About the GEPA Working Group

Who We Are

In August 2015, Pitt faculty Müge Finkel and Melanie Hughes began collaborating with UNDP on a global initiative to track gender equality in public administration (the GEPA Initiative, for short). Through the Ford Institute for Human Security, they co-founded the GEPA Working Group, a voluntary interdisciplinary group of graduate students that assist UNDP on the GEPA Initiative.

Since its founding, the GEPA Working Group has brought together graduate students from across the University of Pittsburgh, including:

  • Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA)
  • Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences (Departments of Sociology and Political Science)
  • School of Social Work
  • Graduate School of Public Health
  • School of Education 

What We Do

Since 2015, students in the GEPA Working Group have collectively logged about 1500 person-hours per academic year to:

  • map country-level tracking of existing GEPA data;
  • collect, visualize and analyze data on women’s participation in and leadership of public administration to reveal gender gaps by sector and level;
  • research the ways that armed conflicts and peace processes shape GEPA; and
  • investiage how gender intersects with race, ethnicity, language, age, sexual orientation and gender identity to shape inequities in government bureaucracies. 

The GEPA Working Group has presented this research in numerous venues, including presentations at the United Nations Secretariat in New York City and at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Broader Impacts

In collaboration with UNDP, the GEPA Working Group's has helped to:

  • expand the availability of publically-available GEPA data;
  • inform policy recommendations aimed at building inclusive public institutions; and
  • support national data tracking on SDG 16.7.1b.

In 2021, the GEPA Working Group's research was incorporated into a UNDP-Pitt global report, Gender Equality in Public Administration, which was launched at the 2021 UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) for Sustainable Development.

Summer Internships at UNDP

Each summer since 2016, GEPA Research Group students have been hired as junior researchers in the UNDP offices, Learn more about our internships here.