Mimi Abramovitz, the Bertha Capen Reynolds Professor of Social Policy, teaches in the Social Welfare Doctoral Program at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and the Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College. She publishes widely on issues related to women, poverty, human rights, the U. S. welfare state and the impact public policy on non-profit human service agencies–all through the lens of race, class and gender. Dr. Abramovitz is the author of more than 80 articles and five books including Regulating the Lives: Social Welfare Policy From Colonial Time to the Present (Routledge, 3rd. ed. 2018). She co-authored Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy (Oxford, 2014) and is currently writing a book entitled Gender Obligations: The History of Black and White Low-Income Women’s Activism Since 1900. Trained at Columbia University School of Social Work in community organizing (MSW) and social policy (DSW), Mimi is the founder of the Welfare Rights Initiative at Hunter College and currently co-leads the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign also known as Voting is Social Work. A scholar and an activist, Mimi has been honored with 15 awards, including the Columbia School of Social Work Hall of Fame and most recently Council on Social Work Education’s Significant Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

Selected Publications

  • Regulating The Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy From Colonial Times to the Present

    Widely praised as an outstanding contribution to social welfare and feminist scholarship, Regulating the Lives of Women (1988, 1996) was one of the first books to apply a race and gender lens to the U.S. welfare state. The first two editions successfully exposed how myths and stereotypes built into welfare state rules and regulations define women as "deserving" or "undeserving" of aid depending on their race, class, gender, and marital status. Based on considerable new research, the preface to this third edition explains the rise of Neoliberal policies in the mid-1970s, the strategies deployed since then to dismantle the welfare state, and the impact of this sea change on women and the welfare state after 1996. Published upon the twentieth anniversary of "welfare reform," Regulating the Lives of Women offers a timely reminder that public policy continues to punish poor women, especially single mothers-of-color for departing from prescribed wife and mother roles. The book will appeal to undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students of social work, sociology, history, public policy, political science, and women, gender, and black studies – as well as today’s researchers and activists.

 

Recent News

  • Columbia University School of Social Work, Doctorate in Social Work
  • Columbia University School of Social Work, Masters in Social Work
  • University of Michigan, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

  • 2019 Leadership Award, Building an Inclusive Economy in NYC, Labor Market Information Service, Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center
  • 2018 Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award CSWE
  • 2016 Policy Practice in Field Education, Planning Grant. NY Community Trust
  • 2016 Fellow, American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare
  • 2015 Top Social Work Leader Award, NASW. New York City Chapter
  • 2015 Social Work Pioneer for Contributions and Leadership, NASW Foundation
  • 2013 Honored as a Mentor, Women’s Council, Council on Social Work Education
  • 2013 Humanitarian & Leadership Award for Contributions to Social Work, Women, & Human Rights Association for International Conferences
  • 2012 University Committee on Research, Professional Staff Congress, Settlement House Advantage.
  • 2012 Activist Scholar Award, Division of Sociology and Social Welfare, Society for the Study of Social Problems, Society for the Study of Social Problems
  • 2010 Honored, Cofounder of the Welfare Rights Initiative, 15h Anniversary Celebration, Hunter College, CUNY
  • 2009 University Committee on Research, Professional Staff Congress-CUNY Research Award Where Are They NOW? Welfare Rights Initiative Leaders.
  • 2009 Honored as a Mentor, Women’s Council, Council on Social Work Education
  • 2007 Appointed to Bertha Capen Reynolds Endowed Chair at Hunter School of Social Work
  • 2007 Inducted into Columbia University School of Social Work Alumni Hall of Fame
  • 2006 Faculty of the Year Award, NYS Social Work Educators Association
  • 2004 Distinguished Recent Contributions to Social Work Education, Council on SW Education
  • 2004 Feminist Scholarship Award, presented in honor of Mimi Abramovitz, Women’s Council, CSWE
  • 2000 United Way of NYC, Impact of Welfare Reform on Social Service Agencies

  • Women
  • Poverty
  • Human rights
  • Human service workforce
  • U.S. Welfare State

  • BOOKS
    • Regulating The Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy From Colonial Times to the Present, Routledge, London and New York. 3rd Edition. 2018
    • The Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy, NY: Oxford University Press (and Joel Blau). 4th Revised Edition. 2014
    • Taxes Are A Women’s Issue: Reframing the Debate. NY. The Feminist Press (with Sandra Morgan) 2006
    • Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare in the United States, NY: Monthly Review Press, 2nd Revised Edition. 2000
    • Regulating The Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy From Colonial Times to the Present, Boston: South End Press, 2nd Revised Edition 1996
    • Regulating The Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy From Colonial Times to the Present, Boston: South End Press. 1988
  • ARTICLES: ACADEMIC JOURNAL
    • Logic of Social Work Versus the Logic Social Works Social Work and Society (Online Journal) Special Supplement. Proceedings of the Conference Ambivalences of the Rising Welfare Service StateHopes and Hazards of Fundamentally Realigning the Architecture of Welfare. 2019
    • Case to Cause: Back to the Future, Journal of Social Work Education (w. Margaret Sherraden) v. 52 ( S special Issue ) S89 to S98. 2016
    • Privatization in the Human Services Implications for Direct Practice, Clinical Social Work Journal. June 43(3):283- 293 (with Jennifer Zelnick). 2015
    • Moving Toward Racial Equity: The Undoing Racism Workshop and Organizational Change. Journal of Race and Social Problem (with Lisa Blitz) 7(2): 97-110. 2015
    • Indicator Analysis for Unpacking Poverty in New York City, Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Association ( with Jochen Albrecht), 26(1): 5-12. 2014
    • Community Loss: A New Social Indicator (with Jochen Albrecht) Social Service Review. 57(1) (December) 677-774. 2013
    • Feminization of Austerity, New Labor Forum, Winter 21(1): 32-41. 2012
    • Double Jeopardy: The Impact of Neoliberalism on Care Workers In The United States and South Africa (with Jennifer Zelnick) International Journal of Health Services, 40(1):97-11. 2010
    • “Wall St Takes Welfare It Begrudges Women” Affilia: A Journal for Women in Social Work, (May) (reprinted from Women’ eNews.) 2009
    • Poverty and Economic Injustice, in Social Work Today (March/April) pp 27-28. 2007
    • Welfare Reform in the United States: Race, Class, and Gender Matters. Critical Social Policy 26(2): 336-364. Reprinted in Leon-Guerrero Anna & Kristine M Zentgraf, Readings in Social Problems Pine Forge Press, 2009, pp 198-212. 2006
    • The Largely Untold Story of Welfare Reform & the Human Services, Social Work, April 50 (2).175-186. 2005
    • Women and the Welfare State, in J. Herrick & Paul Stewart (eds.) Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History. Sage Publishers (December): 447-450. 2005
    • Saving Capitalism From Itself: Whither The Welfare State? New England Journal of Public Policy. (F/W: 21-32.) 2004
    • Fiscal Welfare, Robert L Barker (ed). The Social Work Dictionary.5th ed. Washington, D.C. NASW Press. 2003
    • Everyone Is Still On Welfare: Role of Redistribution in Social Policy, Social Work,46(4) (Oct):. 297-308. 2001
    • Learning From The History of Poor and Working Class Women’s Activism. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (Special Issue: Reforming Welfare, Redefining Poverty (577 September), pp 118-130. 2001
    • Trabjo Social Y Transformation Social, Cuadernos Andaluces de Bienstar Social, April (IV) (# 6 &7) (April 2000) (Spanish translation of Social Work & Social Reform) 2000
    • Social Work and Social Reform: An Arena of Struggle, Social Work, 43(6) (November) 512-527. 1998
    • Women: Get Ready For The Long Haul, Affilia: A Journal of Women and Social Work (12 (3) Fall. 1996
    • Challenging The Myths of Welfare Reform From A Women’s Perspective Social Justice 21(1). 1994
    • Should All Social Work Students Be Educated for Social Change? Journal of Social Work Education. 29(1) (Winter,1993): 6-11. 1993
    • Poor Women In A Bind: Social Reproduction Without Social Supports, Affilia: A Journal of Women and Social Work (7(2) (Summer): 23-44. 1992
    • The Reagan Legacy: Undoing the Class, Race and Gender Accords ,Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare/19 (1) (March).91-110. 1992
    • Beleaguered American Family: Social Policy in Disarray, Families & Society. 72(8 )(October) 483-96. 1991
    • Putting An End To Double-Speak About Race, Gender and Poverty: An Annotated Glossary For Social Workers. Social Work 36(5) (Sept) 380-386. 1991
    • Unemployment: A Women’s View: Journal of Internat’l & ComparativeSocial Welfare 6( Spring/Fall). 1990
  • CHAPTERS IN BOOKS
    • Abramovitz, M. & Zelnick, J.R. Privatization in the Human Services: Impact on the Front Lines and the Ground Floor in M. Fineman, U Andersson, and M. Mattsson (Eds) Privatization, Vulnerability, and Social Responsibility ; London: Routledge, pp.182-200. 2017
    • Abramovitz, M.. When Does Race Matter? Examining Antiracist Organizational Change, in Carten, Pender Greene, and Siskind (eds.) Transforming Health and Human Service Systems, Oxford University, Press (with Liza Blitz) , pp. 67-87. 2016
    • Economic Crises, Neoliberalism, and the U.S. Welfare State: Trends, Outcomes and Political Struggle. Global Social Work Education: Crossing Borders and Blurring Boundaries, Carolyn Noble, Helle Strauss & Brian Littlechild (eds.) Sydney University Press., pp.225-241. 2014
    • Which Side Are We On? In Chris Jones and Tony Novak (eds), Critical and Radical Debates in Social Work. Policy Press, Bristol/UK/Chicago/US, pp.27-34. 2014
    • Abramovitz, Mimi. Theorizing the Neo Liberal Welfare State. The Sage Handbook of Social Work in Mel Grey, James Midgley & Stephen Webb (eds.) Los Angeles Sage Publications Ltd, Chap 2, pp. 33- 47. 2012
    • Abramovitz, Mimi., The Welfare State: A Battleground for Human Rights in K Libal & S. Hertel (eds) Human Rights in the United States: Beyond Exceptionalism. “New York/Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Press, pp 46-67. 2011
    • Abramovitz, Mimi. Women., Social Reproduction and the Neo-Liberal Assault on the US Welfare State in Chunn, Dorothy; Gavigan, Shelley P, The Legal Tender of Gender: Law, Welfare, and the Regulation of Women’s Poverty (Onati International Series in Law & Society) Oxford, England: Hart Publishing February, pp.15-46. 2010
    • Abramovitz, Mimi and Robert Abramovitz, Perspectives of Community Providers on Research Partnerships. in Children’s Mental Health Research The Power of Partnerships Kimberly Eaton Hoagwood, Peter S. Jensen, Mary McKay and Serene Olin (ed).Oxford University Press, Dec. 2010
    • Women in A Bind: The Decline of Marriage, Markets and the State, in A. Joseph & C.A Broussard (eds.). Family Poverty in Diverse Contexts. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, pp.26-47. 2009
    • Political Ideology & Social Welfare, Encyclopedia of Social Work, National Association of Social Workers, Washington. DC. 2008
    • Has Welfare Reform Worked? No in Controversial Issues in Social Policy, ( 3rd ed). Howard Karger, James Midgely, Peter Kindle & C Brene Brown (eds), Allyn & Bacon/Longman pp.205-216. 2006
    • Welfare Reform is a Sham” originally published in The Nation (1988). included as document in Gwendolyn Mink & Rickie Solinger (eds.), Welfare: A Documentary History of US Policy & Politics, NYU Press. 2003
    • Learning from the History of Poor and Working Class Women’s Activism, in Albeda &.Withorn (eds). Lost Ground: Welfare Reform, Poverty and Beyond, Cambridge, MA: South End Press, pp.163-178. 2002
    • Still Under Attack: Women and Welfare Reform, in N. Holstrom (ed). The Socialist Feminist Project; A Contemporary Reader in Theory and Politics, NY: Monthly Review Press, pp..216-228. 2002
    • Toward a Framework for Understanding Activism Among Poor and Working Class Women in 20th Century America. In G. Mink (ed), Whose Welfare?. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp. 214-248. 1999
    • Playing By The Rules: Welfare Reform and the New Authoritarian State, (with Ann Withorn) in A. Reed Jr. (ed) Without Justice For All. Boulder, Co: Westview Press, pp.151-174. 1999
    • Fighting Back: From The Legislature to the Academy to the Street, in L. Kushnick & J Jennings, A New Introduction To Poverty: The Role of Race, Power and Politics, New York: NYU Press, pp. 217-241.
    • Unmarried Mothers Are Unfairly Blamed For Poverty, in L. K. Egendorf (ed) Poverty: Opposing Views. San Diego, Ca: Greenhaven Press, pp.72-79. 1999
    • Women and Poverty, in Wilma Mankiller, Gwendolyn Mink, Maryusa Navarro Barbara Smith, Gloria Steinem, (eds) Reader’s Companion to U.S Women’s History, Boston: Houghton Mifflin pp.464-468. 1998
    • Temporary Assistance To Needy Families, Encyclopedia of Social Work19th ed, 1997 Update, Washington, D.C.: NASW Press. pp,311-330. 1997
    • Rediscovering The Lives of Women: Feminist Critique of the Social Science/Social Work Connection in D. Tucker et al (Eds) The Integration of Social Work and Social Science Westport, Ct. Praeger, 218-28. 1997
    • Dependent on the Kindness of Strangers: The Issues Behind Welfare Reform, in Diane Dujon and Ann Withorn (eds), For Crying Out Loud, Boston South End Press (2nd ed), pp.287-294. 1997
    • 1997 Welfare Reform Should Not Punish Women for Having Children, in D. Bemder & B Loene (eds), Welfare: Opposing Views, San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, pp.157-163. 1997
    • Aid To Families With Dependent Children, Encyclopedia of Social Work, 19th Ed. Wash D.C.: NASW Press, pp183-192. 1995
    • From Tenement Class to Dangerous Class To Underclass: Blaming Women For Social Problems in Nan Van Den Bergh, (ed) Feminist Practice in the 21stCentury, NASW Press, pp. 211-232: Reprinted in Critical Social Welfare Issues: Tools For Social Work and Health Care Professionals by Arthur Katz, Abraham Lurie, Carlos Vidal (eds.) New York, Haworth Press, 1997 pp. 95-110. 1995

  • 2018 The Logic of the Market vs the Logic of Social Work: Social Services in the Neo-Liberal Era. Social Work and Solidarity: In Search of New Paradigms, Univ of Ljubljana, Ljubljans, Slovenia 8/20/18-8/22/18
  • 2018 Privatization in the Human Services in NYC: Understanding Managerialism, Ambivalences of the Rising Welfare State University of Bielefeld ,& University of Geneva, Hannover, Germany, May 28- May 30 2018
  • 2015 The Impact of Privatization on the Human Service Workforce in US and Switzerland. 3rd International Congress of the Swiss Association of Social Work Zurich, Switzerland . Sept 3 -4
  • 2012 Gendered Obligations: The History of Activism Among Black and White Low-Income Women in the US Since 1900, at Changing Capitalism Changing Feminism Conference, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Israel, 11/ 26
  • 2007 Welfare Reform: Race, Class & Gender Matter! 25th Annual Theory Workshop, Faculty of Pedagogy, Center of Social Work University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany, Nov 3
  • 2006 The New Underclass ,Why Social Work? Perspectives on Public Welfare. University of Bielefeld, Germany, 10/12- 14.
  • 2006 The Largely Untold Story of Welfare Reform in the Human Services, School of Social Work and School of Disability Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, March 22
  • 2006 The Largely Untold Story of Welfare Reform in the Human Services, School of Social Work and School of Disability Studies, York University School of Social Work, Toronto, CA March 23
  • 2006 Social Work and Social Change York University School of Social Work, York University School of Social Work, Toronto CA March 24
  • 2006 Race, Class and Gender and Welfare Reform in the United States, McMaster, SSW, March 24
  • 2005 Gender Matters: Welfare Reform in the United States, Fall 2005 Conference, British Columbia Association of Social Workers, Vancouver, Canada, Nov.12
  • 2005 Women, Neoliberalism and the Crisis of Care, Fall 2005 Conference, British Columbia Association of Social Workers, Vancouver, Canada, November 11
  • 2005 Welfare Reform in the US: Gender Matters. Huddersfield, UK April 7.
  • 2000 Hebrew University. Paul Baerwald School of Social Work Conference on Women and Welfare State Jerusalem, June 4-5,

  • International/National Organizations
    • Founding Member, International Network on Unemployment & Social Work, 1985-89
    • Founding Editor Journal of Progressive Human Services, 1988-1993 (superceded)Catalyst 1978-1988.
    • Founding Member, Social Welfare Action Alliance (formerly Bertha Capen Reynolds Society,1985-Present.
  • Editorial Boards
    • Journal of Policy Practice and Research April 2019-
    • Social Service Review, December 2014 to present
    • Journal of Social Work Education, April 2006- 2010
    • Journal of Poverty Issues, 1995 to present.
    • Journal of Progressive Human Services, 1993-present
    • Affilia: The Journal of Women and Social Work, 1990-1996. 2014- 2016
    • Journal of Applied Social Science, 1989-1996
    • Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, March 1983-present.
    • Journal of Women and Aging, 1993-1995
  • Organizational Board Membership
    • Co-Leader, National Social Work Mobilization Campaign (Voting is social work) (2017-present)
    • Associate Editor, NASW Encyclopedia of Marco Social Work, Oxford University Press (March 2018-present)
    • Commissioner, Special Commission  to Advance Macro Practice (2015-present)
    • Editorial Board, Journal of Policy Practice and Research (February 2019-present)
    • Board, Influencing Social Policy (ISP) (macro social work organization) (2016-present)
    • Board National Economic and Social Rights  Initiative (2003-2020)

Mimi Abramovitz