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 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