The project will culminate in a retreat for women legislators in Uganda to share study findings and the formation of a Legislative Women's Caucus to provide an organizing structure for women legislators.
"Our research is designed to deepen our understanding of the contextual factors that affect the behavior and actions of female change agents in the Ugandan legislature," said Dina Refki, CWGCS director and a co-PI. "We will analyze the conditions under which women are most - and least - effective in advancing a woman’s agenda. This will allow us to identify leverage points that women can use to strengthen their influence and ensure successful policy outcomes."
Center for Women in Government & Civil Society (CWGCS) is partnering with the State Department to examine ways to improve Ugandan policy decisions and retain women in public service in the African nation.
The research will be supported by a $60,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State's Women in Public Service Project (WPSP). An initiative launched by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in 2011, WPSP was formed to build a generation of women leaders who will invest in their countries and communities, provide leadership in governments, and change the way global solutions are forged.
As Clinton said, WPSP is a vehicle for building a "truly large, unprecedented global movement to bring more girls and women into public service" while building the infrastructures needed through leadership development, research, mentoring, and networking.
Uganda currently ranks 17th in the world for the percentage of women in Parliament.
"Thanks to the quota system, women occupy almost 35 percent of seats in Uganda's Parliament, far outpacing the U.S., where women make up only 17 percent of Congress," said Iris Berger, who is a professor of African history and women’s studies at UAlbany as well as a CWGCS faculty affiliate and a co-principal investigator (co-PI). "To the dismay of many observers, this impressive record has not translated into real substantive benefits for female constituents."
“We are delighted to be part of this worthwhile global effort. This project will increase our global connections and position the University at Albany to play a more active role in addressing global challenges, supporting democratic institutional building, and advancing women’s agenda worldwide,” said Sue Faerman, co-PI as well as the academic chair of CWGCS’s Women’s Leadership Academy and UAlbany's vice provost for undergraduate education.
“The Women in Public Service Project and this research initiative underscore the critical need for more women in leadership, particularly in public service, and acknowledges that solving global challenges mandates tapping into a more diverse pool of talent, experiences, and expertise,” added Bonnie Beard, CWGCS program director and co-PI.
Center for Women in Government & Civil Society CWGCS is a cornerstone of women’s leadership development, an academic research center, and a policy think tank which generates knowledge and provides analysis on issues facing women and girls. The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society is housed at the University at Albany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy.