Representation and Leadership

Building on the presence of women (descriptive representation) in leadership to explore how that presence changes the world (substantive representation)

Building on the presence of women (descriptive representation) in leadership to explore how that presence changes the world (substantive representation)

The Center on Women, Gender and Public Policy engages in research and outreach projects that seek to understand how to achieve gender parity in leadership across sectors, and whether and how the presence of more women in politics, the judiciary and the workplace changes the content of agendas, decisions and environments. We partner with political scientists, leadership experts, nonprofit organizations and international partners in these endeavors. 


  • Women and indigenous peoples’ political representation in Latin America. CWGPP Faculty Director Christina Ewig is currently studying the relationship between electing women and indigenous peoples to political office and policy outcomes in Latin America.
  • Presence and influence of women policymakers in federal STEM agencies. In collaboration with the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy area, and with funding from the National Science Foundation, the Women in Science and Technology Policy Project explores the presence and influence of women policymakers in federal science and technology agencies.
  • Women in elected leadership. In 2009, CWGPP teamed up with the Political Science Department to study the path men and women take to office and the role of gatekeeper organizations.  We subsequently used this research address diversity among elected officials.


  • Gender diversity in the judiciary. CWGPP partners with the Infinity Project to understand, design and support efforts to increase gender and racial diversity on the state and federal bench within the Eighth Circuit region. 
  • Nonprofit leaders working to advance gender equity. Minnesota is known as the social capital of the U.S. and is home to more than 160 organizations committed to achieving full equality for women and girls. CWGPP partners with the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the Humphrey School and others to support and strengthen nonprofits working to achieve gender equity.
  • Using a gender lens to advance gender equity. In collaboration with the Institute for International Education and the Humphrey Fellows program, CWGPP sponsors workshops designed to help mid-career leaders from around the globe better understand, express and implement a gender lens in their work.
  • The Gender Policy Report. A project of the CWGPP, the Gender Policy Report disseminates timely analyses of diversity in U.S. federal appointments.

Faculty Expertise

Several Humphrey School faculty members are affiliated with the work of CWGPP. In addition, we have affiliated faculty in other academic units at the University of Minnesota and research partners at other institutions. View the list of the Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy's faculty.