Wilson Center

We helped the Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative (GWLI) better understand equity by quantifying gender and power disparities in public service leadership positions.

The need

Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative (GWLI) wanted to leverage data to inform policy discussions about the role of gender disparities in public service. Traditional data sources used a simple approach of counting the number of men and women in various positions, without providing any insight into the relative influence and power that those people wield. 

GWLI imagined creating new data set which quantified the many dimensions of power and leadership within public service to create a more nuanced and accurate picture of gender inequality in elected governments.

Our approach

We worked with GWLI to create the new data set and  a new web-based data portal to share the results and support ongoing policy discussions at the United Nations.

First, we worked with GWLI stakeholders to develop an analysis methodology that accounted for different dimensions of power, including budget control and oversight of direct appointments. Next, we coordinated a team of data researchers to collect and analyze millions of data points across more than 50 countries. Then we worked to visualize the data and make it publicly accessible via the online data portal.

Finally, we helped GWLI create an outreach campaign for the 2017 United Nations global summit on Gender Inequality, aligning our findings with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The final result

With the findings from the new data set, GWLI was able to successfully engage with new partners, including UNDP and OECD to influence the discussion of inequality in public service. Further work has focused on aligning specific policy proposals for improving inequality with the results of the analysis, and using the data portal as a decision support tool to help specific countries better understand programs that are most likely to succeed.

Related Insights

January 31, 2020 Understanding Equity With Data

Our latest webinar on data analysis for equity issues.

Data We Used

Women Power Leadership Index

An index that quantifies the relative power of women in public service positions globally.