March 23, 2017
Using data from the 1980-2010 time period, Francine Blau provides new empirical evidence on the extent of and trends in the gender wage gap, which declined considerably over this period. By 2010, conventional human capital variables taken together explained little of the gender wage gap, while gender differences in occupations and industries continued to be important. Moreover, the gender pay gap declined much more slowly at the top of the wage distribution that at the middle or the bottom and, by 2010, was noticeably higher at the top. Francine also uses the literature to identify what has been learned about the explanations for the gap, considering the role of human capital and gender roles, gender differences in occupations and industries, gender differences in psychological attributes, and labor market discrimination against women.
Francine Blau, Frances Perkins Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, ILR School, Cornell University
February 16, 2017
While gender equity is a core value in public service, women continue to be underrepresented in the top-level of leadership of public sector organizations. Existing explanations for why more women do not advance to top leadership positions consider factors, such as human and social capital, gender stereotypes and beliefs about effective leadership, familial expectations, and work-life conflict. Such studies, largely based on private-sector organizations, focus on why women do not reach top leadership positions rather than trying to understand how, or why, some women do. In this seminar, Amy Smith discusses findings from a multi-method study examining career histories of women and men who have reached the top-level of leadership in U.S. federal regulatory organizations. Her analysis identifies a typology of career paths for women and men in public service. Amy finds that while both women and men assert personal and professional qualifications to legitimize their claims to top leadership positions, they do so in different, possibly gendered, ways.
Amy E. Smith, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Public Affairs, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston
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 29, 2015
Can symbolic awards motivate individuals to contribute their ideas and knowledge to a common project? Jana Gallus presents results from a large-scale natural field experiment at Wikipedia, exploring whether a purely symbolic award scheme can be used to motivate new editors and thus mitigate Wikipedia's editor retention problem. In a new project, she seeks to understand how awards have to be designed in order to enhance their recipients' self-confidence in gender-incongruent fields and encourage high-ability individuals to contribute their ideas. Speaker: Jana Gallus, Postdoctoral Fellow, Behavioral Insights Group, Harvard Kennedy School
September 10, 2015
With gender equality increasingly a business imperative, in addition to being a human right, many leaders across the sectors wonder how we can get there. In the first WAPPP Seminar of 2015-16, Professor Bohnet discusses her forthcoming book "What Works: Gender Equality, By Design" (Harvard University Press 2016). Reviewing the impact of what we have been doing to date, including diversity and leadership trainings, networking, and mentorship/sponsorship programs, Bohnet proposes a new approach to leveling the playing field. Building on insights from Behavioral Economics, she argues that to overcome gender bias in organizations and society, we should focus on de-biasing systems—how we evaluate performance, hire, promote, structure tests, form groups—rather than on trying to de-bias people. Speaker: Iris Bohnet, Professor of Public Policy; Director, Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School