Minding the GAP

The Gender and Policy (GAP) Center leverages the existing expertise of George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government to investigate and address the
underrepresentation of women in positions of influence and power in the public sphere,
as well as identify policy inequities for women and other underrepresented groups.

By combining teaching, experiential learning, and scholarship about today’s most
challenging gender and policy issues, the GAP Center prepares Schar School students to
become empathetic, problem-solving leaders who excel in their chosen careers in the
communities they serve.

Tackling topics in three primary areas—politics and public authority, women’s
health and wellbeing, and gender-based violence—GAP Center faculty and students
collaborate as researchers, and benefit from the extensive knowledge and expertise of
an Advisory Board comprised of professionals from the public and private sectors.

Addressing Critical Issues

Thought leaders and policymakers with diverse perspectives convene through
scholarship and in-person and virtual forums at the GAP Center to address genderrelated issues and make serious contributions to the public debate. Previous topics have
included addressing domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic; observing the
centennial of women’s suffrage by considering racial disparities in access to the vote;
displacement and protection of women refugees; and investigating unconscious bias in
the workplace.

Since 2017, the GAP Center has tackled timely issues, bringing insights from policy theory and practice to enhance policy outcomes and address inequities. There is much work to be done, but I am proud that the Schar School is committed to educating our students and engaging with wider constituents on the critical role of gender in the policy context.


Expanding Our Resources

Just as we challenge Schar School students to aim higher, we are determined to
further expand our resources so proactive, independent research continues to
advance the GAP Center’s mission. By partnering with alumni and friends like
you, we can provide meaningful support to our students.

Gifts to the GAP Center help fund:

• Dedicated faculty time
• Graduate research assistantships
• Student scholarships
• Post-doctoral fellowships
• Conference travel and publishing fees
• Administrative and logistical support for public-facing events

As a GAP Center supporter, your gift reaches well beyond the lives of our students. It extends into the communities of the people they will serve. By expanding the reach of the GAP Center through student support, you help to advance understanding, bring key players into dialogue and engage the wider community in order to achieve equitable outcomes in policy for all.

The GAP Center has hosted politicians, scholars, journalists,and policymakers including:

  • Congresswomen Eleanor Holmes Norton and Jennifer Wexton

  • Harvard Professor Theda Skocpol

  • Brookings Institution Scholar Thomas E. Mann

  • Thomas B. Edsall of The New York Times

  • Former Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James

  • Former U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic

The GAP Center publications have focused on:

  • Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management and First Response

  • Social Media Use by Anti-Gender Based Violence Organizations

  • Disparities in Outcomes During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The support of the Gender and Policy Center at George Mason University solidified in my mind the importance of my research on black women, leadership, and state legislatures. In a male-dominated field, it is often difficult to garner support for a research area that primarily deals with intersectional identities. My research agenda will always be an uphill battle but with the support of the GAP Center, I know it is necessary and valid work.


Help Further Our Mission

For more information on supporting the GAP Center, contact:

Cindy Michelsoncmichel2@gmu.edu
Senior Director of Development

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