, causing their total gross resources to decline. Imagine you’re offered a dollar per hour raise, but if you accept, your child care costs will rise by thousands of dollars, leaving you financially worse off than before your raise. Would you take it?

Cliff Effect creates a disincentive for individuals to transition off public benefits and negates the primary objective of these programs— to help lift people out of poverty. The Women’s Fund has studied this significantly and are advocating for a remedy with our elected officials.



Pay Equity Text

The gender wage gap is prevalent across the United States and the world. In 2017, we commissioned a study by the UC Economics Center to examine pay disparities in our region.

The report concludes that women across the MSA make on average $0.80 for every $1.00 earned by men, adding up to an average loss of $327,953 in wages over the course of a career. The wage gap is even greater for persons of color.

It will take multiple interventions to remedy this gap. In 2019, City of Cincinnati passed one such intervention. The Cincinnati Salary History Ban will help prevent historic gender and racial disparities from following an employee to their next job. Learn more about our support for this legislation.


Our Research Studies

  • 2019 - 2028 Jobs Outlook Report for Cincinnati MSA
  • 2019 - Survey of Legislation to Ameliorate the Cliff Effect
  • 2019 - Building Pathways to Economic Self-Sufficiency
  • 2018 - Intimate Partner Violence in the Workplace
  • 2018 - Gender Diversity of Boards and Commissions
  • 2018 - The Status of the Minimum Wage in the United States
  • 2017 - Applying a Gender Lens to the Wage Gap
  • 2017 - Unintended Consequences - Changing Workplace Policies to Support Low-Wage Employees
  • 2016 - Teachers’ Wages: Critical to Quality Preschool
  • 2016 - Outlining the Disincentives and Opportunity Costs for Working Mothers
  • 2016 - Cliff Effect Qualitative Insights
  • 2014 - 2020 Jobs and Gender Outlook
  • 2012 - Women, Poverty and Cliffs
  • 2012 - Poverty Indicator
  • 2010 - Social Bonds Among Cincinnati-Area Girls
  • 2009 - Developing Girls’ & Women’s Leadership
  • 2007 - Women in the C-Suite
  • 2005 - A Study on the Status of Women and Girls in Greater Cincinnati