On Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3, American University will host its 2018 Pathways to Gender Equality Conference. Dr. Janet Yellen, an economist with the Brookings Institution and a former chair of the Federal Reserve System, will speak with other distinguished experts—addressing the marginalization of certain groups in economic research and proposing ways for stakeholders to better address those disparities in their work.
“At this moment, with so much attention on gender and power dynamics, especially in the workplace, this conference will set an agenda to create pathways to gender equality,” said AU Department of Economics Chair Mieke Meurs.
The conference will illuminate how academics, policy makers, and advocacy groups can use tools of gender analysis to understand today’s major social and economic challenges. A gender-analysis approach to economic study might include analyzing paid labor and unpaid household labor jointly to capture the burden of unpaid work and its influence on the labor market.
“A lot of what we do is adapt our tools and questions to provide a more complete picture of economic dynamics, support more effective policy, and address often ignored issues related to gender equity,” said Meurs, who uses tools of gender analysis in her work at AU.
Professor Maria Floro and Meurs will speak at the conference’s opening plenary, and along with Dr. Yellen, a roster of leading economists and internationally recognized experts will engage in panel discussions and roundtable sessions. Heidi Hartmann (Institute for Women’s Policy Research), Caren Grown (the World Bank), and Bina Agarwal (University of Manchester) will delve into the key role gender analysis plays in accurately understanding contemporary macroeconomics and labor and development economics.
The conference will touch on the ways gender discrimination distorts the labor market, the idea of “mother penalty” among workers, and the impact of sexual harassment in the workplace. Speakers will also emphasize the importance of increasing diversity in economics—not only the diversity of those who study economics and set the policies, but also diversity in the content of economic research.
The conference is co-sponsored by AU’s graduate Program for Gender Analysis in Economics (PGAE) and the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) and is generously funded by the Open Society Foundations (OSF).