Research

We are always looking for new collaborators.

Our research focuses on understanding and improving the lives of women locally and globally. Our researchers study and promote research on women's history, gender stereotypes, masculinity theory, women's health, workplace equity, women and political power, gender and sexuality studies, feminist theory, family dynamics, and much more. Please visit our Publications page to find out more about working with WRIN on existing publications, or to develop new projects.

A meeting on projects

Women in Nevada History

The Women in Nevada History collection is the culmination of decades of work conducted by WRIN’s Director Emeritas, Dr. Joanne Goodwin. This incredible resource combines the fruits of three key projects: the Nevada Women’s Archives project, the Las Vegas Women Oral History project, and the MAKERS: Women in Nevada History project. At the Women in Nevada History website visitors will find biographic information in text, image, audio, and video that fills in major gaps in the history of women’s participation in the development of the state. Experience this impressive collection and learn more by visiting the Women in Nevada History website. Please contact Dr. Joanne Goodwin for more information on this project.

The American Judicial Performance Database

The American Judicial Performance Database (AJPD) project aims to refine our understanding of implicit social cognition theory, especially as it applies to assessments of people in leadership positions. The substantive focus is on the assessment of judges in the American states; an important secondary effect is that policy-makers, judges, and the public will be able to evaluate the quality of judges on the bench, as well as the fairness, reliability, and validity of the instruments used to measure judicial performance. Graduate research assistants are assisting the PI with collecting and organizing judicial performance evaluation (JPE) results data from all states that have instituted this procedure. These data come from the judicial performance commissions in the various states and will be supplemented with original data on the background of the judges who were the subjects of these evaluations, as well as alternative measures of judicial performance. The supplementary data come from publicly-available sources and state freedom of information requests, where necessary.

This research is geared toward deepening our understanding of implicit social cognition theory and its manifestation as implicit gender and race bias in the evaluation of public officials in positions that are both race and gender stereotyped. Most of the previous research underlying this cognitive bias theory has relied on self-reported feelings of bias; this project allows for a more systematic evaluation of gender- and race- based disparities in actual performance evaluations. The results will be an important contribution to the scholarly literature in this burgeoning area of inquiry. The dataset will allow for empirical tests of many assumptions about the operation of implicit bias in evaluating people gender and race stereotyped positions. It can also be used to assess judicial quality across state judiciaries. Hypotheses about the effects of judicial selection system, as well as state-level contextual variables, can be evaluated in a systematic way.

This project represents an attempt to refine our theories about implicit bias, and this development will be important for political science generally. These advancements will speak to the experience of women and minorities in political leadership positions more broadly. It will help researchers to understand how our cognitive schemas about leadership positions may unfairly influence our evaluation of these officeholders. An additional important purpose of this project is to provide reliable and actionable information about JPEs to judges and policy makers. The resulting database will be made available to researchers and state judicial performance commissions in downloadable format, and it will be presented for the general public in an interactive website. A summary of JPE best practices will be produced as a result of the analysis, allowing policymakers to revisit their JPE programs with the benefit of empirical data.

This project is funded primarily by the Law & Social Sciences Program of the National Science Foundation (SES: 1354544). The dataset will also include information gathered in two previous projects. The first is a project with coauthor Sylvia R. Lazos, in which we collected early version of the data on judicial performance evaluations in Clark County, Nevada. That project was funded in part by the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). These data have been updated as part of the NSF-funded research project for inclusion in the AJPD. The second previous project was funded by a Faculty Opportunity Award in 2012 from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas through the Office of Research and Economic Development. That project, "Assessing Judicial Performance Evaluations for Race and Gender Bias," provided a pilot study of judicial performance evaluations in Colorado. These data have also been updated as part of the NSF-funded research project for inclusion in the AJPD.

This project is still in progress. When the data collection is complete in early 2018, this website will be updated to include links to the aggregate database, state-level databases, two respondent-level databases (Utah and Nevada), data documentation, interactive tools, and a list of publications that use these data. To learn more about the dataset, please contact Rebecca Gill (PI) at rebecca.gill@unlv.edu.

The AJPD Research Team:

  • Rebecca Gill (PI)
  • Katherine Eugenis
  • Sean Goff
  • Rafael Oganesyan
  • Justin Ponkow
  • Kenneth Retzl

The Gender Equity Index Project

Previous research makes clear that businesses, workers, and the economy all benefit when companies pursue practices and policies that support gender equality in the workplace. In 2017, the Nevada Legislature passed and Governor Sandoval signed AB 423, which requires the Nevada Secretary of State to collect and report information related to gender equality in the workplace. To do this, the Commission for Women is directed to assist the Secretary of State in the development of a survey to be deployed to businesses during the online business licensing and renewal process.

Working together with business community leaders, WRIN's Gender Equity Index Project (GEI) will be providing survey design, technical support, and publicity for this important initiative. The goal of this project is to collect and publicize information about the gender equity practices of Nevada's businesses. To that end, we will be assisting the Secretary of State in the development of a recognition program to identify and elevate the profile of Nevada businesses with exemplary equity practices. In addition, WRIN will work to develop evidence-based best practice guides for Nevada businesses that are tailored to account for the size, existing practices, and economic context of the businesses that respond to the survey. Although the law requires just a single administration of this survey, WRIN will be working with its government and business community partners to develop a sustainable program to inform the public and help businesses improve their equity-related practices.

Sociocultural Influences on Women's Body Image

This research collaboration aims to improve women's lived body experiences through quantitative and qualitative methods. We conduct research with racial and ethnically diverse samples of young women, both with and without disordered eating tendencies. We investigate women's body image and self-objectification, as well as cultural contributors to these social-cognitive processes.

The Status of Women in Nevada Report

Since 2002, the Women's Research Institute of Nevada has worked to provide current information on women's status in the state. In 2004, Director Joanne Goodwin consulted with the Institute for Women's Policy Research on their 2004 report. This report is available from the Institute for Women's Policy Research. In 2005, Dr. Goodwin joined a statewide consortium to collect and study data from approximately 150 indicators of women's health, education, social welfare, and employment in the state. In the resulting report, the chapters on employment and education were written by Dr. Goodwin. The Nevada Women's Fund sponsored the publication of the 2005 Status of Women in Nevada Report.

Although the financial crisis scuttled plans to produce a 5-year follow-up report in 2010, WRIN is currently developing a project to secure financial support for a biennial version of the Status of Women in Nevada Report. This report will draw upon original and existing data sources, as well as the research and expertise of WRIN-affiliated researchers. We hope to launch this reinvigorated series in late 2018. 

The Status of Women in Nevada project is a multi-year project spanning both the rural and urban areas of Nevada. The purpose of the project is to better understand the psychological, political, safety, health, and employment issues faced by women living in Nevada today, and to compare these experiences and perceptions to those of men living in Nevada. We aim to complement existing data and provide relevant and timely information to local and state decision-makers. The survey will be administered online to Nevada residents, and take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Ultimately, this research will be used to shape future policies concerning the physical, mental, political, and economic health of women in the state of Nevada.