Samantha Wasala, Research Analyst—NORC at the University of Chicago for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC)
Photo by: Richard Nyberg for USAID
March 8 is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is #EachForEqual, underscoring the message that everyone is responsible for their own thoughts and actions, while collectively each of us can help create a gender equal world.
Despite calls for greater representation of women in research, the gap between male and female participation in research persists globally. USAID’s Research Technical Assistance Center provides a platform for women researchers around the world to work on cutting-edge and impactful research projects. RTAC is committed to creating opportunities for women researchers working in international development.
Since 2018, RTAC has been growing an extensive network of research academics. Currently, 49 percent of researchers who have joined our network are women and 43 percent of researchers working with RTAC are women. In celebration of International Women’s Day, RTAC is highlighting what it means to create a gender equal world in research, in the words of our very own researchers. These experts serve as team leads on some of RTAC’s many research projects.
Professor Sunugurai Dominica Chingarande
Professor Chingarande has held various positions including Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University. Her work with RTAC relates to food security. To her, a gender equal world in research “considers women as agents of change, both as researchers and as respondents, and ensures that women’s voices are amplified in shaping the direction of research and research outcomes.” A gender equal agenda places gender issues at the core of every inquiry, and ensures that gender analysis is an integral part of research. Doing so fosters a positive environment for male and female researchers, and helps maintain gender-responsive infrastructure. Professor Chingarande imagines a future in which the lived experiences of women from diverse backgrounds shape gender-responsive programming and lead to inclusive development.
Catherine, (Katie) Andrzejewski
Dr. Catherine (Katie) Andrzejewski is a Senior Research Scientist and Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for Development Coordinator at DevLab@Duke. She currently works with RTAC on research activities in the Global Health sector. Since entering international development as an intern at USAID, she has seen substantial improvements to the proportion of women in leadership roles. For Dr. Andrzejewski, #EachforEqual captures the recognition that female equality is a goal for each of us, men and boys included, for to aspire. She wants to see an equitable world in which all children have the same rights and opportunities.
Grace Hough and Priya Subramanian are involved in RTAC research activities with mentorship from Dr. Andrzejewski.
Grace Hough is a research assistant and Master of Arts student at Duke University. Her work focuses on fringe credit markets, such as payday loans and auto loans, which target vulnerable populations. For Grace, in a gender equal world woman will be invited to sit on expert panels due to their contributions, and not just because they are women. She envisions an increase in the number of women researchers working in international development with more of a focus on quantitative research methodology.
#EachforEqual means individuals taking responsibility for equality.Grace Hough
Priya Subramanian is a research assistant at Duke University. Her research focuses on expanding access to justice for communities in conflict zones, and improving recovery and developmental outcomes in post-conflict situations. Her goals include continuing a culture of support for women researchers through mentorship, and resources to other women and minorities entering the field.
#EachforEqual means that each of us must do our part to support and encourage initiatives, projects, and goals that focus on equal opportunities for all, and that we should encourage inclusivity in all spacesPriya Subramanian