We begin the 2018-2019 academic year in the midst of what some are calling “the year of the woman.” The Women’s March events in 2017 and 2018 mobilized women and centered their concerns. The #metoo movement has sustained the nation’s attention on the issue of sexual harassment and assault as a systemic problem in our society. Women are running for office in record numbers; indeed, Nevada’s state legislature is poised to become the first majority female state legislature in American history.
Our research mission puts us in an excellent position to contribute important and relevant knowledge about how policies and structures impact the lives and power of women. WRIN’s enduring commitment to empowering the next generation of women gives us a key role in supporting gender equality across all areas of life. One key way we do this is through our signature educational outreach program, NEW Leadership Nevada. We recently wrapped on our 2018 training program, where 20 exceptional young women developed their existing leadership skills and prepared themselves to make lasting change in their communities.
We here at WRIN have been hard at work over the past year developing research projects aimed at increasing the power and presence of women and girls in our society. We welcomed our first Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr. Jessica Saunders, who is heading up our Status of Women in Nevada research project. This project will gather important information about how women and girls are faring in our state, providing important insights to policymakers and community leaders. In February of this year, we launched our Gender Equity Index project, which began with a data gathering initiative in collaboration with the office of the Secretary of State of Nevada. This project will provide important baseline data about gender equity in Nevada’s workplaces.
Another important part of our work is to promote the dissemination of research that is important to women. This year, we brought back our Gender Research Roundtable series, which provides a forum for researchers to workshop their projects in a welcoming and diverse environment. We also launched our WRIN Research Briefs, which provides short, plain language summaries of published academic research about gender-related issues.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with an amazing group of people to fulfill our important mission. I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to our amazing staff, the Community Advisory Board, the UNLV College of Liberal Arts, and the rest of the WRIN family for making this a banner year for WRIN. As we move forward, I am optimistic that our research will make an important contribution to sustaining momentum toward gender equity.
Director, Women’s Research Institute of Nevada