Well into the 21st century, race and gender continue to be major fault lines that continue to shape and have impact on our lived experiences. Friction along these fault surfaces have created social movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave voice to the longing for gender balance on the US Supreme Court in 2012 remarks, “And when I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court] and I say when there are nine, people are shocked.” Nine men serving on the bench, for most of the history, was accepted in a matter of fact manner. DeHart-Davis and Colleagues (forthcoming) call upon public administration scholars to question taken-for-granted assumptions and move beyond well-worn and comfortable theoretical perspectives.
With Public Administration Review’s sponsorship, we are organizing a symposium to convene scholars to address the disconnect between the intensity and urgency of social concerns and the state of academic scholarship. The state of scholarship on race and gender in public policy and public administration remains fragmented and somewhat disconnected with broader concerns in society. Although there are some scholars conducting research relevant to race and gender in public policy and administration, these efforts do not inform each other and fail to synergistically work to create a virtuous circle. In order to move scholarship forward, we call for a focus on race, gender, and social equity to frame the symposium at The George Washington University on May 27-28, 2020.
The relationship between public administration and social equity came into sharp focus during the 1960s. A number of leading scholars over time– among them, Camilla Stivers, Mary Ellen Guy, Norma Riccucci, George Fredrickson, and Dwight Waldo – have observed that policy implemented by public administrators had benefits for some citizens but not others. Since that time representative bureaucracy research has provided public administration scholars and practitioners theoretical and empirical research about the connections between passive and active representation in a variety of contexts (Sowa and Selden, 2003; Riccucci, Van Ryzin, and Li, 2016). There is a compelling need to move beyond representative bureaucracy framework and to embrace other emerging as well as long-standing theoretical perspectives such as intersectionality and its impact on distribution or access to services (Bearfield, 2009; Breslin, Pandey, and Riccucci, 2016; Wise and Tschirhart, 2000).
The purpose of the May 27-28, 2020 symposium is to inspire and share research that frames public administration and policy research on race and gender using a social equity lens. We are especially interested in theoretical and/or empirical research that helps shed light on understudied aspects of social equity, such as: how are (or might) policy and programs designed to promote social equity, and how does an equity-focus enrich research and evaluation on the impact of public programs and policies.
Potential papers could address a variety of themes on race, gender, and social equity such as:
- approaches to achieving social equity in both the public and nonprofit sectors;
- the application of frameworks from outside of public administration scholarship to studying race, gender and ethnicity in public service;
- the role of gender and race in organizational dynamics;
- gender, racial and ethnic disparities in public services;
- the extent and impact of bias (directed at race, gender, veteran status, disability etc.) within public service bureaucracies;
- how taking an intersectional lens can help in public service delivery;
- normative and critical theory approaches to addressing the role of race and gender in public service;
- how behavioral public administration can address gender, race, and ethnic disparities;
- new avenues for representative bureaucracy research;
- the impact of social movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo on public service;
- the impact equitable philanthropy has in local communities;
- how human resource processes interact with social equity; and
- how to address equity issues stemming from other differences such as LGBTQ, age and disabilities in public service.