Women and Public Policy Program Seminar Series
Unintended Consequences of Diversity Initiatives: Types, Causes, and Interventions

Unintended Consequences of Diversity Initiatives: Types, Causes, and Interventions

April 9, 2019

The purpose of diversity initiatives is to help groups that face disadvantage in society (e.g., women, racial/ethnic minorities, etc.) achieve better outcomes in organizations, but they do not necessarily work as intended. In this seminar, Lisa Leslie first presents a typology of four unintended consequence types—backfire, negative spillover, positive spillover, and false progress—as well as theory regarding the underlying mechanisms and processes that produce them. She next provides empirical examples illustrating the different unintended consequence types. She concludes by using the typological theory to derive potential interventions aimed at increasing diversity initiative effectiveness.

Lisa Leslie, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations, New York University 

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 

They, Them, and Theirs: Including Nonbinary Gender Identities in Law and Policy with Jessica Clarke

They, Them, and Theirs: Including Nonbinary Gender Identities in Law and Policy with Jessica Clarke

March 1, 2019

Nonbinary gender identities have quickly gone from obscurity to prominence in American public life, with growing acceptance of gender-neutral pronouns, such as “they, them, and theirs,” and recognition of a third-gender category by U.S. states including California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. People with nonbinary gender identities do not exclusively identify as men or women. The increased visibility of a nonbinary minority creates challenges for other rights movements, while also opening new avenues for feminist and LGBT advocacy. In this seminar, Jessica Clarke asks what law and policy would look like if they took nonbinary gender seriously. She assesses the legal interests in binary gender regulation in areas including law enforcement, employment, education, housing, and health care, and concludes these interests are not reasons to reject the broader project of nonbinary inclusion.

Jessica Clarke, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School

HKS Gender and Security Seminar Series — Transgender Military Service: What’s at Stake in the Debate?

HKS Gender and Security Seminar Series — Transgender Military Service: What’s at Stake in the Debate?

February 26, 2019

This HKS Gender and Security Seminar Series event features Aaron Belkin, Professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University and author of How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'  Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in International Security, HKS, moderates the discussion. The HKS Gender and Security Seminar Series brings leading experts from academia and the policy world, working at the intersection of gender, human rights, and security, to Harvard Kennedy School. The spring 2019 series focuses on the theme of “LGBT in War,” featuring speakers from the academic and policy worlds addressing LGBT issues in national militaries, non-state armed groups and the experiences of LGBT victims of war.

Aaron Belkin, Professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University

Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in International Security, Harvard Kennedy School

Global Colorism with Trina Jones

Global Colorism with Trina Jones

February 22, 2019

Scholars have widely discussed colorism – the differential treatment of same-race individuals based on skin color – with regard to the African-American community. They have less frequently examined colorism’s worldwide dimensions. Yet, the manufacture of products offering the prospect of lighter, brighter, whiter skin is a multi-billion dollar global industry, with Asia being a key market. Importantly, the salience accorded skin color varies depending upon geographical location and social context. In this seminar, Professor Jones will discuss: (1) the ways in which skin color operates within different racialized communities, with a specific focus on African Americans, Asians, and Asian Americans; and (2) how skin tone differences influence perceptions of individual and group identity and complicate coalition building within and across racial groups.

Trina Jones, Jerome M. Culp Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law

Why Women Mobilize: Dissecting and Dismantling India’s Political Gender Gap with Soledad Prillaman

Why Women Mobilize: Dissecting and Dismantling India’s Political Gender Gap with Soledad Prillaman

January 23, 2019

In India, there persists a striking gender gap in political participation and representation. This political gender gap persists despite decades of democracy and universal adult suffrage, rapid economic development, and large-scale policies aimed at women's political empowerment. Women's political participation is important not only on normative grounds of inclusion, but because research shows that when women do participate, politics changes. Presenting findings from her book project, Soledad Prillaman evaluates the importance of social networks for women's political empowerment and documents how women who have become active political agents  are received and resisted by traditional political networks.

Soledad Prillaman, Postdoctoral Fellow, Nuffield College, Oxford University

 

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
 
Stereotype Threat and Professional Women’s Engagement: A Global Perspective with Zoe Kinias

Stereotype Threat and Professional Women’s Engagement: A Global Perspective with Zoe Kinias

January 23, 2019

How does women's concern about confirming gender stereotypes (i.e., stereotype threat) predict their engagement in professional leadership contexts? In this seminar, Zoe Kinias shares findings from five studies with global businesswomen. Her findings show how stereotype threat predicts psychological disengagement, how an intervention can buffer against deleterious effects of stereotype threat, and stereotype threat's silver lining--that it motivates attitudes and actions in support of gender balance.

Zoe Kinias, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, INSEAD; Academic Director, Gender Initiative, INSEAD