Gendered Leadership at Aid Agencies

My latest article, co-authored with Robert Jones (Ph.D. Student, Department of Sociology, McGill University) is out in the latest issue of Sociological Forum.

In this piece we use longitudinal data on aid allocated to gender equality and new data on the leaders of DAC donor agencies/Ministries to examine whether the gender of donor agency leaders is associated with different patterns of aid spending on equality.

Click the image below to access the article.

The abstract follows:

This article examines the effects of gender on the leadership of bilateral development aid agencies, particularly their official development assistance (ODA) allocations toward gender-related programming. Drawing on earlier research on gendered leadership, the article tests the hypothesis that female director generals (DGs) and ministers responsible for aid agencies will allocate more ODA than their male counterparts toward gender programming. This existing literature on gendered leadership is divided: some scholars argue that women and men have distinct leadership styles on account of their gender, while others argue that the only distinguishing factor is the institutional context in which they lead. Drawing on data collected on aid flows and agency leadership within the major Western aid donors of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) over the period from 1995 through 2009, we use pooled time series analysis to examine the effects of gendered leadership on aid allocation. Our analysis reveals a tendency for female DGs and ministers to focus ODA on gender-mainstreaming programs, while male DGs focus ODA on gender-focused programs. We argue that these divergent priorities reflect the women’s desire to reform gendered power structures within their respective aid agencies, and the men’s desire to maintain existing gender power structures from which they benefit.

Jones and Swiss 2014