While some indicators of gender equality are progressing, such as a significant decline in the prevalence of female genital mutilation and early marriage, the overall numbers continue to be high. Moreover, insufficient progress on structural issues at the root of gender inequality, such as legal discrimination, unfair social norms and attitudes, decision-making on sexual and reproductive issues and low levels of political participation, are undermining the ability to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5.

Recent research at the School of Global Policy and Strategy


Achyuta Adhvaryu

This study examines the impact of workplace-based soft skills training on the productivity of Indian garment workers. The study finds that such training leads to significant productivity gains, with treated workers becoming 13.5% more productive than their untreated counterparts. These gains are particularly pronounced when trainees work in teams alongside their coworkers, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and collaboration skills. Interestingly, even untreated coworkers on the same production lines as the trained workers show increased productivity, suggesting positive spillover effects. However, despite the productivity improvements and higher promotion probabilities among trained workers, the study finds no effects on wages or worker retention, indicating labor market frictions. Nevertheless, the firm experiences substantial net returns, with a 256% return on investment


Jakana Thomas

Although a substantial body of research argues that women provide terrorist organizations with important tactical benefits, few studies draw out the implications of this argument or examine whether female recruits affect the outcomes of terrorist operations. Using data on individual suicide attacks from 1985 to 2015, I show that an attacker’s gender influences the lethality of an attack. However, this effect is conditional upon the gender norms of the state in which the attack occurs. The results demonstrate that a female advantage is more apparent only in societies where a woman’s role in public life is limited; attacks by female suicide attackers are more deadly in countries where women are largely absent from the workforce, civil society, and protest


David Fortunato

We identify a form of gender-based governmental discrimination that directly affects billions of women on a daily basis: the setting of import tariffs for gendered goods. These tax rates, which can differ across otherwise identical gender-specific products, often impose direct penalties on women as consumers. Comparing nearly 200,000 paired tariff rates on men’s and women’s apparel products in 167 countries between 1995 and 2015, we find that women suffer a tax penalty that varies systematically across countries. We demonstrate that in democracies, women’s presence in the legislature is associated with decreased import tax penalties on women’s goods. This finding is buttressed by a comparison of democracies and non-democracies and analyses of the implementation of legislative gender quotas. Our work


Lauren Prather

Does officeholder gender affect citizens’ political engagement? This paper answers that question using evidence from a nationally-representative experiment in Tunisia. It finds that people were significantly more likely to want to contact their representatives when primed to think of women officeholders as compared to a mixed-gender group of officeholders.