Celebrating Women in Science
February 11th is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. To mark the day, the Research Technical Assistance Center is featuring female scientists from the network on our website. Learn more about how they are promoting evidence-based decision making to advance women’s empowerment and reduce gender inequality.
Name: Magda Hinojosa
Title: Associate Professor of Political Science
University: Arizona State University
Location: United States of America
Areas of Expertise: Women & Politics, Latin American Politics
Women’s full incorporation into politics changes policy; it changes the types of issues that are considered, and the types of solutions that are proposed. The work that I do examines women’s political participation in Latin American politics and the obstacles to their representation. I predominantly focus on candidate selection and the institutions (both formal and informal) that either keep women out of politics or that permit women’s entry into politics. My research provides policymakers with the data to make informed decisions and create institutions that will work.
Campaign financing, for example, is a critical issue. Women often lack the resources to run for office and are often less willing than men to borrow money to finance campaigns. A quantitative analysis that I am currently undertaking with colleagues supports this conclusion: Women are indeed less likely to use personal resources, obtain loans, and receive party support for legislative campaigns than male candidates. These data confirm conventional wisdom and offer a solution for how countries can improve gender quota outcomes – require parties to invest resources in female candidates’ campaigns.
Women’s full incorporation into politics changes policy; it changes the types of issues that are considered, and the types of solutions that are proposed…My research provides policymakers with the data to make informed decisions and create institutions that will work.Magda Hinojosa, Associate Professor of Political Science
Name: Rebecca Namatovu
Title: Senior Lecturer
University: Makerere University Business School
Areas of Expertise: Entrepreneurship and small business management
Using narrative and in-depth interviews, I document women’s stories and experiences. My work presents a platform where their voices, efforts, and challenges are published in order to nudge the rest of the world to better support them.
My research methods include interventions that have the potential to empower women. For example, I use business training, coaching, and mentorship to enable women to build their skills and manage their ventures more efficiently and profitably. I evaluate these interventions using scientific methods to generate evidence of their impact, which policymakers use when tackling development challenges.
Along with academic journals, my research is published in reports, policy briefs, and posters that are written in simple and understandable language that resonates with many stakeholders, especially policymakers. Additionally, I actively seek and accept opportunities to share my research findings and publications. As an advisor to one of the largest Ugandan women empowering organizations, I evaluate their activities—tracking them against research evidence and advising them with scientific data.
My research often recommends practical steps that policymakers can take to mitigate or solve problems. Sometimes the research methods I use, such as random controlled trials, provide uncontested scientific evidence—quick wins—that motivate policymakers to adapt and scale up interventions.
My research often recommends practical steps that policymakers can take to mitigate or solve problems. Sometimes the research methods I use, such as random controlled trials, provide uncontested scientific evidence—quick wins—that motivate policymakers to adapt and scale up interventions. Rebecca Namatovu, Senior Lecturer
Name: Rabia Naguib
Title: Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy
University: School of Public Administration and Development Economics, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies
Areas of Expertise: Public policy/Strategic Management, Ethics, and Entrepreneurship
My research addresses the pressing development challenge of empowering women through entrepreneurship and employment in the public sector. My work focuses on the role of female entrepreneurship on national development and identifies the main factors fostering and inhibiting women entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Middle East and North Africa region. It also examines the role of the public sector in empowering women in Qatar and Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
My aim is to advance our understanding and awareness about women’s employment and its enabling factors and potential barriers, allowing policymakers to adapt and adopt appropriate policies. Recent media coverage of my work, underscored the biggest obstacle to employment for women in the UAE region – work-life balance. Women’s need for adequate childcare and flexible work hours has direct implications for public policy.
My research on these issues involves strong collaboration with local stakeholders and international partners. One approach we use to communicate with stakeholders is through policy briefs that articulate context-specific recommendations to further reduce gender inequities and enhance social and economic development.
My research on these issues involves strong collaboration with local stakeholders and international partners. One approach we use to communicate with stakeholders is through policy briefs that articulate context-specific recommendations to further reduce gender inequities and enhance social and economic development.Rabia Naguib, Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy
Name: Sital Kalantry
Title: Clinical Professor of Law
University: Cornell University
Location: United States of America
Areas of Expertise: International Human Rights
My research is aimed at enhancing the rights of women and children around the world. Too often the work of academics is not tailored to address pressing policy concerns of the day and when it is, not accessible to policymakers. My goal is to be a bridge between academia and policy. For example, I worked on a project to advance the right to education in Colombia. In partnership with several organizations, we filed an amicus brief (a legal brief used to advise the court by offering facts, analysis, or a new perspective that hasn’t already been presented), which eventually led to the Colombian constitutional court declaring that the government must provide free primary education to its citizens.
My research conducted with law students at the International Human Rights Policy Advocacy Clinic also regularly informs policymakers on how laws can better protect women’s rights. For example, we conducted a three-country comparative research study on acid attacks in India, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. (An acid attack occurs when a person throws acid at another person often disfiguring the victim’s face and other body parts). Our research helped raise awareness the underlying causes of these attacks, the consequences, and the barriers victims face in seeking justice. The findings of our study were submitted to the Cambodian government and we were asked to review and comment upon Cambodia’s proposed law to curb acid attacks.
Another research study we undertook, involved interviewing women in the United States and India on issues related to surrogate motherhood. To inform policy development, we presented our findings and recommendations on providing appropriate protections for surrogates and children to the New York State legislature and the Indian Parliament.
Too often the work of academics is not tailored to address pressing policy concerns of the day. When scholarly work is relevant to policy issues, it may not be written in a way that is accessible to policymakers. My goal is to be a bridge between academia and policy.Sital Kalantry, Clinical Professor of Law
Name: Zoe Mark’s
Title: Lecturer in Public Policy
University: Harvard University
Location: United States of America
Areas of Expertise: Conflict and Security, Peacebuilding, Gender, and African Politics
My research focuses on peace and conflict processes in sub-Saharan African countries. As a researcher, I have the opportunity to ask the questions policymakers and practitioners may not have time for, but that will strongly affect their success. Understanding why armed groups survive and become resilient; and, conversely, how combatants and civilians rebuild their lives and communities after wars end are central to strengthening peaceful communities in conflict-affected countries
In my current work, I’m particularly interested in understanding social relationships and structures that are not accounted for in most randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or impact evaluations. I use mixed methods – interviews, archival research, and surveys – to access perspectives and experiences that often get glossed over in research on conflict and development. Listening to people’s first-hand accounts of life in armed groups and impoverished post-conflict settings not only helps humanize problems, but it illuminates questions we should be asking.
Examining social networks enables us to map and measure interpersonal and group-level relationships that affect everything from trust and community cohesion, to information and technology diffusion. For example, through my research in Sierra Leone I learned how important gatekeepers and brokers can be for building trust or spreading information. Post-conflict peacebuilding programs need to better harness existing social ties and community-level networks. Development practitioners can use these insights when they adapt programs for a new context by thinking carefully about whom they work with and how that facilitates or constrains the inclusion of other individuals and groups.
Development practitioners can use these insights when they adapt programs for a new context by thinking carefully about whom they work with and how that facilitates or constrains the inclusion of other individuals and groups.Zoe Marks, Lecturer in Public Policy