Melanie M. Hughes, PhD

  • Co-Director, GIRL
  • Professor of Sociology

Melanie M. Hughes is Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and Sociology Program Director for the National Science Foundation. She is one of the world’s foremost experts on the political representation of women worldwide. Much of her work predicts variation in women’s legislative outcomes across countries. Data collection, measurement, and methodology are a prominent focus of Dr. Hughes’s research. She has published datasets on women’s political representation, legislative gender quotas, and women’s international organizations. Dr. Hughes also works to connect her research to policymakers, practitioners, and the public. From 2013-14, she consulted with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve measurement of women’s political leadership, and since 2015, she has collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 

Education & Training

  • PhD in Sociology (The Ohio State University, 2008)
  • MA in Sociology (The Ohio State University, 2003)
  • BA in Government and Sociology (University of Texas at Austin, 2001)

Representative Publications

Book Cover for Women Politics and Power: A Global PerspectivePaxton, Pamela, Melanie M. Hughes, and Tiffany D. Barnes. 2020. Women, Politics, and Power: A Global Perspective, 4th Edition. Rowman & Littlefield.

Arana Araya, Ignacio*, Melanie M. Hughes, and Aníbal Pérez-Liñán. 2020. “Judicial Reshuffles and Women Justices in Latin America.” American Journal of Political Science. Early View July 19, 2020. 

Hughes, Melanie M., Pamela Paxton, and Mona Lena Krook. 2017. "Gender Quotas for Legislatures and Corporate Boards." Annual Review of Sociology 43:331–52. 

Hughes, Melanie M. and Lisa D. Brush. 2015. "The Price of Protection: A Trajectory Analysis of Civil Remedies for Abuse and Women's Earnings." American Sociological Review 80(1):140–165. 

Hughes, Melanie M. and Aili Mari Tripp. 2015. "Civil War and Trajectories of Change in Women's Political Representation in Africa, 1985-2010." Social Forces 93(4):1513–1540. 

Hughes, Melanie M. 2011. "Intersectionality, Quotas, and Minority Women's Political Representation Worldwide." American Political Science Review 105(3):604–620. 

Research Interests

  • Political sociology, particularly political representation       
  • Race/class/gender and intersectionality
  • Global and transnational sociology
  • Quantitative methodology

Research Grants

Extramural (2016-):

  • 2019-21. United Nations Development Programme. “Gender Equality in Public Administration: 2020 Global Report” with co-PI Müge Finkel. $73,100.
  • 2019-20. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures. “Information Ecosystems: Creating Data (and Absence) from the Quantitative to the Digital Age” with Michael Colaresi, Michael Dietrich, Alison Langmead, Ruth Mostern, Lara Putnam, Werner Troesken, Annette Vee, and Randall Walsh. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. $225,000.
  • 2016-19. United Nations Development Programme. “Gender Equality in Public Administration” with co-PI Müge Finkel. $30,350.
  • 2018. Uppsala Forum Seminar and Workshop Grant with Elin Bjårnegard (lead recipient), Karen Bird, and Jackie F. Steele. Uppsala Forum for Democracy, Peace, and Justice, University of Uppsala. 52,637 SEK (est. $6,000 USD).
  • 2013-16. National Science Foundation. “Transnational Networks amid Global Crisis and Change” with co-PI Jackie Smith. Funded by Sociology (SES-1323130). $172,795.

Intramural (2016-):

  • 2019-21. Pitt Seed Project Award. “Raising GIRL: Gender Inequality Research Lab at Pitt” with Co-PI Müge Finkel. Office of the Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh. $49,603.
  • 2018-19. Integrative Social Science Research Initiative Award. “The Global Glass Ceilings Database: Measuring Women's Access to Decision-making in Public Administration Worldwide” with Co-PI Melanie Hughes. Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh. $44,688.
  • 2017-19. Central Research Development Fund Small Grants Program. “Armed Conflict and Gender Equality in Public Administration” with Co-PI Müge Finkel. Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Pittsburgh. $16,000.
  • 2018. Year of Pitt Global Grant. “Workshop on Transnational Networks Amid Global Change” with Jackie Smith. University of Pittsburgh. $5,000.
  • 2017-18. Research in Diversity Grant. “Workshop on Transnational Networks Amid Global Crisis and Change” with Basak Gemici, Samantha Plummer, Jackie Smith. University of Pittsburgh. $5,000.
  • 2017. Jean Monnet Center of Excellence Faculty Research on the European Union Grant. “Gender Equality in Public Administration: Learning from Global Leaders” with Co-PI Müge Finkel. European Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh. $4,483.