Women in Public Service Project Signs MOU with United Nations Development Programme

Partnership will leverage data to address gender gap in public administration

Media Release

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK — The Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) at the Wilson Center will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Development Programme’s Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) initiative. This agreement establishes a partnership for the purpose of establishing the data framework on women’s leadership across countries and government.

The WPSP seeks to develop the world’s most comprehensive collection of data on women’s public service leadership, aggregated on a publicly-accessible online platform and published in an annual index and report. The new MOU between the Project and GEPA marks a collaborative effort to develop a global dataset and framework specific to public administration leadership roles. The data collected by GEPA will serve as a critical component of the evidence base for global gender parity in political and policy leadership.

By collecting, analyzing, and disseminating sex-disaggregated data that previously did not exist, the UNDP and WPSP will highlight challenges and best practices in achieving gender parity in public administration, particularly at decision-making levels.

“In order to ensure more women are in leadership positions and drive institutional change, we need to know what the landscape looks like today,” commented Gwen K. Young, Director of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative and Women in Public Service Project at the Wilson Center, “this is a truly groundbreaking partnership that will help us determine where the barriers and pathways to leadership exist in public administration.”

Patrick Keuleers, Director of UNDP’s Governance and Peacebuilding Group, expressed great support for this collaboration:  “This partnership will elevate the women’s leadership discourse by bringing the often neglected public administration element to the forefront. UNDP is excited to work with the Wilson Center on building the evidence-base that will accelerate women’s access to decision-making roles of the civil service.”

The MOU will be formally signed at a ceremony during the Commission on the Status of Women on March 20 at the UNDP headquarters in New York City.


  1. The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world.
  2. The Women in Public Service Project, housed at the Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, will accelerate global progress towards women’s equal participation in policy and political leadership to create more dynamic and inclusive institutions that leverage the full potential of the world’s population to change the way global solutions are forged.
  3. UNDP’s Gender Equality in Public Administration Initiative—known more commonly for its acronym GEPA - aims to:
  • Support women’s empowerment and expanded participation and leadership in public institutions; and
  • Contribute to the availability of up-to-date information on gender equality in public administration and of evidence and analysis to facilitate informed policy and decision-making.  

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. Learn more at www.undp.org and follow us @UNDP GEPA Initiative