Advisor Highlight: Annie Harper
Fighting Inequity through Access to Information
Advisory Board member Annie Harper sought a change in New Haven after completing her doctoral research in Pakistan.
“I recognized that there were serious economic and racial disparities in the city, and I wanted to be a part of trying to change things for the better,” Harper says. “So, I gave up my plans of being a career academic as a South Asianist, and decided to start again, in a sense, to try to understand and be more of a part of New Haven.”
Harper thought about her interests and found alignment with The Community Fund for Women and Girls’ mission and activities in the community.
“My interest really is in equity across the board,” Harper explains. “We need greater social justice for all sorts of marginalized groups. It just so happens that there is a strong intersection between other marginalized categories and gender. For example, women of color are particularly vulnerable, women with disabilities are particularly marginalized and so on.”
Harper works as an associate research scientist in psychiatry at Yale University, researching the connections between poverty and mental illness. She focuses specifically on how financial insecurity and lack of access to affordable and equitable financial services causes distress and hinders recovery.
While Harper works with women and men equally, she acknowledges that women are often unduly financially burdened by family responsibilities, and they may suffer more intensely when forced by financial insecurity into dangerous and exploitative relationships. Harper says she is motivated by the women of New Haven “who fight against the odds to live joyful lives and raise strong, happy children despite the huge barriers of racial and economic injustice that they are up against.”