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  



Inclusive Talent Management: How Business Can Thrive in an Age of Diversity with Stephen Frost

March 30, 2017

Organizations traditionally have had a clear distinction between their policies on diversity and inclusion and their talent management. The main driving force behind diversity and inclusion has been being seen to be a good employer, to be able to make claims in the annual report and to feel as though a positive contribution is being made to society. On the other hand, talent management activities have been driven by a real business need to ensure that the organization has the right people with the right skills in the right place to drive operational success. Steve Frost’s latest book, Inclusive Talent Management,  aligns talent management and diversity and inclusion, offering a fresh perspective on why the current distinction between them needs to disappear.

In this seminar, Steve uses case studies from internationally recognised brands such as Goldman Sachs, Unilever, KPMG, Hitachi, Oxfam and the NHS, to show that to achieve business objectives and gain the competitive advantage, it is imperative that organizations take an inclusive approach to talent management. He puts forward a compelling and innovative case, raising questions not only for the HR community but also to those in senior management positions, providing the practical steps, global examples and models for incorporating diversity and inclusion activities into talent management strategy. 

Stephen Frost, WAPPP AY14 Fellow; Founder and Principal, Frost Included


What Works: Gender Equality, By Design

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


Are Two Heads Always Better Than One? Stereotyping of Minority Duos in Work Groups with Denise Lewin Loyd

September 25, 2014

Is two better than one (or three)? In this seminar, Loyd explores the dynamics of groups with minority duos (such as two women in a group of men). Though many believe that it is worse to be the “only one” in a group, this work finds that men evaluate women more stereotypically when they are in a duo than when there are one or three in a group. In fact, women in duos are rated as contributing less leadership and having fewer skills. In three experimental studies, Loyd looks at how being part of a minority duo can present significant challenges for women.


Progress on Gender Diversity for Corporate Boards: Are We Running in Place? with Cathy Tinsley

August 21, 2014

Despite rhetoric supporting the advancement of women on corporate boards, the evidence of any progress in the last decade is meager (outside countries with mandated gender quotas). Archival board data (approximately 5000 U.S. publicly traded firms) from the past decade (2002-2011) shows that the biggest predictor of whether or not a female is appointed to a corporate board is if a woman just left that board. If a man leaves a board there is a corresponding negative effect (though magnitude of this effect is lower). This “gender matching heuristic” was replicated in follow up lab studies, which also showed that although respondents are selecting candidates based on gender matching, they deny using gender as an important factor. We suggest this gender matching is a subconscious heuristic process stemming from the more general status-quo bias. Speaker: Cathy Tinsley, Professor of Management, Georgetown University