GIRL evolved out of the Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) initiative, a research project started in 2011 by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with two aims:
- to support women’s empowerment and expanded participation and leadership in public institutions; and
- to contribute to the availability of up-to-date information on gender equality in public administration and of evidence and analysis to facilitate informed policy and decision-making.
In 2015, Pitt faculty Müge Finkel and Melanie Hughes began collaborating with UNDP on the GEPA initiative, co-founding the GEPA Working Group.
The success of the GEPA Working Group -- and, in particular, the mutually beneficial partnership between Pitt and UNDP -- led Professors Finkel and Hughes to consider ways to expand the Working Group, to increase the participation of graduate students from across Pitt in the GEPA Initiative, and to replicate the GEPA Research Group's collaborative model to other policy-focused research on gender equality at Pitt. With broad support from GSPIA, the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and the University Center for International Studies (UCIS), GIRL launched officially on November 8, 2017.
GIRL was launched at “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 convened academic specialists and practitioners working on research and policy-making efforts to monitor women’s participation and leadership in public service in relation to SDG 16.7.1. The three-day workshop included a keynote address by Sarah Poole, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director for the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), presentations by academic leaders and practitioners, and break-out sessions with academics and policy-makers to identify the most relevant research questions to tackle moving forward.
GIRL's research on gender equality in public administration has been enriched by partnerships with Colombia's Department of Public Function and South Africa's Department of Public Service and Administration.
Support for GIRL
GIRL has benefitted from partnerships with and generous support from:
- United Nations Development Programme (2016-present)
- The University of Pittsburgh
- Ford Institute for Human Security (2017-present)
- Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (2017-present)
- Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (2017-present)
- Pitt Seed Project Funds, Office of the Chancellor (2019-21)
- Integrative Social Science Research Initiative Award, Office of the Provost (2018-19)
- Central Research Development Fund Small Grants Program, Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research (2017-19)
- Jean Monnet Center of Excellence Faculty Research on the European Union Grant (2017)
- Global Studies Center, University Center for International Studies (2016-17)