April 29, 2019
Organizing for the Equal Rights Amendment the first time round, in 1972-82, tapped the strengths and experienced the weaknesses of social movements in general. The strengths of social movements derive from their “hydra-headed” qualities: the activists bubble up from many different arenas, giving the movement great flexibility, adaptability, diversity, and intelligence. The weaknesses derive from their relative absence of selective incentives, so that the motivation for activism is primarily ideological commitment. That commitment in turn, creates a “dynamic of deafness,” in which activists are unlikely to listen and learn from their opposition. In this seminar, Jane Mansbridge discusses how the current organizing effort has learned in different ways from the past.
Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, Harvard Kennedy School
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
March 23, 2018
In this seminar, Sabrina Karim focuses on the role women have played in peacekeeping, arguing that increasing the number of women is important, but so are gender norms within peacekeeping missions. She demonstrates that in order to make peacekeeping missions more effective at protecting civilians in war torn countries, particular attention to gender is needed.
Sabrina Karim, Assistant Professor; Caplan Faculty Fellow, Government Department, Cornell University
March 23, 2018
Millennials are often publically criticized for being apathetic about the American political process and their lack of interest in political careers. But what do millennials themselves have to say about the prospect of holding political office? Are they as uninterested in political issues and the future of the American political system as the media suggests? What do we learn by looking at both gender and racial groups’ political ambition comparatively?
In this seminar, Shauna Shames goes directly to the source and draws from extensive research, including over 50 interviews and an extensive survey (n=760), with graduate students in elite institutions that have historically been a direct link for their graduates into state or federal elected office: Harvard Law, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Boston’s Suffolk University Law School. Shauna, herself a young graduate of Harvard University, suggests that millennials are not uninterested; rather, they don’t believe that a career in politics is the best way to create change. Millennials view the system as corrupt or inefficient and are particularly skeptical about the fundraising, frenzied media attention, and loss of privacy that have become staples of the American electoral process. They are clear about their desire to make a difference in the world but feel that the “broken” political system is not the best way to do so—a belief held particularly by millennial women and women of color.
Shauna Shames, Assistant Professor, Political Science Department, Rutgers University-Camden
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
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
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 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
April 9, 2015
How does exposure during childhood to non-traditional gender role models—working mothers and female parliamentarians—shape men’s and women’s outcomes at work and at home? Across 25 countries, women, but not men, exposed to non-traditional gender role models during childhood are more likely to be employed, more likely to hold supervisory responsibility if employed, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers were home full time. At home, exposure to non-traditional models increases the time men contribute to housework and caring for family members and decreases the time women spend on housework. This research exposes the power of non-traditional gender role models within families and countries as critical factors for reducing gender inequality in labor markets and households around the globe. SPEAKER: Kathleen L. McGinn, Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration; Chair, Doctoral Program, Harvard Business School