Dr. Müge Finkel recently participated in the Wilson Center’s 50 by 50, the 5th year anniversary event in Washington D.C. The event was hosted by the Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) which was started in 2011 by former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to empower the next generation of women around the world and mobilize them on issues of critical importance in public service.
The WPSP utilizes three instruments in order to achieve its goals: an online data platform to show where women are in political and civil service leadership across local and national governments; an accessible depository of academic research on women’s leadership across the globe; and an international network of scholars, activists, and public servants who have led change in their communities and countries.
The 5th year anniversary event marked the goal set at 50% representation of women in all elected and appointed policy and political leadership positions by the year 2050, and took stock of progress to date. Keynote speakers included President and CEO of the Wilson Center, Jane Harmon; WPSP Director, Gwen Young; His Excellency Ambassador Björn Lyrvall, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to the United States; and Joyce Banda, the former President of Malawi.
The event featured a series of panels focusing on gendered data and specifically discussing where the data is, why data matters, and how data-driven progress can continue be made to reach equal representation in policy and political leadership by the year 2050. At the panel discussion on where the data is, Pelle Lutken, policy specialist at Governance and Peace Building sector at the UNDP and GEPA working group affiliate, gave a shout out to the Ford Institute for Human Security’s GEPA Working Group for their invaluable research locating gendered public administration data globally and emphasized the model of collaboration between the UNDP and academia driving policy change.
Dr. Finkel was invited to join the board of the Women in Public Service Project in May 2016, following the Gender Equity in Public Administration (GEPA) Ford Institute Working Group’s research presentation at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. The GEPA Working Group, co-led by Dr. Finkel, of GSPIA, and Dr. Melanie Hughes of Department of Sociology, has been assisting the United Nations Development Programme since September 2016 in their efforts to identify and collect publically available and accessible gendered data on public administrations globally. At the end of their first year of research, the GEPA group concluded that while there is a real shortage of gendered data in public administrations globally, the quality of data -- where it exists -- is equally worrisome, as it does not easily lend itself to policy related analysis.
Since becoming a WPSP board member in June 2016, over the summer, Dr. Finkel drafted a policy brief for the WPSP identifying data gaps that are essential to pursue the WPSP policy goals, and establishing quantitative and qualitative evidence of the benefits of women’s participation in public service. The policy brief is part of the coordinated efforts by the WPSP to make the case of why data matters and where it is missing, and establish a new index where data, that is now being collected, can be analyzed and assessed to better understand gender parity in public and civic life globally and comparatively. The first outcome of these coordinated efforts, a new data and resource portal for global women’s leadership has been launched by the Wilson Center’s WPSP on February 9, 2017, as a venue to connect stakeholders to the tools they need to drive policy progress.
Dr. Finkel and Dr. Hughes continue to co-lead the GEPA Working Group for a second year, and plan to give another presentation at the UN Secretariat in New York this coming May with their students. The group’s research focus this academic year has shifted from data availability to preliminary analysis of factors that come to bear on women’s participation at public administrations, in different sectors and at different levels of decision-making. Dr. Finkel welcomes the recent spotlight on gender parity in public life, both from multilateral development organizations and NGOs, in both developed and developing countries. However, she also quickly notes, “before a discussion on achieving parity, we need to have more concentrated efforts in place to empirically understand the extent of gender inequalities.” The Ford Institute GEPA Working Group’s efforts to that end are extremely timely and valuable for this discussion.
To get more information regarding the GEPA group in 2017, please contact Dr. Finkel: firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the WPSP, click here.
To read more about the data portal and start using its heat maps, click here.