On this page: Making Equal Rights Real: Taking Effective Action to Overcome Tough Global Challenges | Protecting Childhood in the AIDS Pandemic: Finding Solutions that Work | Lessons in Educational Equality: Successful Approaches to Intractable Problems around the World | Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder | Raising the Global Floor | Forgotten Families | Trade and Health | Healthier Societies | Forthcoming Books

Making Equal Rights Real: Taking Effective Action to Overcome Tough Global Challenges

“While laws exist in many nations to guarantee equal rights across gender, race and ethnicity, they are often not implemented. Around the world, discrimination, biases, and avoidable barriers affect children’s chances to access education and health care, and adults’ chances to attain jobs, earn equal pay, and hold leadership roles in countries. Moreover, in some countries, it is legal to markedly discriminate based on characteristics ranging from religion to sexual orientation to disability.

Making Equal Rights Real (Cambridge University Press, 2012) brings together leaders from around the world who have been working effectively to increase equal economic and social rights, ranging from rights in the workplace to property ownership and education. The contributors tell the detailed stories of effective approaches to implementing equal rights for racial and ethnic minorities in North America, women in Africa, children in the Middle East and sexual minorities in Asia. They also describe approaches taken around the world to increase equal rights for people living in poverty, for those living with disabilities, and for all people seeking the information they need to hold their government accountable for implementing everyone’s rights.

The book addresses what can be done by policymakers, civil society, non-governmental organizations, lawyers seeking to implement equal rights legislation, advocates working in the community, as well as those developing constitutions and negotiating international agreements.”

Protecting Childhood in the AIDS Pandemic: Finding Solutions that Work

“Each year, over a quarter of a million children die of AIDS. Another two million children currently live with HIV, most in sub-Saharan Africa. Millions more are affected when AIDS enters their families or their communities. Orphans are perhaps the most visible: 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS; 12 million of them live in sub-Saharan Africa.

The increasing burden of care due to HIV/AIDS falls mainly on extended family: first they care for the sick and dying relatives, and then they take responsibility for the children left behind. Today, the extended family cares for over 90% of double orphans. Adults who take on these immense caregiving burdens have less time for their own children, fewer financial resources, and greater difficulties securing food and shelter. Thus, children who have parents providing care to sick relatives or who share scarce resources with foster children may also experience disadvantage. In communities severely affected by AIDS, traditional safety nets are often eroded by cumulative mortality: teachers are absent from school because of their own illness or that of family members, and basic health facilities can be overwhelmed by AIDS care needs – all of which leave children increasingly vulnerable. The impact is most severe in environments where government- and state-level support is weakest – where universal education, health care and social welfare are either partially available or not available at all.

Protecting Childhood in the AIDS Pandemic (Oxford University Press, 2012) brings together lessons from experts around the world on what has worked, and what would need to be done to transform the outcomes of children of all ages whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Specifically, the book examines which public policies and programs work best to meet the full range of children’s needs, from medical care to social support and from infancy to adolescence.”

Lessons in Educational Equality: Successful Approaches to Intractable Problems around the World

“All children and youth, regardless of the situations into which they were born, deserve the opportunity to improve their life chances by acquiring the knowledge and skills that will help them thrive in the future. As the world lags far behind the Millennium Development and Education for All goals, swift, targeted and effective action is needed to improve both access and quality in education.

Bringing together evidence-based recommendations and in-depth case studies of successful programs from around the world, this edited volume details effective educational equity initiatives and assesses how these models could be improved, expanded and adapted to diverse contexts. Lessons in Educational Equality (Oxford University Press, 2012) is uniquely comprehensive in its scope and its focus on how best to increase educational equality from early childhood to the tertiary level, and in contexts that span the geographic and political spectrum.

The chapters in this volume offer concrete solutions to barriers based on gender, income, disability, race, ethnicity and language. Chapters on gender address equity for female students in tertiary science and engineering programs, primary and secondary education for socially excluded girls, and equitable early childhood education for boys and girls. Socioeconomic equity is examined in chapters on promoting equal opportunities in secondary school across social class, quality primary education for the poor, and early childhood strategies for closing the achievement gap. Chapters on disability detail strategies for making inclusive education a part of Education for All and for increasing access and achievement in tertiary education. Approaches to racial, ethnic and linguistic equity are presented in chapters on bridging the racial gap in higher education, improving primary level access and outcomes through home-language learning, and culturally-informed early childhood education.”

Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder: Creating Value By Investing in your Workforce

book"Most companies understand that good working conditions, competitive salaries, and strong benefits packages attract high-quality professionals. Yet at the same time, many of these competitive companies are slashing their low-wage employees’ benefits, wages, and other workforce expenses—sending a stark message that these employees are more expendable.

In Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder (Harvard Business Press, May 12, 2010), Jody Heymann tells the stories of companies around the world that are linking successes at the top of the corporate ladder to those on all other rungs. Drawing from thousands of interviews with employees at companies—from the front line to the C-suite—Heymann shows how businesses have profited more by improving working conditions. These companies have been profitable for their owners and shareholders not only while being profitable for all their employees but because they have been profitable for their employees at every level.

Employees determine 90 percent of most businesses’ profitability. High performers positively shape customers’ perceptions of businesses, driving satisfaction and loyalty. This includes the lower-skilled employees in call centers, repair services, and product assembly—employees who are far from expendable.

Featuring cases from companies around the globe, including Novo Nordisk, Costco Wholesale, American Apparel, Xerox, Banco de Credito, Autoliv, and many others, Profit at the Bottom of the Ladder shows what works—from stock options for bakers to flexibility for factory workers to career tracks in call centers."


Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth That We Can’t Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone

Raising the Global Floor

"New statistics on rapidly rising job loss appear daily in the media. Less reported is that working conditions in many countries around the world are deteriorating as rapidly as jobs are being lost—and affecting ten times as many people. Working conditions significantly impact our health, the amount of time we can spend with family, our options during momentous life events (such as the birth of a child or death of a parent), and whether we keep or lose a job when the unexpected occurs. Inexplicably, the global community has universally accepted the argument that any country that puts in place a floor of decent working conditions will suffer higher unemployment and will be less competitive. So pervasive is this contention that it is seen as fact, even without evidence to support it.

Raising the Global Floor presents results from the first ever study of working conditions from all nations around the world. The findings are dramatic. In fact, there is no relationship between unemployment rates and providing basic protections in a series of critical areas. The data also indicate that good working conditions can make countries more competitive. In short, there is simply no reason that any American should be without paid sick leave, paid annual leave, paid parental leave, the right to a day of rest, and many other basic protections that would improve the quality of their lives."


Forgotten Families: Ending the Growing Crisis Confronting Children and Working Parents in the Global Economy

Cover of the Jody Heymann book Forgotten Families.

"In the last half-century, radical changes have rippled through the workplace and the home, from Boston to Bombay — changes that have dramatically affected how men and women can care for their families. In the face of rapid globalization, these changes affect us all, and we can no longer confine ourselves to addressing working and social conditions within our own borders without simultaneously addressing them on a global scale. This is, however, a daunting task, and few have attempted to bridge either the gaps between families in different countries or the rifts between families, employers, and governments around the world. This is the goal of Forgotten Families: Ending the Growing Crisis Confronting Children and Working Parents in the Global Economy."



Trade and Health: Seeking Common Ground

Trade and Health: Seeking Common Ground

Seeking improved health and increased income have long been common goals. Those who make the case that free trade will help everyone argue that the growth from increased trade will be shared and will improve people's lives. But they have not answered the fundamental question of how to formulate trade policy to simultaneously achieve growth and benefit health. Trade and Health answers this question by exploring the entire array of avenues through which trade affects health, and examining a number of case studies on how best to achieve policies that integrate health objectives. The contributors represent the full range of stakeholders in the trade-health debate - medical professionals, civil society representatives, academics from a range of disciplines, and negotiators and policy-makers at the national and global levels. Contributors include Bijit Bora (WTO), Rupa Chanda (IIMB), Diana Chigas (Tufts), Carlos Correa (U of Buenos Aires), Eric Dagenais (Industry Canada), Alison Earle (Harvard), David P. Fidler (Indiana), Anabel González (WTO), Ronald Labonte (Ottawa), Cha-aim Pachnee (MOPH-Thailand), Pedro Roffe (UNCTAD-ICTSD), Nancy Ross (McGill), David Sanders (Western Cape), Ted Schrecker (Ottawa), Anna Shea (McGill), Elisabeth Tuerk (UNCTAD), David Vivas-Eugui (ICTSD), Johanna von Braun (ICTSD), and Suwit Wibulpolprasert (MOPH-Thailand).


Healthier Societies: From Analysis to Action

Healthier Societies

Extensive research has shown that social factors are as important as biological ones in determining health, and their impact is enormous in both adults and children. The challenge of changing public policies and programs remains. Healthier Societies: From Analysis to Action addresses the fundamental questions which will lead the way toward countries investing seriously in improving social conditions, as a way of improving population health. The book is divided into three parts. Section one addresses to what extent health is determined by biological factors, by social factors, and more fundamentally, by the interaction between the two. Section two examines four case studies that demonstrate the ways in which social change can dramatically affect adults' health, as well as launch children's lives onto healthy trajectories. This section analyzes the cases of nutrition, working conditions, social inequalities, and geographic disparities. The third section of the book takes a serious look at what would be involved in translating the research findings described throughout the book into action.

Recently Published

Heymann SJ and Cassola A, eds. Making Equal Rights Real: Taking Effective Action to Overcome Tough Global Challenges. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.


Heymann SJ, Sherr L, and Kidman R, eds. Protecting Childhood in the AIDS Pandemic: Finding Solutions that Work. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.


Heymann SJ and Cassola A, eds. Lessons in Educational Equality: Successful Approaches to Intractable Problems around the World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Forthcoming Books

Heymann SJ with McNeill K. Changing Children’s Chances: How Country Action Changes Children’s Opportunities. Boston: Harvard University Press. Forthcoming.