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Diana Pearce

Senior Lecturer
PhD, University of Michigan
MSW, University of Michigan

Diana M. Pearce is on the UW School of Social Work faculty, and is director of the Center for Women’s Welfare. Recognized for coining the phrase the feminization of poverty, she has written and spoken widely on women’s poverty and economic inequality, including testimony before the U.S. Congress and the President’s Working Group on Welfare Reform. Her areas of expertise focus on how low-wage and part-time employment, unemployment insurance, homelessness and welfare reform impact women.

Dr. Pearce conceived and developed the Self-Sufficiency Standard, a measure of income adequacy now used in 37 states. She also founded the Women and Poverty Project at Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), and has helped found and lead several coalitions, including the Women, Work and Welfare Coalition and the Women and Job Training Coalition.


Professional Interests:

  • Poverty, particularly that of women and single mothers
  • Poverty measurement
  • Welfare reform
  • Domestic violence
  • Central Asian women's organizations and economic development and democracy
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Homelessness

Research Projects: