Humphrey School News—December 1, 2017

Humphrey School's Gender Policy Report is a Conversation Starter

Christina Ewig was looking forward to taking the reins at the Humphrey School’s Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy  when she arrived on campus in August 2016. With a woman about to be elected president, there’d be new interest in policies promoting equity and fairness, she thought.

“I had a whole set of issues that we were thinking about, policy-wise, had Hillary Clinton been president,” says Ewig, who was hired to direct the center.  

With the election of Donald Trump in November 2016, however, Ewig became concerned that momentum on gender equity issues launched during the presidential campaign was about to end. “It was clear that equity and inequality would disappear from our conversations,” she says.

In a position to prevent that, she conceived an online platform where scholars would explore issues through the lens of gender.

“The Gender Policy Report was my way of saying, ‘Let’s keep this alive, keep it moving in public discourse at a national level,’” she says.

Ewig reached out to researchers across the University of Minnesota: Would they be interested in writing policy analyses and recruiting others to do so as well?

“A lot of it was asking people who I didn’t know,” she says, acknowledging her newness on campus.  

Greeted with enthusiasm, she assembled a team of “curators” with expertise in diverse areas. “One of the main aspects of my job as a professor is to show how any policy area that we might look at has a gender dimension,” she notes.

She garnered technical help and funding, and on January 20, 2017, as President Trump was being sworn in to office, the new Gender Policy Report was launched.

“We rallied people and rallied money and got the web designers on board to do it in a short period of time,” Ewig says.

Since then, the Report has published new articles each week on topics ranging from women in prison to immigration. Ewig says the goal is to be nonpartisan and that writers are to base assertions on evidence. “We’re not looking for op-eds, but for analyses based on scholarship,” she says.

Ewig and her team are also taking the conversations offline. On the 100th day of the Trump presidency, a Humphrey School event featured presentations by Report curators and writers.  

“The real work now is to bring this information forward and connect it to policymakers on Capitol Hill and in other organizations,” she says.

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