Quotas Matter: The Impact of Gender Quota Laws on Work-Family Policies with Ana Catalano Weeks

April 6, 2017

Do gender quotas matter to policy outcomes, or are they just `window dressing'? In this seminar, Ana Catalano Weeks discusses her findings from one of the first studies of the relationship between quota laws and policy outcomes across countries. She argues that after a quota law, we should expect to see change on issues characterized by gender gaps in preferences, especially if they lie off the main left-right (class-based) dimension in politics -- like maternal employment. She finds that implementing a quota law increases public spending on child care (which encourages maternal employment) and decreases spending on family allowances (which tends to discourage it). Evidence from fieldwork in Portugal and Italy suggests that quotas work by increasing women's leverage within parties and raising the overall salience of gender equality issues with the public and male party elites.

Ana Catalano Weeks, WAPPP Fellow; College Fellow, Department of Government, Harvard University  

 

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The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations with Francine Blau

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

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Can Financial Incentives Reduce the Baby Gap? Evidence from a Reform in Maternity Leave Benefits with Anna Raute

March 16, 2017

Over the past five decades, women's educational attainment and labor market participation have increased tremendously. At the same time, many developed countries have faced decreasing birth rates and below replacement fertility levels. All OECD countries, except the US, now provide paid parental leave in order to facilitate family and career compatibility and lower the cost of childbearing. Drawing on insights from a major reform of parental leave benefits in Germany, this seminar explores whether earnings dependent parental leave benefits have a positive impact on fertility, and whether they are successful at narrowing the baby gap between high educated (high earning) and low educated (low earning) women.

Anna Raute, WAPPP Fellow; Assistant Professor in Economics, University of Mannheim

 

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Barriers to Female Leadership: Does Race Matter? with Laurie Rudman

March 9, 2017

In this seminar, Laurie Rudman discusses the importance of understanding negative reactions to female leadership in the context of the 2016 election. She presents recent findings, which suggest that White women are more likely to incur backlash compared with Black women.

Laurie Rudman, Professor, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University

 

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Linking Non-Cognitive Skills and Educational Achievement to Girls in Developing Societies: The Case of Ghana with Sally Nuamah

January 26, 2017

Recent literature on non-cognitive skills provides promising evidence on the power of community and classroom based interventions for closing achievement gaps across school quality, race, and class. Yet, much of this work has been conducted on males that attend elite institutions in the U.S. There is very little work on how these same tactics can be implemented to overcome gender barriers and improve educational achievement of girls, particularly those that attend schools in non-western settings. In this seminar, Sally Nuamah investigates the experiences of girls from underprivileged backgrounds in Ghana striving to be the first in their families to go to college. She finds that school structure - leadership, curriculum, and peer networks - mediates the effects of their socio-cultural environments and individual background through the facilitation of positive academic identities (non-cognitive skills) that promote identity building and strategy development. These positive academic identities are useful for navigating the gender specific barriers that these girls face, thereby enabling their academic achievement.

Sally Nuamah, WAPPP Fellow; Joint Postdoctoral Fellow, University Center for Human Values and Center for Study of Democratic Politics, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

 

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On Her Account: Can Strengthening Women’s Financial Control Boost Female Labor Supply? With Simone Schaner

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

 

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The History of the ‘Mommy Track’ with Elizabeth Singer

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

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Consequences of Value Threat: The Influence of Helping Women on Female Solos’ Preference for Female Candidates with Michelle Duguid

October 13, 2016

There is an assumption that placing women in organizations’ high-status groups will be instrumental in the further diversification of their group. However, research has demonstrated that women, who are often sole representatives of their gender in high-status groups (solos), do not support female candidates trying to gain membership. As a result, management may look to female incumbents who have voluntarily helped other women in the past, although these female solos may actually feel licensed to give up the opportunity to select female candidates. In this seminar, Michelle Duguid examines experimental studies demonstrating that value threat underlies female solos’ decisions in the selection of a female candidate. For example, in situations where women experience less value threat, such as when they are majority group members or when they feel valued by their group members, they are more likely to favor a female candidate.

Michelle Duguid, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis

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The Right to Rule and the Rights of Women in Victorian Britain with Arianne Chernock

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

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Two Decades of Gender-Role Attitude Change in Europe with Mary Brinton

February 29, 2016

This seminar explores the assumption of many cross-national studies that gender-role attitudes fall along a single continuum between traditional and egalitarian. Brinton analyzes over-time data from 18 European countries and identifies trajectories of attitudinal change. Brinton demonstrates that while traditional gender-role attitudes have precipitously and uniformly declined, European nations are not converging towards one dominant egalitarian model but instead are diverging across three distinct varieties of egalitarianism.
Speaker: Mary C. Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology, Harvard University
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