Women and Public Policy Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government
The Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) was founded with the internal goal of incorporating an understanding of gender perspectives on public policy into the education of current and future leaders trained at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the external goal of contributing to the canon of scholarship on women and public policy. WAPPP's primary activities focus on developing the relationship between women and public policy through facilitating scholarship, encouraging and enhancing teaching, publishing materials, and influencing the policy process through strengthening women's leadership and the advocacy power of grassroots women in addition to mobilizing activists around issues of concern to women.
Principal StaffIris Bohnet, Director
Victoria Budson, Executive Director (ex-officio)
Ph. (617) 495-1981
Nicole Carter, Assistant Director
Ph. (617) 495-1354
Theresa Lund, Associate Director for Research
Ph. (617) 496-6609
Kerry Conley, Communications Manager
Ph. (617) 495-8330
Megan Kearns, Administrative and Program Coordinator
Ph. (617) 384-7575
Naisha Bradley, Research and Events Coordinator
Ph. (617) 495-8756
Suzan El-Rayess, Assistant to the Director
Ph. (617) 496-9157
Fax: (617) 496-6154
Areas of Expertise:Economic Development & Microfinance, Leadership in Government, Politics, and Business, Women's, Gender & Feminist Studies, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Projects & Campaigns
Women in the Information Age. This research agenda is a collaboration of WAPPP and the Harvard Information Infrastructure Project, which looks at how, compared to the Industrial Revolution, women currently occupy stronger and more visible positions in shaping the large-scale social, political, and industry changes that accompany the transition to the Information Age. Yet much needs to be done to bring women and girls into the cyber era on an equal footing with men and boys. This project will craft public and corporate policy agendas across the spectrum of issues that affect women in relation to information technology. In the year 2000-2001, experts in the field will come to the Kennedy School to participate in a lecture series and conference. The project will produce an edited volume analyzing women's experience with technology in the information age: their access to it, their use of it, and the power it can provide.
Recently, project director Jane Fountain was appointed to the Research Advisory Board of the Internet Policy Institute (IPI), based in Washington, DC. Chaired by former Netscape Communications CEO Jim Barksdale and GA Tech President Wayne Clough, IPI is considered the nation's first major independent, nonprofit research and educational body designed to study and interpret the Internet.
Cultural, Racial, and Ethnic Diversity
Race, Gender, and the Making of Public Policy Professionals. WAPPP-affiliated faculty member Carol Chetkovich heads this study of race, gender, and the making of public policy professionals, interviewing students at both the Kennedy School of Government and Berkeley.
Women of Color Podium. This ongoing initiative reaches across barriers of gender, class and ethnicity to bring diverse women to the Kennedy School, highlighting their work, adding their voices to the policy discussions carried on throughout the Harvard community, and providing role models to minority women students. Visiting women participate in public forums and other events, guest lecture in classrooms, contribute material for case studies highlighting achievements of women of color, and act as mentors. A recent addition to the initiative is the Women of Color Database, a resource for organizations to contact prominent women of color from varied fields of interest and occupation.
Feminist Thought and Scholarship
The Harvard Unviersity Guide to Faculty Research in Gender and Public Policy. A WAPPP survey of the research being done throughout Harvard University, resulting in a resource that connects researchers, students and other scholars. The Guide to Faculty Research can be found on the website.
The Harvard University Guide to Gender-Related Courses. A comprehensive reference guide to all gender-related courses being offered at Harvard University designed to simplify the locating of gender-related courses and to make the process of studying gender easier for students. The Guide to Gender-Related Courses can be found on the WAPPP website.
The WAPPP Working Papers Series. The series provides a public forum for the distribution and publication of faculty and student research related to women and public policy and is available on the website.
Peace and Conflict Resolution
Women Waging Peace. Launched in December 1999, this multi-year, global venture connects women addressing conflicts worldwide. The initiative breaks new ground by recognizing the essential role and contribution of women in preventing violent conflict, stopping war, reconstructing ravaged societies, and sustaining peace in fragile areas around the world. It has helped to bridge divides between communities in conflict, as well as among policy shapers, academics, and grassroots activists. During the public policy roundtable event on December 16, 1999, 100 delegates from conflict areas Armenia/Azerbaijan, Boston urban neighborhoods, Colombia, Cyprus, India/Pakistan, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Northern Ireland, the post-Yugoslav region, South Africa, and Sudan forged ties among themselves and with some 200 policy shapers-UN and World Bank officials, State Department officers, funders and journalists.
The second phase of the Women Waging Peace Initiative will add four new conflict areas: Sri Lanka, Russia, Rwanda, and Mexico. Delegates from all 14 areas, including ten delegates from each new area, will convene at the Kennedy School of Government in November 2000 for the second annual Women Waging Peace Conference. Delegates will continue their efforts to unite women and to support peace-making campaigns.
In June 2000 during the Beijing + 5 proceedings, female delegates from several conflict areas participated in a round table discussion on women's involvement in policymaking and conflict resolution. This discussion, entitled: "New Alliances: International Security and Women Waging Peace" at New York's 92nd Street YMCA, featured Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordon, General Wesley Clark, and Leon Fuerth, as well as eight representatives from conflict areas, in a discussion of women as peacemakers, women in conflict, and women at the policy table. The program was also mentioned in the foreign ministers' joint communiqué at the G-8 summit.
GRICAR: Gender Research in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. This project works at several tiers and across disciplines, linking gender research, professional practice in mediation and negotiation, and theories of conflict prevention, management and resolution. WAPPP cosponsors with the Kennedy School's Belfer Center on Science and International Affairs (BCSIA) a six-week course on "Women and Grassroots: New Models for Social Cohesion in Divided Societies." Taught by Ambassador Swanee Hunt, students analyze women's experiences in international conflicts in terms of how they contribute to alternative approaches in political negotiation and conflict resolution, complement traditional government-led initiatives, and differ from men's approaches.
Leadership and Leadership Development
Women in International Development (WID). This program area provides an important venue for the exchange of research and experience relating to women and international development. It promotes the role of women leaders in global development and sponsors scholarly research to inform both policy discussion and current academic thought. This program area has three main areas of focus: the WID Student Group, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), and Banking on Russian Women. The WID Student Group fosters the study of the specific impact of economic and social development upon the work and livelihood of women. WIEGO is a worldwide coalition of institutions and individuals concerned with improving statistics, research programs, and policies in support of women in the informal sector of the economy. Banking on Russian Women, spearheaded by Russian economist Irina Ignatieva, is researching and designing an institution that will provide small loans to Russian women to start and expand their own businesses without demanding collateral.
Women Transforming Policy: Gender and International Relations. Does increasing the role of women in the foreign policy process affect public policy outcomes? How do men's and women's global political roles compare? What are the challenges and opportunities faced by women working in U.S. foreign policy? The goal of this program is to encourage a deeper joining of scholars and practitioners for the future in US foreign policy. A conference held in May 2000 focused on identifying successful models for bridging "thinkers and doers," analyzing action that extends beyond critique. The conference format was built around three major themes: war and peace, human rights and economic policy. In addition, WAPPP will continue to host select special individuals and groups, such as the 30 Foreign Service nationals (local employees at U.S. embassies worldwide) at the Kennedy School in a joint program with the United States Information Agency (USIA) in the fall of 2000.
Religion and Spirituality
Women, Religion, and Public Policy. This program area engages students, scholars, and activists in an examination of the intersection between women, religious institutions and traditions, and critical contemporary public policies. Critical engagement with these issues stems from the fact that many activists and policy makers on both the left and right describe their work as rooted in religious beliefs or experiences. The program operates under a broad definition of "public policy," reaching beyond actions of the state to include activities as diverse as charitable work, election-related educational campaigns, lobbying, press and electronic media activities, and other means of shaping civic values that underlie government policy decisions.
Reports & Resources
Women and Public Policy Program Working Paper Series
Differential Mortality and the Value of Individual Account Retirement Annuities, Jeffrey R. Brown (2000).
Peace with Justice, Peace with Care Palestinian and Israeli Women Negotiate Peacemaking Models, Dafna Vard Hochman, (2000).
Partisanship and the Impact of Candidate Gender in Congressional Elections: Results of an Experiment, David C. King (1999).
"Should Blacks Represent Blacks and Women Represent Women? A Contingent 'Yes,'" Jane Mansbridge (1999).
"'You're Too Independent!': Gender, Race and Class in the Production of Plural Feminisms," Jane Mansbridge (1998).
Breaking the Barriers: Positive Discrimination Policies for Women, Pippa Norris (2000).
The Gender Gap: Old Challenges, New Approaches,Pippa Norris (2000).
Gender and Contemporary British Politics, Pippa Norris (2000).
The Dynamics of the Framing Process: From Reagan's Gender Gap to Clinton's Soccer Moms, Pippa Norris (1997).
The Speeching of Sexual Harassment, Frederick Schauer (2000).
Women and Public Policy Program Working Paper Series
Peace with Justice, Peace with Care: Palestinian and Israeli Women Negotiate Peacemaking Models, Dafna Vard Hochman (2000).
'Let's Not Change the Subject!' Deliberations on Abortion: on the Web, in the House, and in Abortion Dialogue Groups, Lamelle Rawlins (1999).
Gender and Conflict Resolution and Negotiation: What the Literature Tells Us, Bianca Cody Murphy and Ira Parghi (1999).
Papers About Women at the John F. Kennedy School of Government
Women and Leadership at the Kennedy School: A Survey, Tara Sharafudeen, Mason Fellow (2000).
Papers Related to Women and Internet Speech
By Jean Camp: Women, Children, Animals and the Like: Protecting an Unwilling Electronic Populace, Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy, March 28-31, 1995; Burlingame, CA; pp. 120-139. Co-authored by Donna Riley.
By Jean Camp: Bedrooms, Barrooms & Boardrooms on the Internet. Also co-authored by Donna Riley (1996).
Greig, Fiona, and Iris Bohnet. 2009."Exploring gendered behavior in the field with experiments: Why public goods are provided by women in a Nairobi slum."
*By Derek McLean
Wellesley resident Victoria A. Budson has been elected to serve as chairwoman of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women after being appointed to the panel by Governor Deval Patrick last year.
Budson is the founder and has been the executive director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program. Founded in 1996, the program focuses on trying to close gender gaps across the globe.
“Victoria Budson has a long track record of advocacy for women’s rights and equality,” said Governor Patrick in a press release from the commission. “She will be a terrific chairwoman, and I look forward to her leadership of the commission. She brings passion, experience and expertise to the role, and I will be counting on her to help guide the commission’s work in the months and years ahead.”
The commission is an independent state agency created in 1998 to advance Massachusetts women to full equality in all areas of life and promote their rights and opportunities.
The panel is made up of 19 members who are appointed by the governor, Senate president, speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Caucus of Women Legislators.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to strengthen the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by improving the equality and status of women,” said Budson in the release. “I look forward to working with the members of the Commission, the local and regional commissions throughout the state, Governor Patrick and the Legislature to lead us toward the realization of gender equality.”
Budson holds an MPA from the Kennedy School and a BA in sociology and women’s studies from Wellesley College. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Research on Women, and has served as an adviser to the United Nations.
Linda Cavioli, the outgoing chairwoman of the commission, said: “I think Victoria is a great choice to lead the Commission during the next year as we look to strengthen our position in partnership with other regional commissions and raise our voice on behalf of women in the Commonwealth.”
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What We Do
NCRW is a network of leading university and community based research, policy, and advocacy centers with a growing global reach dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls. We also have a Corporate Circle comprised of senior diversity professionals from leading U.S. and global member companies and a Presidents Circle of college and university leaders who share our commitment. NCRW harnesses the collective power of its network to provide knowledge, analysis, and thought leadership on issues ranging from reducing women’s poverty to building a critical mass of women’s leadership across sectors.