Research

Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) 

Public administration is the central arm of policy implementation, and in many countries is the largest employer. Yet, high-quality, publicly-available data on women and men working in public administration is often lacking. When data exist, differences in how governments define, measure, and report information complicate efforts to set standards and monitor progress worldwide. Since 2011, UNDP has been working to improve data availability and global monitoring through its GEPA initiative. These efforts align with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, most specifically SDG 16 and its target 16.7 for responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making at all levels.

University of Pittsburgh researchers, as a Ford Institute for Human Security Graduate Student Working Group co-led by Assistant Professor of International Development Müge Finkel and Professor of Sociology Melanie M. Hughes, have been assisting UNDP’s efforts to monitor women’s participation and leadership in public service since 2015. 

2018-19 Academic Year
In the Working Group's fourth year, researchers studied women's representation in decision-making in public administration, particularly in conflict-affected countries. For the first time, UNDP hosted the Working Group during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) for a joint two-day event. The first day was a High-Level Roundtable Discussion on Gender Equality in Public Institutions for Sustaining Peace. Co-Directors Finkel and Hughes discussed what they had learned from the Working Group's research on the ways armed conflict affects the availability and comparability of data, and women's participation and leadership in public administration. Participants in the roundtable included the Colombian President’s High Advisor for Women’s Equality H.E. Ana Maria Tribin, South Sudan’s Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare H.E. Awut Deng Achuil, the Dominican Republic’s Minister of Women H.E. Janet Camilo Hernández, and Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality H.E. Charlie Flanagan, and was moderated by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Senior Advisor for Gender Equality Ms. Raquel Lagunas. You can watch the event here, which was livestreamed on Facebook by iKNOW PoliticsThe second day featured the Working Group's extended presentation, "Gender Equality in Public Administration in Conflict-Affected Settings: Opportunities and Challenges," an updated and extended version of what the Working Group presented in May 2018 at the UN Secretariat.

2017-18 Academic Year
In the Working Group's third year, researchers focused on the analysis of sex-disaggregated data on public administration in conflict-affected countries. To support our efforts, we convened “Gender Equality in Public Institutions: Monitoring Global Progress,” a joint-workshop of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the University of Pittsburgh. The workshop brought together academics and practitioners with expertise on women’s participation and leadership in public service to assist in the monitoring of SDG 16.7.1. The three-day workshop kicked off with the launch of the Gender Inequality Research Lab (GIRL) at Pitt, featured a keynote address by UNDP Deputy Administrator and Assistant Deputy Director Sarah Poole, included three themed panels with presentations by academics and practitioners, showcased two presentations from Pitt's Gender Equality in Public Administration Working Group, and concluded with break-out sessions to identify lessons learned and research questions to tackle moving forward.  A summary of the workshop is available here. In May 2018, the Working Group presented "Gender Equality in Public Administration in Conflict-Affected Settings: Opportunities and Challenges" at the UN Secretariat.

2016-17 Academic Year
In the GEPA Working Group's second year, researchers analyzed gendered public administration data that is further disaggregated by age, levels of government, and gender expression and sexual orientation. In May 2016, the Working Group presented "Gender Equality in Public Administration: Tracking Inclusion Towards SDG 16" at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. Photographs from their presentation appear below.


 
















2015-16 Academic Year

In its inaugural year, GEPA Working Group researchers surveyed publicly available sex-disaggregated data in public administrations globally and identified elements of good tracking systems. In May 2015, the group presented "Gender Equality in Public Administration: A Global Assessment of Publicly Available Data" at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. Photographs from their presentation -- and of the group posing in the UN General Assembly room -- appear below.