Research

Positioned within Harvard Kennedy School, the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) is a research center that focuses on closing gender gaps in economic opportunity, political participation, health, and education by creating knowledge, training leaders, and informing public policy and organizational practices.

WAPPP looks at what policies, organizational structures, and leadership techniques help close involuntary gender gaps—those that occur due to constraints rather than choice—either due to explicit barriers (laws or the absence thereof) and/or implicit barriers (stereotypes, biased judgements, and discrimination). Conducting research to provide evidence-based insights and recommendations, we identify small to large-scale successful interventions, while examining the impact of closing gender gaps.

Our world-class faculty—including Iris Bohnet, Hannah Riley Bowles, Dara Kay Cohen, Jane Mansbridge, and Rohini Pande—have deepened our understanding of the evolving landscape of gender gaps and the mechanisms we can employ to close them.

Recent Publications

Trombini, Chiara, Logan A. Berg, and Hannah Riley Bowles. “Anger and Anxiety in Masculine Stereotypic and Male Dominated (MSMD) Negotiating Contexts ”. In Press. Print.Abstract

In this chapter, we explore ways in which affective experience and expression might moderate effects of gender on negotiation, particularly in masculine-stereotypic and male- dominated (MSMD) contexts. We argue that, in MSMD contexts (as compared to more gender- equitable situations), men are likely to have a more chronic experience of power than women and that such gender differences in actual, perceived, and felt power are likely to reinforce gender stereotypes favoring men in negotiation. We articulate a set of propositions about the potential effects of anger and anxiety—two power-linked affective states—on gender in negotiations in MSMD contexts. We consider implications for negotiators’ social and economic outcomes. In conclusion, we suggest practical considerations for managers in MSMD work environments.

Bowles, Hannah Riley, Bobbi Thomason, and Julia B. Bear. “Reconceptualizing What and How Women Negotiate for Career Advancement ”. Academy of Management (In Press). Print.Abstract

We propose a conceptual framework for expanding the scope of future research on the role of gender in career negotiations. Extant research on gender in career negotiations emphasizes women’s disadvantages relative to men in compensation negotiations. We present an inductive study of what and how women negotiate for career advancement and the attainment of leadership positions in organizations, drawing on data from diverse samples of negotiation accounts by senior-executive, mid-level, and early-career professionals from the public, private, and non- profits sectors and six world regions. Integrating insights from six studies, we propose a more comprehensive perspective on what men and women negotiate for career advancement, including their role development and work-family conflicts, as well as compensation. We also identify three distinct negotiating strategies—asking, bending, and shaping—that vary in the extent to which the negotiator conforms to, deviates from, or attempts to redefine organization norms. Our analyses suggest that the choice of negotiating strategy has implications for men’s and women’s career progression, particularly for women’s navigation of nontraditional career paths and men’s and women’s leadership claiming. We suggest new directions for research on the role of negotiation in career advancement and in promoting and mitigating gender inequality in organizations.We propose a conceptual framework for expanding the scope of future research on the role of gender in career negotiations. Extant research on gender in career negotiations emphasizes women’s disadvantages relative to men in compensation negotiations. We present an inductive study of what and how women negotiate for career advancement and the attainment of leadership positions in organizations, drawing on data from diverse samples of negotiation accounts by senior-executive, mid-level, and early-career professionals from the public, private, and non- profits sectors and six world regions. Integrating insights from six studies, we propose a more comprehensive perspective on what men and women negotiate for career advancement, including their role development and work-family conflicts, as well as compensation. We also identify three distinct negotiating strategies—asking, bending, and shaping—that vary in the extent to which the negotiator conforms to, deviates from, or attempts to redefine organization norms. Our analyses suggest that the choice of negotiating strategy has implications for men’s and women’s career progression, particularly for women’s navigation of nontraditional career paths and men’s and women’s leadership claiming. We suggest new directions for research on the role of negotiation in career advancement and in promoting and mitigating gender inequality in organizations.

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Gender Action Portal

A collection of summarized research evaluating the impact of specific policies, strategies, and organizational practices to close gender gaps in the areas of economic opportunity, politics, health, and education.

The Gender Action Portal (GAP) focuses on experimental approaches to evaluate policies–both in the field and in the laboratory–and draws from multiple disciplines, including economics, psychology, and organizational behavior.

GAP serves as an online tool for decision makers across sectors to utilize evidence-based research in order to create better informed policies and procedures.

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