In a signing ceremony on the 40th floor of the Cathedral of Learning, GSPIA Dean John Keeler and Sarah Poole, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director, UNDP, signed a memorandum of understanding between the University of Pittsburgh and the United Nations Development Programme. The agreement establishes the Gender Inequality Research Lab (GIRL) at Pitt, a new interdisciplinary research forum for scholars and practitioners to collaborate on policy-relevant research on gender inequality.  GIRL will bring together faculty, students, and staff who are interested in gender inequality around the world and will serve as an umbrella for related research at Pitt. GIRL is co-led by Dr. Müge Finkel (GSPIA) and Dr. Melanie M. Hughes (Sociology).

GIRL evolved out of the Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) initiative, a research project in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and supported by leadership and staff from the Ford Institute for Human Security in GSPIA. Research on GEPA at Pitt was organized around Ford Institute Working Groups, which brought together graduate students from GSPIA, but also from Departments of Sociology and Political Science, and Schools of Social Work, Public Health, and Education. Since fall 2015, over 70 graduate students have logged more than 7,000 person-hours to help UNDP map country-level tracking of existing data; and collect, visualize and analyze data on women’s leadership in public administration. These efforts have resulted in four student-led presentations, including two at the United Nations Secretariat in New York City in May 2016 and 2017; and have fed into UNDP’s data collection efforts, as well as into national policy recommendations for improved data tracking. GEPA Working Group students have also been hired as junior researchers in UNDP Regional Hubs in Bangkok, Amman, Istanbul, Panama City, and Addis Abba.

SUPPORTED BY: Ford Institute for Human Security and Global Studies Center

The Ford Institute is a part of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at the University of Pittsburgh. The Institute’s faculty affiliates do leading edge research from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, including political science, economics, public health, and education. Graduate students provide vital research assistance. The Gender Inequality Research Lab (GIRL) is housed within the Ford Institute for Human Security.