Carleton Researcher Marika Morris Presents at the UN on Women’s Leadership 

By Suzanne Bowness 

You know you have important research in hand when you’re called to present it at the United Nations.

Carleton Prof. Marika Morris was aware that her study, Women’s Leadership Matters: The Impact of Women’s Leadership in the Canadian Federal Public Service, was significant. It was the first in the world to investigate women’s impact on the public sector.

But she was pleased to be invited to discuss the findings at a panel co-hosted on Dec. 6 by Canada’s Ambassador to the UN, Marc-André Blanchard.

Organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s Global Gender Equality in Public Administration Initiative and the New York University Women’s Initiative, the panel held in New York City also featured speakers from consultancy McKinsey and Company and financial services firm Morgan Stanley.

“The event served as a call to action for stakeholders who share the conviction that women’s equal access to decision-making positions is not only a question of equal rights, but also a driver of responsive institutions,” says Nana N’dow, a UNDP consultant who helped organize the event.

The study was initiated as Canada’s contribution to the Wilson’s Centre Global Women’s Leadership Initiative Women in Public Service Project initiated by Hilary Clinton when she was Secretary of State

Created for the Wilson Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative – Women in Public Service Project – in Washington, D.C., Morris’s study features indepth interviews with 26 senior-level public servants in the Canadian government in 2014 and 2015.

The study was made possible by Clare Beckton, executive director of the Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership, Associate Vice-President (Research and International), Pauline Rankin (who also co-leads the Gender Equality Measurement project), Merridee Bujaki, director of the Centre for Research and Education on Women and Work, and Susan Phillips, professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration.

A world leader when it comes to gender inclusion in the federal public service, Canada’s public service features 55 per cent women, including 45 per cent at the executive level. About a third of deputy ministers are women.

“We found that women have really transformed the culture of public service toward a more respectful workplace culture and a more collaborative leadership style,” says Morris.