Neoliberalism has been discredited as a result of proliferating crises (financial, ecological, care) and mounting inequality. This paper examines the growing research on gender at the World Bank as a site for the construction of a new hegemonic consensus around neoliberalism. Drawing on a computer-assisted inductive analysis of thirty-four Bank publications on gender since 2001, the paper documents Bank efforts to establish a positive relationship between gender equality and growth; shows the expansion of the Bank’s definition of equality as equal opportunity; illustrates how the focus on institutions has enabled engagement with core feminist concerns, such as equality in the family; and traces how incorporating notions of women’s empowerment and agency has made possible a focus on domestic violence. The paper concludes by emphasizing the ambiguous effects of the Bank’s new neoliberalism, which continues to use the market as the arbiter of social values while providing openings for feminist agendas.
The lack of gender parity in the governance of business corporations has ignited a heated global debate leading policymakers to wrestle with difficult questions that lie at the intersection of market activity and social identity politics. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with corporate board directors in Norway and documentary content analysis of corporate securities filings in the United States, Challenging Boardroom Homogeneity empirically investigates two distinct regulatory models designed to address diversity in the boardroom: quotas and disclosure. The author's study of the Norwegian quota model demonstrates the important role diversity can play in enhancing the quality of corporate governance, while also revealing the challenges diversity mandates pose. His analysis of the U.S. regime shows how a disclosure model has led corporations to establish a vocabulary of “diversity.” At the same time, the analysis highlights the downsides of affording firms too much discretion in defining that concept. This book deepens ongoing policy conversations and offers new insights into the role law can play in reshaping the gendered dynamics of corporate governance cultures.
Rape is common during wartime, but even within the context of the same war, some armed groups perpetrate rape on a massive scale while others never do. In Rape during Civil War, Dara Kay Cohen examines variation in the severity and perpetrators of rape using an original dataset of reported rape during all major civil wars from 1980 to 2012. Cohen also conducted extensive fieldwork, including interviews with perpetrators of wartime rape, in three postconflict counties, finding that rape was widespread in the civil wars of the Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste but was far less common during El Salvador's civil war.
Cohen argues that armed groups that recruit their fighters through the random abduction of strangers use rape—and especially gang rape—to create bonds of loyalty and trust between soldiers. The statistical evidence confirms that armed groups that recruit using abduction are more likely to perpetrate rape than are groups that use voluntary methods, even controlling for other confounding factors. Important findings from the fieldwork—across cases—include that rape, even when it occurs on a massive scale, rarely seems to be directly ordered. Instead, former fighters describe participating in rape as a violent socialization practice that served to cut ties with fighters’ past lives and to signal their commitment to their new groups. Results from the book lay the groundwork for the systematic analysis of an understudied form of civilian abuse. The book will also be useful to policymakers and organizations seeking to understand and to mitigate the horrors of wartime rape.
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. Inclusive Talent Management aligns talent management and diversity and inclusion, offering a fresh perspective on why the current distinction between them needs to disappear.
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.
What Works is built on new insights into the human mind. It draws on data collected by companies, universities, and governments in Australia, India, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, and other countries, often in randomized controlled trials. It points out dozens of evidence-based interventions that could be adopted right now and demonstrates how research is addressing gender bias, improving lives and performance. What Works shows what more can be done—often at shockingly low cost and surprisingly high speed.
The recommendations in this policy analysis exercise stem from a careful analysis of the available human resources data of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico (SRE, Spanish acronym). They were consolidated for this project from information scattered in different locations of the Foreign Service and Human Resources Department (DGSERH) of the Ministry. This exercise revealed that despite the SRE’s effort to promote fairness and equality, there is evidence that women are disadvantaged in certain parts of the Foreign Service entrance and promotion processes.
In the entrance examination, I found a substantial gender gap in success rates in advancing from the first stage to the second stage of the exam, mostly due to score differences in the General Culture and English multiple-choice examinations. In the promotion process, I found a 0.19-point difference in scores for post level of responsibility favoring men. This is approximately equal to the average score difference between the lowest scoring promoted official and the runner-up. I also found a significant gender gap in assignment to hardship posts, which award a bonus point in the promotion exam to those who hold them, and seem to be more accessible to men. The causes for this phenomenon and attitudes towards it merit further research.
This policy analysis exercise recommends that the Ministry implement several measures to investigate the causes of differential performance by men and women in its entrance examination, rectify identified biases, provide better preparation opportunities for test takers, recruit more women to hardship posts, and launch a long-term sponsorship program for female diplomats. De-biasing measures might include a temporary gender quota, removing the guessing penalty and eliminating biased questions from the multiple-choice portions of the exams, relaxing time constraints, con- ducting interviews with one interviewer at a time instead of in panel format, and taking advantage of support from the Office of Gender Equality throughout the process. The sponsorship program would aim to prepare women to navigate the organizational system throughout their careers. These policies are designed to help the Ministry achieve a target of 50% women in the two highest ranks of the Foreign Service (Ambassador and Minister) and promote an institutional culture that under- stands and values gender equality.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can implement these policies immediately and expect support from key stakeholders within and beyond the organization. At the same time, it should carefully consider the sequence in which different policies will be implemented as well as which aspects to emphasize when communicating about them in order to gain the support of actors that may present resistance. The selected policy options are not overly aggressive, to avoid causing excessive controversy; they are designed to bring the organization to confront the fact that more reforms are necessary for its inward policies to live up to the gender equality standards that Mexico promotes in international fora.
Rural India has limited employment opportunities beyond seasonal subsistence agriculture. Women face additional challenges to securing sustained employment due to the cultural barriers and household responsibilities that they bear. Kym and Jennifer worked with Evidence for Policy Design and The Indian Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to assess current government programming and to analyze employment alternatives. They recommend that the Ministry support rural women through evidence-based entrepreneurship programs and independent contracting opportunities. They use the lens of strategic macroeconomic interventions to ensure that any intervention supports long-term economic growth in the region.
Since passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000, communities across the United States have grappled with how to respond to the crime of sex trafficking. Sex trafficking spans all sectors of our communities. Legitimate businesses and institutions are often used to facilitate the criminal activity, and in some jurisdictions are used to help detect and disrupt the crime. People who experience sex trafficking often undergo immense physical, mental, and emotional trauma – both as part of the trafficking situation and leading up to it – and require a myriad of services in order to reintegrate into society. These crimes require complex, intensive, and long-term responses. Law enforcement cannot address these cases alone. With that in mind, Caitlin and Deena sought to address the following question: How can local law enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies effectively partner to respond to sex trafficking cases involving foreign born women and mitigate harm to victims? Through interviews with service providers and law enforcement officials in Boston, New York, Seattle, and San Francisco, their research identified challenges in partnership development and sought to provide guidance to jurisdictions in effective response to sex trafficking cases.
Afghanistan’s female labor force participation (FLFP) rate is roughly 16% - one of the lowest in the world. This has serious implications for the country – for socioeconomic inclusivity, poverty reduction, and for overall growth and productivity. While low FLFP is a problem in itself, it also implies that there are other underlying factors that prevent women from working such as limited mobility, security, low bargaining power, etc. In this paper, we find that security and cultural norms are the underlying barriers that prevent women from entering the labor force. We also identify the importance of information and how women receive information. Given the increase in television viewership over time, we recommend the Government to use television programs to provide exposure to the outside world and address a key underlying barrier, norms.
Why is 51% of the population routinely excluded or implicitly discouraged from the cybersecurity field? Socialization factors, the perceived ‘brogrammer’ culture, a lack of effective role model and mentorship could contribute. Further down the talent pipeline, concerns about the retention of women in the field are acute, with limited latitude for maternity leave or stifled career advancement for women with families. Though cybersecurity is a relatively new field, efforts to correct the challenges cited above have been marginal and the representation of women in this field as a whole has remained static. To address this problem, Katharine is creating recommendations for how the New America Foundation can and should inform public and private sector organizations to increase the representation of women in cybersecurity. She is researching interventions that companies, universities, and non-profit groups have implemented to increase women’s representation in the cybersecurity field; developing case studies of industries in which women or other minorities have been underrepresented; and planning an event with the New America Foundation convening in November on women and cybersecurity.
Throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), recent media reports have highlighted an apparent rise in women’s active participation in violent extremist organizations. This includes their deployment in combat operations, and roles as suicide bombers, propagandists, recruiters, and mobilizers. Despite the novelty and sensationalism with which the media has treated the topic in recent years, women have participated in violent extremist organizations (VEOs) in the MENA region and beyond for decades. To date, however, women’s roles have been largely overlooked in both research and policy responses. Although attention to date has focused on Western women traveling to Syria and Iraq to join or fight with Daesh, women from the MENA region have also taken up the cause in large numbers, albeit more quietly.
While it is impossible to estimate the exact level of women’s involvement in many VEOs, two things are clear: most, if not all, VEOs have female members who were recruited to engage in a wide range of roles; second, the frequency and visibility of female members within these groups are on the rise. For example, among the VEOs currently active in the MENA region, Daesh appears to have attracted the largest number of female members. Although figures are disputed, it appears that as many as 3,000 of its 20,000 foreign fighters are women.
To date, the extensive research on radicalization and recruitment has devoted scant attention to understanding women’s participation. As a result, strategies and programs that intend to counter violent extremism have naturally been oriented toward male recruits. This has led to a dearth of responses that adequately address the drivers and recruitment tactics related to female participation. To fill these gaps and strengthen the development responses to violent extremism, this report seeks to provide insights on three major questions:
1. Drivers: What are main push and pull factors for women’s participation in VEOs?
2. Recruitment: How are VEOs tapping into women’s motivations to gain their support?
3. Responses: How can development assistance be most effective in addressing the primary drivers that motivate women to support or join VEOs?
We examine a new intervention to overcome gender biases in hiring, promotion, and job assignments: an “evaluation nudge,” in which people are evaluated jointly rather than separately regarding their future performance. Evaluators are more likely to focus on individual performance in joint than in separate evaluation and on group stereotypes in separate than in joint evaluation, making joint evaluation the money-maximizing evaluation procedure. Our findings are compatible with a behavioral model of information processing and with the System 1/System 2 distinction in behavioral decision research where people have two distinct modes of thinking that are activated under certain conditions.
While central notions around agency are well established in academic literature, progress on the empirical front has faced major challenges around developing tractable measures and data availability. This has limited our understanding about patterns of agency and empowerment of women across countries. Measuring key dimensions of women's agency and empowerment is complex, but feasible and important. This paper systematically explores what can be learned from Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data for fifty-eight countries, representing almost 80 percent of the female population of developing countries. It is the first such empirical investigation. The findings quantify some important correlations. Completing secondary education and beyond has consistently large positive associations, underlining the importance of going beyond primary schooling. There appear to be positive links with poverty reduction and economic growth, but clearly this alone is not enough. Context specificity and multidimensionality mean that the interpretation of results is not always straightforward.
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.
Our methods, methodologies, and ways of producing and communicating knowledge not only orient the questions we ask and the knowledges we pursue, but they also direct the effects and purposes of our work. Methods enact our worlds (Law and Urry 2004). While many feminist International Relations scholars would agree with this, there are considerable differences in the method/ologies we use, the ways in which we communicate, and what we understand method/ology to mean. These differences were at the heart of the Fifth Annual Critical Voices in Swiss IR Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, titled “Feminism, Difference, and Beyond” and organized by a group of scholars known as the Swiss International Relations Collective (SWIRCO). The conference included keynote addresses by Wendy Harcourt, L. H. M. Ling, and Marysia Zalewski. The conversation here represents further engagement with a number of issues that emerged at the conference as a result of these keynotes