Women and Public Policy Program Seminar Series
Do Sexual Harassment Programs Make Workplaces More Hospitable to Women?

Do Sexual Harassment Programs Make Workplaces More Hospitable to Women?

April 29, 2019

Do corporate sexual harassment programs reduce harassment?  If they do, new programs should boost the share of women in management because harassment causes women to quit. Sexual harassment grievance procedures incite retaliation, according to surveys, and our analyses show that they are followed by reductions in women managers. Sexual harassment training for managers, which treats managers as victims’ allies and gives them tools to intervene, are followed by increases in women managers. Training for employees, which treats trainees as suspects, can backfire. In this seminar, Frank Dobbin discusses how programs work better in workplaces with more women managers, who are less likely than men to respond negatively to harassment complaints and training. Politicians and managers should be using social-scientific evidence to design harassment programs.

Frank Dobbin, Harvard University, Department of Sociology

Babies, Work, or Both? Highly-Educated Women’s Employment and Fertility in East Asia with Mary Brinton

Babies, Work, or Both? Highly-Educated Women’s Employment and Fertility in East Asia with Mary Brinton

March 22, 2019

Only two OECD countries continue to exhibit an M-shaped curve of female labor force participation across the life cycle: Japan and South Korea. In this seminar, Mary Brinton analyzes how labor market structure and workplace norms influence this pattern. Her analysis draws on data from over 160 in-depth interviews with highly-educated Japanese and Korean men and women of childbearing age, and demonstrates how working conditions exert a powerful influence on gendered patterns of behavior at home and in the labor market.

Mary Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology, Harvard University

What Works: Designing an Inclusive Workplace with Iris Bohnet

What Works: Designing an Inclusive Workplace with Iris Bohnet

March 15, 2019

Gender equality is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back, and de-biasing people’s minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Diversity training programs have had limited success, and individual effort alone often invites backlash. Behavioral design offers a new solution. By de-biasing organizations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts. Presenting research-based solutions, Iris Bohnet hands us the tools we need to move the needle in classrooms and boardrooms, in hiring and promotion, benefiting businesses, governments, and the lives of millions.

Iris Bohnet, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Academic Dean, Harvard Kennedy School; Co-Director, WAPPP 

Does Group Farming Empower Rural Women? India’s Experience with Bina Agarwal

Does Group Farming Empower Rural Women? India’s Experience with Bina Agarwal

January 23, 2019

Few programs for economically empowering rural women focus primarily on farming—the one occupation in which women have the most experience in largely agrarian economies. Thus, two Indian initiatives–in Telangana and Kerala– stand out. These initiatives are unique because they seek to improve women’s livelihoods within agriculture through an innovative institutional form, namely group farming. In this seminar, Bina Agarwal examines whether pooling land, labor, and capital and cultivating jointly, enables women farmers to overcome resource constraints and outperform individual male farmers in the same regions.

Bina Agarwal, Professor of Development Economics and Environment, University of Manchester; Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professor, University of Cambridge

The Mommy Effect: Do Women Anticipate the Employment Effects of Motherhood? with Jessica Pan

The Mommy Effect: Do Women Anticipate the Employment Effects of Motherhood? with Jessica Pan

January 23, 2019
 
After decades of convergence, the gender gap in employment outcomes has recently plateaued in many wealthy countries, despite the fact that women have increased their investment in human capital over this period. In this seminar, Jessica Pan analyzes these two trends using an event-study framework with data from the U.S. and U.K. Her findings provide evidence that women in modern cohorts underestimate the impact of motherhood on their future contributions to the labor market. Upon becoming parents, women adopt more negative views toward female employment and report that parenthood is harder than they expected. Jessica also examines whether young women’s expectations about the future labor supply are correct when they make their key educational decisions. She finds that female high school seniors are increasingly and substantially overestimating the likelihood they will be in the labor market in their thirties, which is a sharp reversal from previous cohorts of women who substantially underestimated their future labor supply. Jessica concludes the seminar by specifying a model of women’s choice of educational investment to reconcile the expectations of motherhood across generations.
 
Jessica Pan, WAPPP Research Fellow; Associate Professor of Economics, National University of Singapore
 
Implicit Stereotypes: Evidence from Teachers’ Gender Bias with Michela Carlana

Implicit Stereotypes: Evidence from Teachers’ Gender Bias with Michela Carlana

January 23, 2019

In this seminar, Michela Carlana analyzes the impact of teachers' gender stereotypes on student achievement. She collects a unique dataset including information on the Gender-Science Implicit Association Test (IAT) of teachers and students' outcomes, such as performance in standardized test scores, track choice, and self-confidence. Michela finds that teachers’ stereotypes induce girls to underperform in math and self-select into less demanding high-schools, following the track recommendation of their teachers. These effects are at least partially driven by a lower self-confidence on own math ability of girls exposed to gender biased teachers.

Michela Carlana, WAPPP Faculty Affiliate; Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Workshop: Strategic Negotiating Moves that Work at Work with Deborah Kolb

Workshop: Strategic Negotiating Moves that Work at Work with Deborah Kolb

August 7, 2018

We negotiate all the time at work even when we do not recognize we are doing so. We negotiate for the resources we need to do our jobs, for roles and opportunities we aspire to, and for schedules that work with our lives. Negotiation outcomes depend on how well we position ourselves and use what leverage we have to get reluctant negotiators to the table. It requires that we take the lead to ‘anchor’ around creative solutions that acknowledge our individual constraints. In addition, we need to be prepared to deal with resistance to our ideas that might challenge the status quo. In this seminar, Deborah Kolb uses case studies and your individual experiences to help you make negotiation work at work. Her book, Negotiating at Work, was named by Time.com as a best negotiation book of 2015.

Deborah Kolb, Professor Emeritus, School of Management, Simmons College

Betting the House: How Assets Influence Marriage Selection, Marriage Stability, and Child Investments with Corinne Low

Betting the House: How Assets Influence Marriage Selection, Marriage Stability, and Child Investments with Corinne Low

November 16, 2017

In the past 50 years, marital rates have declined significantly, especially among lower socioeconomic groups. Meanwhile increase in the ease of divorce and improvements in contracting outside of marriage (e.g.,child support laws) have made marriage increasingly similar to cohabitation, except for in the treatment of assets upon divorce. Corinne Low, together with coauthor Jeanne Lafortune, present a case that as the commitment offered by marriage declined, this division of assets offered extra "insurance" to women in high asset unions. This in turn encouraged investment in child human capital, even at the cost of one's own earnings, and allowed marriage to retain its value amongst asset holders particularly homeowners. Meanwhile, the value of marriage eroded for other groups, creating a wealth gap in marriage rates that may underly the apparent income, race, and education gap. 

 

Corinne Low, Assistant Professor of Business Economics and Public Poliy, The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania.

New Ways of Thinking About Gender and Leadership Effectiveness with Aparna Joshi

New Ways of Thinking About Gender and Leadership Effectiveness with Aparna Joshi

October 24, 2017

The challenges and barriers that women face in both entering into and performing effectively in leadership roles have been widely documented across many research domains.  In this seminar Aparna Joshi takes a look at this issue from the perspective of both women and men in leadership roles. First, she unpacks conditions under which women leaders can be effective change agents in highly male-dominated settings. Based on a sixteen- year longitudinal data set of women legislators in the US Congress she examines how the content of bills can prime the legitimacy of women in leader roles and predict their success in passing bills over the course of their tenures.  Second, shifting the focus on men in leadership roles, she also problematizes the “think manager think male” paradigm that has been applied extensively to understand barriers faced by women, from the perspective of men. Based on a sample of Fortune 500 male CEOs she examines the consequences for firm performance and CEO pay among men who subscribe (or not) to masculine stereotypes.  Through these two studies she aims at highlighting new ways of thinking about gender and leadership effectiveness.

 

Aparna Joshi, Arnold Family Professor of Management, Smeal College of Management, Penn State University 

Detecting and Reducing Discrimination with Ben Waber

Detecting and Reducing Discrimination with Ben Waber

June 14, 2017

Discover powerful hidden social "levers" and networks within your company. Then, use that knowledge to make slight "tweaks" that dramatically improve both business performance and employee fulfillment! Drawing on insights from his book, People Analytics, MIT Media Lab innovator Ben Waber shows how sensors and analytics can give you an unprecedented understanding of how your people work and collaborate, and actionable insights for building a more effective, productive, and positive organization.

Ben Waber, President and CEO, Humanyze; Visiting Scientist, MIT Media Lab

 
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