December 1, 2016
Across the world, the increasing use of digital payments for government to person transactions for social programs has provided an entry point for the world’s poor into the formal financial sector. This phenomenon begs the question: how can governments best leverage this opportunity to enable economic empowerment for women? This seminar explores research that uses a randomized controlled trial to assess how financial inclusion coupled with targeted benefit payments impact women's labor force participation and economic welfare in India.
Simone Schaner, Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Dartmouth College
November 10, 2016
As women began to fill the ranks of management in the 1980s, the impact of motherhood on an individual’s career trajectory and the corporate balance sheet became a source of debate among feminists and business leaders. In this seminar, Elizabeth Singer More examines the “mommy track” argument that some feminists, most prominently Felice Schwartz of Catalyst, claimed would save businesses money by working to retain white-collar women. Schwartz hoped this argument would persuade businesses to provide benefits, such as flex-time and paid maternity leave, which they had resisted providing for years. But there were two significant costs to the “mommy track” argument. The first was the possibility that mothers who did not want to be on a decelerated career track would be involuntarily sidelined. The second was that by basing a claim for treating mothers as valued employees on the company’s profit interest alone, feminists risked losing the standing to demand rights and benefits that did not directly benefit the bottom line.
Elizabeth Singer More, WAPPP Fellow; Lecturer on History and Literature; Lecturer on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University
October 20, 2016
Women are dramatically underrepresented in legislative bodies
(supply), and most scholars agree that the greatest limiting factor is
the lack of female candidates. However, voters’ subconscious biases
(demand) may also play a role, particularly among conservatives. In this
seminar, Jessica Preece discusses her findings from a field experiment
conducted in partnership with a state Republican Party. She finds that
party leaders’ efforts to increase both supply and demand (especially
both together) result in a greater number of women elected as delegates
to the statewide nominating convention. Her field experiment shows that
simple interventions from party leaders can influence the behavior of
candidates and voters, which ultimately leads to a substantial increase
in women’s electoral success.
Jessica Robinson Preece, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University; Co-director, Gender and Civic Engagement Lab
October 6, 2016
Historians have long suspected that Queen Victoria’s gender played a role in the rise of constitutional (e.g. ceremonial) monarchy in 19th-century Britain. But what was the nature of this role? In this seminar, Arianne Chernock takes on this question through an archival-based approach by exploring Victoria’s centrality to the early women’s rights movement in Britain – especially in inspiring women to demand the right to vote. Chernock argues that recognizing Victoria’s role in the women’s rights movement allows us to see the shift towards a more restricted Crown as an attempt to contain radical thinking about women, agency, and power to create a more democratic and transparent British state.
Speaker: Arianne Chernock, Associate Professor, Department of History, Boston University
September 23, 2016
In this seminar, Gabriela Ramos shares how the target to reduce the gender gap in labor force participation in G20 countries was agreed. Furthermore, she discusses how the OECD contributed by providing evidence on the business case for gender equality, highlighting the support from major countries and leaders. Ramos references the value of the OECD Gender Strategy to achieve this outcome, as it has been building strong evidence and international comparisons on the three domains it covers: education, employment, and entrepreneurship. She also covers the main policies to reduce the gaps in these domains. The main objective is that the OECD's Gender Strategy promotes family-friendly policies and greater well-being for both women and men. Finally, Ramos explains how to ensure effective implementation by monitoring progress in the implementation of the OECD gender recommendation and the G20 target.
Speaker: Gabriela Ramos, OECD Special Counsellor to the Secretary-General, Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20
September 22, 2016
This seminar explores how gender is enacted by founders of social ventures. In particular, Lakshmi Ramarajan looks at how female social venture founders conform to cultural beliefs about gender-appropriate activities and how this conformity may be reinforced or disrupted by characteristics of the environment in which they are embedded. She argues that the trend towards the use of commercial activities in social ventures is inconsistent with cultural beliefs about gender for female founders of social ventures. Using data on 590 new U.S.-based social ventures during 2007-2008, Ramarajan examined the conditions under which commercial activities are more or less likely to be used by female founders. Results show that female founders of social ventures are less likely to use commercial activities than male founders and that the social venture founders’ local community context moderates this effect in two ways: the prevalence of women-run businesses in the social venture founder`s local community weakens the enactment of gender, while the influence of gender on the use of commercial activities is stronger when the intended beneficiaries of the social ventures are local.
Speaker: Lakshmi Ramarajan, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Organizational Behavior Unit, Harvard Business School
September 15, 2016
In this seminar, the recent efforts by the Department of Education’s
Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to enforce Title IX policy are considered
in the broader context of unsuccessful attempts to establish protection
of sexual violence as a civil right in the United States. OCR
enforcement has stimulated both praise for its bold determination to
address an epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses and criticism
for its capacious exercise of administrative power. Bumiller reframes
this debate by considering how these regulatory measures are a new
chapter in a varied and complex story about the effectiveness of public
enforcement of civil rights statutes through the combination of
administrative and judicial action. Her work questions whether over
reliance on public agency enforcement potentially weakens the
participatory and democratic effects of private action. She also
examines how current federal regulations regarding Title IX continue a
pattern that over emphasizes criminal justice priorities.
Speaker: Kristin Bumiller, George Daniel Olds Professor in Economic and Social Institutions; Chair of Political Science, Amherst College
September 8, 2016
Rape is common during wartime, but even within the context of the same war, some armed groups perpetrate rape on a massive scale while others never do. In this seminar, Dara Kay Cohen discusses her new book, Rape during Civil War, and examines variation in the severity and perpetrators of rape using an original dataset of reported rape during all major civil wars from 1980 to 2012. Cohen also conducted extensive fieldwork, including interviews with perpetrators of wartime rape, in Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and El Salvador. Combining evidence from these interviews with statistical analysis of the quantitative data, Cohen argues that armed groups that recruit their fighters through the random abduction of strangers use rape—and especially gang rape—to create bonds of loyalty and trust between soldiers. Results from the book lay the groundwork for the systematic analysis of an understudied form of civilian abuse, and will be useful to policymakers seeking to understand and to mitigate the horrors of wartime rape.
Speaker Dara Kay Cohen, WAPPP Faculty Affiliate; Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
April 7, 2016
leave policies have known effects on short-term child outcomes. However, little
is known about the long-run impact of such leaves on women’s health as they
age. This seminar examines whether maternity leave policies have an effect on
women's mental health in older age. Data for women age 50 years and above from
countries in the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) are
linked to data on maternity leave legislation from 1960 onwards. A
difference-in-differences approach that exploits changes over time within
countries in the duration and compensation of maternity leave benefits is
linked to the year women were giving birth to their first child at age 16 to
25. Late-life depressive symptom scores of mothers who were in employment in
the period around the birth of their first child were compared to depression
scores of mothers who were not in employment in the period surrounding the
birth of a first child and, therefore, did not benefit directly from maternity
leave benefits. The findings suggest that a more generous maternity leave
during the birth of a first child is associated with reduced depression
symptoms in late life. This seminar explores how policies experienced in
midlife may have long-run consequences for women’s health and wellbeing.
Lisa Berkman, Thomas
D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology; Director, Harvard
Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard. T.H. Chan School of