Education policy research looking at gender imbalances in technical fields often relies on observational data or small N experimental studies. Taking a different approach, we present the results of one of the first and largest randomized controlled trials on the topic. Using the 2014 Political Methodology Annual Meeting as our context, half of a pool of 3,945 political science graduate students were randomly assigned to receive two personalized emails encouraging them to apply to the conference (n = 1,976), while the other half received nothing (n = 1,969). We find a robust, positive effect associated with this simple intervention and suggestive evidence that women respond more strongly than men. However, we find that women's conference acceptance rates are higher within the control group than in the treated group. This is not the case for men. The reason appears to be that female applicants in the treated group solicited supporting letters at lower rates. The contributions from this research are twofold. First, our findings are among the first large-scale randomized controlled interventions in higher education. Second, and less optimistically, our findings suggest that such "low dose" interventions may promote diversity in STEM fields, but that they have the potential to expose underlying disparities when used alone or in a non-targeted way.
Do affirmative action measures for women in politics change the way constituents view and interact with their female representatives? A subnational randomized policy experiment in Lesotho with single-member districts reserved for female community councilors provides causal evidence to this question. Using survey data, I find that having a quota-mandated female representative either has no effect on or actuallyreduces several dimensions of women’s self-reported engagement with local politics. In addition, implications from the policy experiment suggest that the quota effect is not accounted for by differences in qualifications or competence between the different groups of councilors, but rather stems from citizens’ negative reactions to the quota’s design.
Although scholarship on the general ideological orientation of right-wing populist parties is well established, few scholars have studied their ideas about gender. De Lange and Mügge therefore ask how differences in ideology shape right-wing populist parties' ideas on gender. Drawing on the qualitative content analysis of party manifestos, they compare the gender ideologies and concrete policy proposals of national and neoliberal populist parties in the Netherlands and Flanders from the 1980s to the present. They find that some parties adhere to a modern or modern-traditional view, while others espouse neo-traditional views. Moreover, some right-wing populist parties have adopted gendered readings of issues surrounding immigration and ‘Islam’, while others have not. The variation in stances on ‘classical’ gender issues can be explained by the genealogy and ideological orientation of the parties, whereas gendered views on immigration and Islam are influenced by contextual factors, such as 9/11.
Expanding women’ s economic opportunities is critical for meeting the obligations laid out in major human rights conventions and for enhancing countries’ development prospects and eliminating poverty. Realising the potential of all people contributes to productivity and a more resilient society. This matters at the national, community, family and individual levels. As a recent qualitative study of women and men in 20 countries across the world concludes, “women’s ability to work for pay... may be one of the most visible and game-changing events in the life of modern households and all communities.