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The Politics of Women's Rights

Spring 2012 | By Amy Patterson Neubert. Photo by Mark Simons.

Policies on violence against women, workplace equality, and family law vary tremendously across countries, and a new database — the first of its kind — will analyze changes in policies related to women's rights in 70 countries from 1975 to 2005.

The project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is co-directed by S. Laurel Weldon, professor of political science and director of the new Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion housed in the College of Liberal Arts.

"This database will be a rich resource based on a global analysis of case studies and field work that can help international groups, policy makers, and others better understand the politics of women's rights," says Weldon, who is an expert on gender and social policy, specifically policies on violence against women.

Weldon, who also is co-chair of the Faculty Leadership Council for Purdue's Global Policy Research Institute, says it is essential that the analyses produced for this project be shared broadly with policymakers and the public. Findings of the project have already been presented to the United Nations, and have also provided data and analysis for the World Bank's 2012 World Development Report, which will focus on gender.

"Global analysis, where we study the different ways that the world's societies and cultures organize themselves, is critical to understanding diversity and inclusion, and we won't have successful global, political, or economic relations without adequate attention to matters of diversity and inclusion," says Weldon.

"The impact of diversity and inclusion is broad, shaping economic development, scientific achievement, and social integration and innovation, to name but a few of the many areas of impact, so our new center has the potential to make a difference in people's lives."

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