Blog Miscellaneous

Student Perspectives on Gender in Public Workplaces and Gender Advocacy

Five students from a faculty-mentored research course, PAD 385: Sex and Gender in the Public Sector, at John Jay College conducted original qualitative research and presented their work at the 2019 Northeastern Conference on Public Administration (NECoPA). Nina Durand, Denissa Estevez De Leon, Karina Gopeesingh, Nicholas Hutchinson, and Mariana Silfa explored topics ranging from breastfeeding policy in the workplace to gender stereotypes in the media and education to LGBTQ community-police relations. The NECoPA Conference took place in Brooklyn, New York from Friday, November 8, 2019 – Sunday, November 10, 2019. This academic conference provided opportunities to engage with innovative research, participate in poster sessions and workshops, and network with colleagues. Below are the five students’ research blogs summarizing their work. 

Title: Breastfeeding Matters: Promoting equity and inclusion of breastfeeding accommodations in federal and local governments

Author: Nina Durand 


According to the 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 81% of birthing parents begin breastfeeding their babies at birth – but many stop earlier than is recommended (NYC Commission on Human Rights, 2019). Mothers are stopping breastfeeding not by choice, but largely because of the lack of accommodations they receive when returning back to work. In order to fix challenges and alleviate pressures returning mothers feel when going back to work, both federal and local governments have implemented legislation and policies to work towards achieving equity and inclusion for all breastfeeding mothers. My research analyzes both federal and local government policies for breastfeeding, conducting a comparative analysis of the policies in both levels of government. From this analysis, I found some policies to be productive in promoting equity and that others provide loopholes for employers not to promote inclusivity. After identifying  policies that are helpful and unhelpful, I present my own recommendations, eliminating and revising policies to ensure all workplaces are promoting necessary equity and inclusion. From this research, I find policies need alteration and that they fail to hold all employers to the same standards.  

How Scholars Study Breastfeeding Accommodations in Workplaces  

Scholars argue that policies in place from both federal and local governments are not enough to raise equity and inclusion (Anderson, J., Kuehl, R., Drury, S., Tschetter, L., Schwaegerl, M., Hildreth, M., . . . Lamp, J. (2015). Policies in conjunction with interpersonal communication are needed to create supportive and inclusive breastfeeding environments. Scholars also argue that perceptions and attitudes contribute to negative connotations of breastfeeding in the workplace. As seen with a population based, public opinion telephone survey, NYC residents overwhelmingly had unfavorable views of breastfeeding. Several scholars also synthesiezed that factors such as race, age, sex and power dynamics hinder the spread of inclusivity in the workplace (Anderson, J., Kuehl, R., Drury, S., Tschetter, L., Schwaegerl, M., Hildreth, M., . . . Lamp, J. (2015). Pre-existing bias does exist, and are very present in workplaces. Collectively, scholars all argue for communication between employers and employees to raise awareness and inclusion for breastfeeding accommodations in the workplace. Policies do not fully address all factors that hinder breastfeeding inclusivity in the workplace. The regulations and policies in place for breastfeeding accommodations at work are just preliminary steps to promote equity and inclusion of breastfeeding employees. More can, and needs to be done to raise inclusivity and awareness. 

My Approach to Studying Breastfeeding Accommodations in Workplaces  

The goal of this research is to produce a qualitative analysis of breast-feeding accommodations in city and federal agencies, with the ultimate aim of improving the practice of policy for all levels of government. I analyzed federal and local legislation, guidelines, and policies about breastfeeding accommodations in the workplace, including fact sheets, local and federal laws, calls to action and publications.These documents provide insight into some of the most recent approaches to improving breastfeeding policies and accommodations in the workplace to date. To better understand the policies that should be implemented in all levels of government, I created a coding scheme based on current literature. The major themes coded in this analysis include: federal accommodations, local accommodations, what policies should be implemented in all levels of government, and what is missing from the policies that are already put into place. After an initial reading of the academic journals was performed, I paid careful attention to the larger purpose and to implications for practice on both the individual and organization. Text from these documents were placed in the categorical coding scheme using Microsoft Excel. After all content was coded, I identified major findings and implications for improving both federal and local government policies for breast-feeding employees. 

Findings, Recommendations, and Remaining Questions:

From this analysis, it is evident that policies put in place in both local and federal governments have several loopholes. Under federal law, Section 7(r) of the Fair Labor Standards Act – Break Time for Nursing Mothers Provision, it states “An employer that employs less than 50 employees shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection, if such requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.” This language is problematic because it does not define what exactly is “significant difficulty” and “business difficulty” is which provides a loophole for employers to limit accommodations. Moreover, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services provides a plethora of information on creative space solutions for the creation of breastfeeding spaces in workplace environments of any size, how to ensure there is adequate staff coverage while mothers take pumping breaks, how to modify spaces and make them private for pumping, and how to use resources already available in workspaces to create comfortable pumping spaces. Factors such as “financial resources” and “expenses” should not be a determining factor for employers meeting the requirements of subsection 7 (R) of the FLSA because creating inclusivity has minimal cost and require limited effort from employers.

Under local NYC Human Rights Law Section 8-107(22)(b)(i), lactation room policies must be given to all new employees, informing them that breastfeeding is an option and normative practice in the workplace. The law requires that “employers disseminate or conspicuously post a written notice developed by the Commission on the rights of pregnant workers to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. Employers can meet the obligations by posting the notice previously developed and disseminated by the Commission in 2015, or by posting their updated pregnancy notice.” Although spreading information about lactation policies in the workplace are important and great first steps, policies should be given to all employees, not just new employees. All employees must have a certain level of interpersonal communication for the normalization of pumping in the workplace to work. This analysis is the first step in addressing breast-feeding accommodations within the city and federal agencies however, more policies and/or revisions to current are needed. Future analyses should include multiple and differing agency types and levels of government. Moreover, future policies must eliminate loopholes for employers who do not need to implement breastfeeding inclusivity. 

To improve, policies should mandate comprehensive, high-quality lactation support programs for employees. In order to do so, the International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) should be mandated to be hired by employers to assist in developing their comprehensive, high-quality lactation support programs for their employees. Policies should also require one of the following outside entities come in to assist the development of these support programs for employees. The list of organizations include: American Academy of Pediatrics, LAMAZE International, International Lactation Consultant Association (ICLA), La Leche League International (LLLI), National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB)  and/or National Women’s Health Information Center, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Additionally, law should mandate agencies to mirror successful worksite programs at specific agencies such as the National Security Agency, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy Headquarters, and the The Congressional Program. These programs have high levels of success because they go beyond the minimal requirements of subsection (r) to section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and follow the best practices for breastfeeding mothers. Instead of the bare minimum requirements mandated in policies, policies should also take into account convenience and accessibility for mothers. In lactation rooms, employers should provide breast pumps for employees. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, “it is cost-efficient to purchase or rent a multi-user, double electric breast pump. These pumps can be shared by multiple women, and they are valued because they help women express milk quickly and efficiently. Employers also benefit because women are able to minimize the amount of break time needed to express milk.” There are benefits to employers providing more than the bare minimum for employees. 

To normalize and promote breastfeeding in workplaces, I recommend mandated training by the Equal Employment Opportunity office, Office of Labor Relations and/or Human Resources Department for all employees to learn about the benefits of breastfeeding, why it is important, and why it must be an option in the workplace. These training will normalize the conversation in the workplace and help promote dialogue. These training may also alleviate some of the factors listed that hinder mothers from breastfeeding in the workplace. Training should discuss the benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and employers. Agency heads and upper level officials should recieve a separate training informing them of the economic benefits of breastfeeding inclusivity. These trainings should inform upper level officials that by promoting and implementing breastfeeding policy can result in greater workplace productivity, organizational loyalty, increased recruitment and retention, job satisfaction, and lower healthcare and insurance costs. 

Lastly, I recommend policies from both local and federal governments need to explicitly state what “significant difficulty” and “business difficulty” is and give clear instructions and definitions for all employers to abide by. The end of these policies should clearly define these terms and state what is acceptable to deem as a “difficulty”. Lastly, Section 7r of Subsection R of the Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act does not apply to employers with less than 50 employees. Employers of smaller establishments do not need to give break times if it will cause “significant difficulty” to the employer and/or business. Employers do not need to compensate workers for this breaktime. Special mandates need to be put in place for workplaces to ensure they are creating inclusivity for breastfeeding mothers and that this demographic of mother receive all the accommodations mothers in large settings would. From this analysis of loopholes in policies and my recommendations, it is evident that more work needs to be done. Moving forward both local and federal governments.

From this analysis, it is evident that breastfeeding accommodations in both in federal agencies and local governments are essential, and the recommendations for policy and practice outlined here should serve as a starting point for future improvements. This analysis is a first step in addressing breastfeeding equity and inclusion within workplaces, however, more research is needed. Future analyses should include more than one state, and multiple and differing agency types and levels of government. For example, there can be further research can be done comparing the local policies of California to New York and then comparing those policies to federal policy mandated in all 50 states. Additionally, research can be done comparing the top local breastfeeding program and the top local federal breastfeeding program, finding similarities and differences. As we further research the topic of inclusivity of breastfeeding in workplaces, future questions need to be answered. How can we include lactation room awareness into mandated agency policy? Who will deliver these mandatory trainings and how can we strictly enforce these trainings be taken by all employees? How can agency heads incentivize their employees and normalize breastfeeding in their workplaces? These topics will strengthen the public sector and research community by pushing practitioners and scholars to rethink some of our most basic assumptions surrounding breastfeeding accommodations in the workplace.



Twitter: @ndurand1

Nina Durand is a current student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, enrolled in the BS/MPA Public Policy and Administration program.With over three years of experience working for the New York City government, she completes many tasks relevant to the field of personnel management. Her interest in the field of public administration began in the summer of 2016 when she worked as a summer intern for New York City Council Member Donovan Richards. At this time, she had no prior knowledge of how public agencies worked or the field of public service. In the short duration of the Ladders for Leaders Internship program, she was immersed in the field of public administration and developed a passion for public service. She was also promoted from summer intern to councilmanic aide and assistant event planner, to later the campaign manager for 2017 Donovan’s re-election campaign. Currently, Nina works for Recruitment Assistant for the NYC Department of Buildings. She is a certified Mental Health First Aid, a certified mandated reporter by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.

Title: Gender stereotypes influence academic performance!!!. Do you want to know how?

Author: Denissa Estevez De Leon


Has gender affected your educational or career pursuits in any way? Research shows that gender stereotypes can influence the academic performance of children and adolescents (eilock, Gunderson, Ramirez, & Levine, 2010; Heyder, & Kessels, 2015; Steffens, Jelenec, & Noack, 2010). Advocacy organizations seek to minimize the influence of gender stereotyping on academic performance. Therefore, is important to understand  how advocacy organizations are promoting gender equality in public areas such as public schools. This research answers the following questions: What are the effects of female-male gender stereotypes on academic performance of children/adolescents students in public schools? And How are education advocacy organizations addressing gender stereotyping in public schools? This project is only a first step in tackling the pervasive issue of gender stereotyping in education, more research in this topic is needed.  

Scholars Study

For the purpose of this article, is essential to analyze scholarly articles on  gender stereotypes in public schools, with a concentration in academic performances. Some research shows that students (children and adolescents) from an early age have implicit bias about math achievement, in other words, students implicitly believe that males are better at math than felemas (Steffens, Jelenec, & Noack, 2010). However, this belief could be an effect of the teacher’s point of view and experience (Beilock, Gunderson, Ramirez, & Levine, 2010; Heyder, & Kessels, 2015). Therefore, Beilock et al. (2010) say that females teachers’ math anxiety could influence the student’s (girls and boys) math achievement and performance. Heyder and Kessels (2015) say that student’s gender could trigger teacher’s gender stereotype, that teachers would be influenced by gender stereotypes when the student act his or her gender or if they show gender neutral behavior. On the other hand, geographic areas could also influence gender stereotypes and academic performance. Reardon, Fahle, Kalogrides, Podolsky, and Zárate, (2019) say that there is not significant differences in school districts relate to gender achievement gap in math, however there is a significant differences relate to ELA gap in favor of females. District where females have a higher math score than mael are also district where females have a higher ELA scores than male, and vice versa. However, math gap tend to favor males in schools district of socioeconomic advantaged and schools district with larger gender disparities in individual income, education, and occupation. Therefore, Pope, and Sydnor (2010) say that states with lower gender stereotype of male being good at math and science test, also have a lower gender stereotype for females in tests readings, which means location can influence the academic gender stereotypes gap between female and male. To sum up, implicit bias, teacher’s point of view, and location are factors that influence children and adolescent academic performance in public schools. 

My Approach to Studying

The goal of this research is to produce a qualitative analysis of how masculinity and femininity (female/male) affects children/adolescent academic performance in public schools, with the ultimate aim of addressing this issue and narrow the gender gap relate to academic performances. For this purpose I analyzed six advocacy organizations: UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women); Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization); USAID (United States Agency for International Development); Unicef (United Nations Children’s Fund); NCWGE (National coalition for women and girls in education). These organizations provide insight into some of the most recent approaches to gender stereotype gaps to date. To better understand how gender stereotypes impact academic performances in public schools, I created a coding scheme based on current literature. The major themes coded in this analysis include: the purpose of the organization, female stereotypes and male stereotypes, why gender stereotype is a problem, magnitude of stereotype, and ways to deconstruct stereotypes. After an initial reading of the scholarly articles was performed, I paid careful attention to the larger purpose and to implications for practice on both the individual and organizational level of these scholarly articles relate to female-male gender stereotypes. After all content was coded, I identified major findings and implications for improving practice of gender stereotypes in public schools. 

Findings, Recommendations, and Remaining Questions

Equality is the main goal of society, therefore, in this article, I analyzed five advocacy organizations that focus on educating the young (child/adolescents in some case young adults). For this purpose, I analyzed five advocacy organizations that are implementing ideas in favor of gender equality. I analyzed each organization and conclude that each of them should include; the purpose which they are advocating for, what is the problem, differences in gender stereotypes between females and males, the magnitude of gender stereotypes, and how they can deconstruct the stereotype. Below, I establish an analyzed of the five major categories of my coding scheme and conclude with future research questions and directions.   

There are different ways in which the organizations are addressing female/male gender stereotypes. The purpose of these organizations are different but similar, in other words, they promote the female/male gender stereotype in different ways but they all have the same intentions. Some of them (UN Women, Unesco, and NCWGE) promote gender equality throughput women’s empowerment, however, USAID and Unicef are promoting equal education for children at a disadvantage. Also, organization defines gender stereotypes problems in different ways. Problem variate from boys/men do not understand their roles in promoting girls/women empowerment, girls in school do not have the same opportunity as boys to choose their education path, girls who do not have access to education are dropping out of school or are fighting to stay in school, gap between different groups of children, failing of the government on implementing issues regulating education. Therefore, this advocacy organizations also see female/male gender stereotype differently. This include barriers such as: work segregation, discrimination against girls/women, bias, social norms and expectations, unequeal treatment and sexual harasssment. Most of the advocacy organizations have a similar definition of the magnitude of gender stereotypes. UN Women and Unicef say that the magnitude of gender stereotype is the implementation of political, economic and regional decision-making, whether, USAID and NCWGE say that careers and future jobs are the magnitudes of gender stereotypes, where more years of education and access to technical occupations can help decrease the wage gap between females and males, Unesco says that STEM careers are the jobs of the future. Thus, there are many ways in which gender stereotype gaps could be addressed, most of the organizations believe that advocacy for the use of policy, institutional environment and legislation could  favor of gender equality and equal treatment for girls and boys; also the implementation of better school programs for example engaging girls/women in participating and continue with careers in the STEM field, better reading programs, teacher training activities to improve an equitable treatment to girls and boys, vocational and technical skills, and more. Basically, with the implementation of better policies and a strong educational program for the students and the teacher, gender stereotypes could decrease dramatically, which conduct to gender equality. 

Future Research related to gender stereotype and academic performances in needed. The main goal is to live in a society with gender equality for all residents. Through this analysis, we can see how important it is to teach younger generations about gender stereotype and it is consequences. This project is only a first step in better understanding and addressing these issues. More research on this topic is needed.  Further analysis should include advocacy organizations relate to parenting style, how parenting style is affecting the way a child is experiencing gender stereotypes. Also, more research has to be done in terms of location, even though some organizations are multi-countries organization; advocacy organization should focus on the consequence of global stereotype and how less developed countries are different than more developed countries in terms of gender stereotypes. 



Twitter: @LeonDenissa  

Denissa Estevez De Leon is an undergraduate senior student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and will obtain her Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology in Spring 2020. Denissa’s current goal is to attend medical school and pursue her dream of becoming a Psychiatrist, therefore she would be able to mentally help her community since there is a lot of stigma about mental illness in her community (Latino Community). She is interested in the mental health field; gender equality activities, and human rights movements. Thus, she is currently seeking internships and job opportunities that help her build the base and foundation for her future career. Her hobbies are reading, writing, painting, photography, traveling, and visit different places around New York City and other places she had visited around the world. She engages in those hobbies because it would give her the inside and outside knowledge that she needs to interact with the world and people of different backgrounds; which is essential to understand the mental condition of an individual.

Title: Not an Object: Sexualization of Women and Girls in the Media

Author: Karina Gopeesingh


Sexualization of women and girls in the media is essentially the process of women and girls being made sexual objects through the power of the media. Sexualization can take a toll on the mental health of women and girls, causing them to have negative emotions about themselves in addition to viewing themselves the way the media portrays them. Advocacy organizations have begun to treat sexualization as a flaw of society and created action plans to combat it. These organizations operate to  change the way women and girls are depicted in the media. Research on this topic is limited; however, the existing scholarship primarily explores the relationship between media sexualization and mental health outcomes. To fill the gaps in scholarship, researching advocacy organization is important, as these organizations take the initiative to ignite that spark in others who are passionate about combating the sexualization of women and girls in the media.

How Scholars Study Sexualization in Women and Girls:

Scholars study sexualization of women and girls in the media by arguing that it leads to public health implications (Aubrey, J. S., Henson, J. R., Hopper, K. M., & Smith, S. E. , 2009; Clark, L., & Tiggemann, M., 2008; Davis, S. E., 2018; Gapinski, K. D., Brownell, K. D., & LaFrance, M., 2003; Grabe, S., & Hyde, J. S., 2009; Harper, B., & Tiggemann, M., 2007; Morry, M. M., & Staska, S. L., 2001). Through the lens of sexual objectification/sexualization in the media, women and girls are at risk of disruption in mental health. Women and girls are victims of sexual objectification and this often leads them to begin to objectify themselves in the same way. For example, caring more about their appearance and being dissatisfied with their own body (Clark, L., & Tiggemann, M., 2008;Harper, B., & Tiggemann, M., 2007; Morry, M. M., & Staska, S. L., 2001) . In the media, there is a common theme of what the “ideal” woman should look like, whether it be in magazines, television, music, etc. Women and girls internalize these “perfect” women and if they don’t match, they begin to see themselves in a negative way. 

The implications of mental health include, but are not limited to, self-objectification, body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, anxiety, low confidence, and eating disorders (Aubrey, J. S., Henson, J. R., Hopper, K. M., & Smith, S. E. , 2009; Clark, L., & Tiggemann, M., 2008; Gapinski, K. D., Brownell, K. D., & LaFrance, M., 2003; Grabe, S., & Hyde, J. S., 2009; Harper, B., & Tiggemann, M., 2007; Morry, M. M., & Staska, S. L., 2001). Media greatly influences the onset  of these mental health problems in women and girls and continues to contribute to women being self-conscious and unhappy with themselves. Using different experimental techniques and questionnaires, scholars are able to determine that media is in fact a large factor in both the sexualization of women and girls as well as the mental health issues that are consequences of it.

My Approach to Studying Advocacy Organizations

To better understand efforts to address the sexualization of women and girls, I analyzed the following advocacy organizations working to mitigate sexualization of women and girls: About Face, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Girls Inc, Media Smarts, YWCA Metro Vancouver and SPARK. These organizations provide insight as to how sexualization of women and girls affect their health and how they are advocating against it as well as for women and girls. To analyze these efforts, I created a coding system that was based on  how each advocacy organization defines the problem, what each organization has to offer in terms of raising awareness, strategies for change, and educational programs such as social media workshops, youth workshops and adult workshops for women, girls and parents. This analysis allowed me to make recommendations to address the sexualization of women and girls and improve public health implications.

Findings, Recommendations and Remaining Questions:

My primary findings support  the idea that organizations need to have ways to implement change, raise awareness and provide ways to empower both youth and adults in the issue, media literacy and advocating against sexualization. Each organization developed some definition as to what sexualization in media is and how it affects women and girls. The definitions provided by the organizations are consistent  with their actions for advocacy and prevention. For example, YWCA Metro Vancouver recognizes sexualization in the media as : “the narrow, often unattainable standards for female attractiveness…” and “female sexual objectification involves a woman being viewed primarily as an object of sexual desire, rather than as a whole person.” I found that all six organizations have someway of raising awareness to have their views and goals heard in an attempt to get more people to join their advocacy. Blog posts, social media posts, and published articles seemed to be the most common trend amongst these organizations. By varying their awareness methods, they are able to reach more people across a multitude of platforms which seems to be effective considering these organizations conduct them all over the country. Increasing advocacy, conducting research and calling for media literacy are the three main strategies for change that these organizations suggest. Increasing advocacy calls for more attention to the issues and gets more people to be involved in the cause. Research gives advocates a reason to keep fighting as it provides the evidence that sexualization of women and girls in the media are detrimental to the way they continue to develop. Media literacy is also important due to the way it provides youth with how to effectively and cautiously use social media, to ensure that women and girls are aware of media messages and how to filter out toxicity. Finally, social media, youth and adults are the factors that these organizations chose to focus on when creating education programs in order to create a stronger resistance against the media and ultimately against sexualization.  Social Media About Face has Workshop and Social Media Workshop, serving as an introduction to the media and how to decode, resist and question the media and allow for learning how to thoughtfully use social media and the effects on teens. Media Smarts has Media Literacy Week: Break the Fake, to help stop the spread of false information online and provide additional tips on how to be smart about the media. Youth A trending theme between the organizations is having youth programs participate in advocacy work such as research, conferences and after school programs which help build their voice and aid in their development. Adult These organizations also include parents by teaching them similarly way to youth, making them versed in what is going on, and how they can be apart of the fight to help.

There are numerous directions that can be explored surrounding the sexualization of women and girls. For instance, there can be further research done on campaigns or what being a part of programs help supplement. Using interviews or being part of the movements, can help open up research opportunities and provide analytical answers for a better understanding. Future research should address the following critical questions: Why are organizations limited on their educational programs and advocacy actions? How can the media be restricted and influenced as to not contribute to sexualizing women and girls? What are the public’s views on the issue of sexualization and what recommendations do they have to combat it? How effective are these programs that are put in place by advocacy organizations? Ultimately, advocacy organizations have the potential to address the pervasiveness of sexualization in the media which will have positive impacts for both individuals and social structures. Through advocacy organizations and using their current and future efforts, they can theoretically influence the mitigation of sexualization of women and girls in the media.


Karina Gopeesingh


Twitter: @KGopeesingh

Karina Gopeesingh is an undergraduate student in the major of Forensic Psychology with a minor in counseling. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Spring of 2021, Karina plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Masters of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Counseling. As she continues with her education, she is looking for internships and research opportunities in different fields that could give her insight and experience to different ways she can use her degree. Upon completing her education and obtaining her degree, Karina intends to become a licensed forensic mental health counselor and work with young children and adolescents.

Title: Relations between the  New York City Police Department and LGBTQ Community 

Author: Nicholas Hutchinson 


The riots at the  Stone Wall Inn in New York City is known as one of the most influencial events in the gay rights history. Police officials having a long standing stance of not admitting police error in the altercation, which has always left stalwart between the department and those in the LGBTQ community that has persisted throughout the years.  (Gold, Norman 2019) The purpose of my research is to examine this relationship through analysis of policy and procedure of the department. To find evidence in reports from other organizations who job it is to detail wrongdoing or procedural inefficiency. That further details the history, prevalence, and questions that have still left unanswered and recommendations on creating change. 

How Scholars Study LGBTQ and Law Enforcement Relations   

To examine  the relations between the NYPD and LGBT community,  should begin with that of its history, this is integral in creating policies that will be beneficial to all sides involved. The history has been quite tumultuous, police have always viewed the LGBTQ community as indecent, and this indecency has played a role in their treatment of the community. In recent history there has been a change however, where police departments across the county have now used the media to help promote an LGBTQ friendly image. (A, 2014)  This opinion has widely been held by that of government as well, for a long period in American History that has created a criminalization of the community as a whole. This negative views by government has created laws that have armed police forces nationwide and have led to injustices physical and nonphysical in nature. Their needs to be an elimination of these injustices that can only be accomplished in widespread change in policy, making these actions illegal. (Shree, 2018). 

Let’s examine recent injustices the LGBTQ community have received by the hands of law enforcement, data proports that “harassment and discrimination is greatest for LBTQ people of color, transgender persons and youths. LGBTQ survivors who reported crimes to police 48% percent complained they experience mistreatment. Which included unjustified arrest, use of excessive force, and entrapment. (Mallory, 2015). This treatment has directly affected the perception of those in LGBTQ community. Perception of police by minority groups have always been negative. However,  a survey done by (Owen, 2018) asks non LGBTQ and LGBT there perception of the police, and the results showed the LGBTQ participants had a significantly negative view of the police, and those who were of color was even lower. The survey purpose was to find out what would help with interaction between the LGBTQ community and Law enforcement and the answer was a softening in the approach of law enforcement.

         Another question needs to be asked is how police officers  who are members of the LGBTQ community treated or perceived?  This is important because if those members of the rank and file are being treated unfairly. There is no way that the laws enforcement can improve the way it treats LGBTQ outside the force. Police officers who identify themselves as female and lesbian are automatically seen as masculine while those who identify themselves as male and homosexual are hypersexualized and seen as feminine. Most were told they could not wear uniforms while attending LGBTQ conferences, and thought that although there were 

Research Sketch

The goal of this research is to produce a qualitative analysis that will examine the relationship between the New York City Police Department and the  LGBTQ Community. I have analyzed the following documents :NYC’s DOI report on the issue(2017), The NYC Police Department’s response(2018), Department of Civilian Complaint Review Board LGBTQ complaints Report from 2010 – 2015, Report on Stop and Frisk done by the Center for Constitutional Rights (2012), and NYPD’s LGBTQ Outreach Unit information pamphlet. These documents have highlighted the current and past approach  of the New York City Police Department in dealing with the LGBTQ community. I have created a coding scheme based on these sources, to highlight the major themes I have found. These themes will help aide in not only recognizing current procedure, but also point to procedural and policy actions that are needed in the improvement in relations between both communities. Text from these documents were placed in the categorical coding scheme using Microsoft Excel. 

Findings, Recommendations, and Remaining Questions


 Four major categories have guided this analysis; Motivation, Problem  Recognition, Ongoing efforts, and Agency or Organization Recommendation.  Motivation is the reason or reasons the agency has created the data source. The CCRB motivation is to report apparent patterns of misconduct, relevant issues and policy matters to the Police Commissioner and the public.Problem Definition or Recognition of the problem; identifies the issues the organizations or agencies have found between the NYPD had the LGBTQ community. Center for Constitutional Rights found that police officers unfairly targeted the LGBTQ for their gender expression and non-gender conforming. Transgender women were profiled by the NYPD for offenses such as loitering for the purposes of prostitution  and other sexaul offenses as well as other crimes. The descrimination does not stop there trangender women when arrested are often placed in cells with cis gnder men. Ongoing efforts points to Procedure and Policy currently in effect to bring about change in Relations. It is the NYC DOI mission to give access to city documents and workers and information, the power to subpoena documents, and take testimony under oath Rooting out all corruption in city government. . Agency or Organization recommendation is central to analysis it gives a full picture of the policy problem, the recommendations is the final step in the analysis.  Giving further direction to not only understanding the problems but gives a method on how to fix it. Making sure body cams have audio helps when complaints are filed to have an independent to verify all sides of the story. Expert audits of complaints, in service train via webinar so all officers can receive it, and all handouts consistent throughout the entire department regarding LGBT issues.  


Through further analysis of this study,  several issues have been exposed. First, in efforts to address the need to assess acquired knowledge, pre and post test material specific to LGBTQ affirming interactions should be administered. By administering pre and post test, this allows for better evaluation of knowledge learned.  Next, the patrol guidelines are only mandatory to those who are either in the academy or an officer who has just received a promotion. Meaning those who are not promoted or are new to the force do not receive the training. Instead they receive a 15 minute in service training that is only administered when the captain of the presint ask for it.. Furthermore, with the training being only 15 minutes,  officers are not learning anything from this training. No one is tracking the effectiveness of the implementation and education of the training. An independent body collecting information to this regard is integral to the success of the patrol guidelines. In addition to this, a more comprehensive series of classes, with more detailed training on culture and vocabulary would serve the officers best. 

Remaining Questions 

While the analysis have gives some details and insight  to some of the policies and procedures that has plagued the relations between the New York City Police Department and the LGBTQ community there is still much to be done.  We have not talked about or discuss the culture inside of the NYPD, and how a change of perspective can have a positive effect on relations. Furthermore, could the size of the department be the reason why there are so many issues in the way in which it treats the LGBTQ community, and not understanding how important implementing and 2012 patrol guides is.. A comparison between it and departments small and large across the country and the world could give some insight on what it is doing wrong and how to fix it. 


Nicholas Hutchinson 


Twitter: @Nichola36720306 

Nicholas Hutchinson who has already earned an associated from the Borough of Manhattan Community College where he graduated with distinction. Is a Senior at the John Jay College, who will earn his bachelor’s in public administration in Fall 2019. He then will be continuing his education at John Jay college where he Graduate, he will be working towards a master’s in public administration with a concentration in Public Policy and Public Management. In Grad school along with studying issues involving Public Policy and Public management, he hopes to join the research team where he will hone his kill in research. He currently works as a purchasing agent at Public Resources Advisory Group, Inc. for the last 15 years. Public Resources Advisory Group is the No.2 Financial Advisory firm in the country, with clients such as the City and State of New York.  His responsibilities there is include but are not limited to maintaining several databases daily and making sure professional are equipped with the tools they need assisting our clients for their individual financial needs.

Title: Improving policies for providing adequate lactation accommodations at the workplace 

Author: Mariana Silfa

Introduction (Description of topic, importance, how you study, implications)  

This analysis explores the importance of creating breastfeeding facilities for lactating women at the workplace. It examines the policies put in place, the benefits of providing adequate space and time, and how to change supervising managers’ perception on allowing the time needed. Within this analysis will find that at all these organizations and local governments at the root want to be able to provide mothers a safe space at work where they can be able to pump without the worry of losing their job.  

Scholars Approach:  2 paragraphs 

Within my research I found that the policies and laws were put in place to protect mothers and babies, but most importantly improve public health. These policies and laws protect mothers from losing their jobs and giving them the right to take breaks to pump at work without stigma and the fear or losing their jobs.  

The Lit Reviews focused more on how having a workplace that providing accommodations for pumping breast milk has proven overall health benefits and increased work morale. They show the benefits for both the mothers and employers, it has proven reduction in employee absenteeism, increased employee retention, increased employee loyalty and healthcare cost savings. 

My Approach:  

My Approach to studying the need to make accommodations for breastfeeding mothers at work is to produce a qualitative analysis of lactation accommodations in New York CIty agencies. I analyzed the following legislation and guiding documents: local laws 185 and 186 created by The NYC Commission of Human Rights and text from Fair Labor Standard Act created by the U.S. Department of Labor.

These documents provide employers with the legal requirements and best practices ensuring that employers are in accordance with the New York City Human Rights Law that provides lactation accommodations to employees.

To better understand how local agencies are addressing  lactation issues in the workplace through formal workplace policy, I created a coding scheme based on current literature. The major themes coded in this analysis include:

–  Required organizational support for lactation at work 

–  Employees’ perceptions of lactation  support –        

–  Accomodations for pumping and physical facilities for pumping at work 

After reading the local laws and academic articles, I paid careful attention to the larger purpose and the implications of these practices on both the individual and organizational level of these articles and policies. Text from these documents allowed me to identify areas in need of  improvement and implications if employees are not supported in the workplace.

Findings, Recommendations, and Remaining Questions

Within my findings I learned that many breastfeeding mothers are not able to continue to breastfeed after returning to work due to not having the right support from managers, no workplace policies in place that require management to provide space and time for expressing milk and pressure of not being seen as a slacker at work. Although local government have created laws that protect lactating mothers not all employers are organizations dedicated to the breastfeeding movement have created language around supporting breastfeeding mothers at the workplace. The department of health and the CDC are always putting out information about the important’ of breastmilk and the nutrients it provides against common childhood illnesses and infections. Breast Milk is able to provide babies with the mother’s antibodies, protecting the baby from getting ill. 

In the effort of creating safe spaces from breastfeeding mothers; they are now requiring companies to create infrastructures and time allowance in the hopes of supporting mothers to continue to breastfeed pass their maternity leave. The US Department of Health and Human Services research states that the incidence and severity of many infectious diseases is significantly decreased in breastfed infants compared to infants fed commercially made infant formula. While the National Center for Biotechnology Information research stated that many women that plan on going back to work full-time never attempt to breastfeed due to the lack of support and protection at the workplace.

A workplaces providing accommodations for have breastfeeding have had proven health benefits and increased work morale. The analysis shows the benefits for both mothers and employers, which attributes to reduction in employee absenteeism, increased employee retention, increased employee loyalty and healthcare cost savings.

Although there are policies in place, there are still significant gaps in knowledge and support surrounding breastfeeding in the workplace. There needs to be more research into how are breastfeeding groups that include non-cis gendered women, women who work on the road and in the service industry. the economic impact of breastfeeding on employers; the cost of having best practices for management that are in support of breastfeeding. In conclusion,  

Bio: Mariana Silfa

Email: mariana.silfa@jjay.cuny.edy

Twitter @silfamariana

Mariana is currently a senior at John Jay college with a major in Public Administration. She has been working at City Harvest since 2008. In the past eleven years, she has done everything from providing customer service to more than 400 partner soup kitchens and food pantries, to running the organization’s food distribution allocation system. She currently leads City Harvest’s agency capacity assessment and building work as a Senior Manager on our Agency Operations team. As part of City Harvest’s bold strategic plan that sees City Harvest  rescuing and delivering 75 million pounds of food annually by 2022, Mariana is leading the charge in understanding and increasing capacity at agencies so they can receive more rescued food. Marians is working on innovative and diverse strategies in order to distribute more food efficiently and build a more sustainable, equitable food system. Since taking on the role of Senior Manager, Network Capacity Compliance in Fiscal Year 2018, Mariana has led many client choice conversions, agency makeovers and neighborhood sponsorship opportunities.

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Blog Miscellaneous

Deborah Koetzle: Above and Beyond, Thirty Remarkable Women.

Women in the Public Sector (WPS),  would like to congratulate Dr. Deborah Koetzle, Executive Officer of the Doctoral Program, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, for being honored in the ‘Above and Beyond List’, which places a spotlight on thirty remarkable women in education, health, labor, law/lobbying, government, and real estate. Please see her biographical sketch below and read more about the accomplishments of other NYC women who received this honor.

Spotlighting Dr. Koetzle’s Contributions

Some academics spend the bulk of their careers in research labs and classrooms, but Deborah Koetzle takes her work out into the field, working around the world to help fight recidivism.

“I’m fortunate to be among that group that gets their hands dirty,” Koetzle says. “I’m hoping to make a difference … (by) helping to bridge that gap between research and practice.”

Koetzle has been brought in as a consultant to improve corrections programs in New York and beyond. She also trains staffers how to assess an individual’s likelihood of reoffending and most significant risk factors – insight that can be used to create targeted treatment and supervision plans.

She helped to develop and secure funding for a specialized probation program for 16- to 24-year-olds in New York City, and she is currently working with El Salvador’s prison system to help improve the severe overcrowding there.

In graduate school, Koetzle did an internship at a state prison and saw firsthand how many prisoners had become trapped by bad decisions and difficult circumstances. Helping them, she knew, would help their communities as well.

“There are such a number of collateral effects that extend beyond the individual,” she says.

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Blog Miscellaneous

Please Welcome Our Two Newest Members!

Stephanie Jaquez     

Stephanie Jaquez is third year Master of Public Administration student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, specializing in Investigation and Operational Inspection. After her first year in the MPA program, Stephanie was welcomed by CUNY School of Law as a dual degree student. Now entering her third year of law school she has served on the executive boards of the Latin Law Student Association as the Scholarship Chair and Parents Attending Law School as the Events Coordinator. Stephanie has interned at the Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice where she gained courtroom and investigation exposure. This past summer Stephanie presented to an audience of law students and professors at the National Lawyers Guild Law for the People Convention in Washington, DC where she discussed racial and gender disparities in the legal profession. Upon graduating, Stephanie hopes to obtain a position in an Inspector General’s office as legal counsel, apply for a PhD program and launch a nonprofit organization for young women in her community.

Shanelle Greenidge

Shanelle Greenidge is a graduate student in the Masters of Pubic Administration (Public Policy and Administration) with a specialization in Management and Operation. She has earned an Associate in Science and Bachelor of Science at CUNY Medgar Evers College with Cum Laude degree honors. During her undergraduate career, she has gained experience working with New York State and City organizations on projects to enhance methods in which public service is provided. These government entities include the Kings County Clerk, New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Transit, and New York City Department of Information, Technology and Telecommunications. Upon graduating, she intends to pursue a doctorate degree in Organizational Theory and a long term administrative career in operations within a government agency.

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Blog Miscellaneous

Home-Based Care Sector Needs Innovation and Policy Supports To Raise Job Quality For Working Women

a woman in yellow cardigan preparing a food while an elderly man sitting on the side
by Dr.Elizabeth Nisbet and Dr. Jennifer Craft Morgan:

In New York State, many women, often people of color and immigrants, work as personal care or home health aides to care for persons with chronic illness, disability or dementia who need assistance with daily living tasks. Over 300,000 of these women hold a job largely financed with public funds and in some cases, as direct government employees.

The majority of home-based care services in the U.S. is funded by public sources including Medicaid and Medicare. These jobs are usually low wage, high demand with poor working conditions and few opportunities for advancement. They also exemplify two trends in the workforce that help explain the situation of many low-income working women today: occupational segregation, or the overrepresentation of certain groups of workers in certain jobs, and growth of low-wage work in the service sector. According to PHI, nearly 90% of home care aides are women; well over half are women of color and aged 45 or above. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate their median pay in 2016 was $10.60 per hour, while the occupation is projected to grow 40% by 2026. However, public policy is changing aide pay in some places. For example, home health aides working for larger New York City-based agencies must earn $13 an hour plus benefits (as of December, 2017). Recent national legislation (2016) also afforded many aides nationwide first-time rights to overtime pay, rights that New York aides have enjoyed under a more limited law already.

Our recent study in the Journal of Applied Gerontology examines the experiences of these aides highlighting the difficulty getting enough work hours or maintaining a stable schedule. This problem has been well-documented for restaurant and retail workers, but it looks different for care aides, whose schedules depend on the needs of low resource clients, Medicaid or Medicare policy changes, and on decisions made by employing agencies.

Our interviews with 30 people in 17 agencies who hire aides and assign schedules focused on how labor and health care policy affect employer practices. Interview participants believed Medicaid policy change had, at least in the short term, shortened visits to patients and reduced the number of patients, which made it harder to create good schedules. They reported that aides wanted more hours. They were cutting back on overtime and reorganizing schedules to respond to regulations about overtime and pay for time traveling to homes, because they said the current structure of health care funding did not cover those costs (since then, the state provided some funds to Medicaid plans that are intended to address this). There were also changes to the way round-the-clock care was authorized so that people stayed 24 hours in a home and were paid 13, instead of working one of two 12-hour shifts.

Some innovative employers were adopting new ways to improve job satisfaction and provide steady work, such as hiring an aide to work in the office who could go out on short-notice visits, hiring mentors to help new hires, and finding new ways schedulers and aides could work together. Some aides working for more than one unionized agency may also pool hours to gain enough time to receive health care benefits.

In the restaurant and retail sectors, some workers desiring better schedules are benefiting from state laws related to scheduling notification or call-in or send-home practices. Policies like this could be helpful to care workers too, but care work presents different challenges: income can be dramatically affected by a patient’s death, change in health, or sudden admission to the hospital, and total work hours are limited by what public programs will authorize. As this occupation grows, continued attention to how policy and employer innovations can serve care aides, their patients, and their employers is needed.

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About the author:

Dr. Elizabeth Nisbet is an Assistant Professor of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Her research focuses on public and private sector responsibilities for public services and labor markets, and on how labor, health, and immigration policies affect both public services and low-wage work.

About the author:

Dr. Jennifer Craft Morgan is an Assistant Professor in the Gerontology Institute at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta. Her primary research interest is in workforce studies within health care organizations. She has led six major funded projects evaluating the impact of career ladder, continuing education and financial incentive workforce development programs on health care worker outcomes, quality of care outcomes and perceived return on investment for health care organizations and educational partners. She has published and presented widely in both scholarly and practice-based outlets. Her work seeks to tie research, education and service together by focusing on the translation of lessons learned. This translation of research into lessons and tools serves to help stakeholders, such as employers, program implementers, and workers, to build evidence- based solutions to pressing problems.

Blog Miscellaneous

Gender Disparities with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

shallow focus photography of microscope
by Tyresa Jackson:

Starting in elementary school, the importance of increasing cultural and gender competence is an integral part of developing students’ confidence to pursue studies in fields deemed challenging, like mathematics and the sciences.  In particular, there are large disparities in the number of African-American women pursing an education and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related fields.  These disparities demonstrate a larger problem within education standards, gender bias and stereotypes. 

Dr. Chandra Prescod-Weinstein is the 63rd African-American woman to attain a doctorate in physics. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein specializes in theoretical physics, and further reading raised a few questions:  What are astrophysicists, and why are there a small number of African-American women for who attain PhDs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related fields?  Both globally and domestically, there are major differences in girls educated in STEM[Office1] .  [NE2] 

According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, fifty-seven percent of bachelor degrees earned in all fields were earned by women, however, nineteen percent of bachelor’s degree within engineering were earned by women, compared to eighty-one percent of men.  Further, thirty-nine percent of physics degrees were earned by women compared to sixty-one percent of men.

Girls in STEM

Gender disparities between boys and girls pursuing STEM related courses is evident starting in primary school and are due to an array of factors, including societal, familial, and cultural influences.  Although, access to education for women and girls have improved globally, disparities in the access to a basic education still persist, thereby influencing the gender gap in STEM education.

To demonstrate, a study conducted in the United Kingdom, found at ages ten to eleven both boys and girls equally engaged in STEM education (75% of boys and 72% of girls), and reported learning interesting things in science.  Later, at the age of eighteen, these numbers changed to 33% of boys and 19% of girls learning something interesting things in science (UNESCO, 2017). 

Within the United States, disparities in STEM span across both gender and racial lines[Office3] .  For example, in the American College Testing (ACT) publication—The Condition of STEM 2016, it reported 30,057 African American students tested in mathematics, science and STEM; of those students tested, twenty-five percent met ACT college math readiness standards, twenty-two percent met ACT science college readiness standards, and nine percent met ACT college STEM readiness standards.  Comparatively, 23,102 Asian-American students took the ACT, and eighty percent met ACT college readiness standards, sixty-eight percent met ACT science college readiness standards, and fifty-four percent met ACT STEM college readiness standards. 

On balance, in total, there were 162,878 male test takers, and forty-one percent met ACT STEM college readiness standards.  Moreover, in total, there were 185,769 female test takers, and twenty-six percent met ACT STEM college readiness standards.

African American Girls in STEM

Over the past century, African-American women have made great strides in STEM related careers, including Katherine Johnson, a mathematician at NASA, Mae Jemison-NASA astronaut, engineer, and physician, and now, Chandra Prescod-Weinstein, a physicist.  Despite these advances, African-American women continue to fall behind their counterparts in pursuing STEM related education and careers[Office4] .  According to the National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources and Statistics, in 2006, one percent of African-American women were employed as scientist and engineers compared.

Studies have found that African-American and Hispanic girls say they have an interest in STEM, but have less exposure, less adult support, lower academic achievement, and are more aware of gender barriers.  Also, once an African-American student is identified as low performing, they are tracked from primary through secondary education, and placed in lower-level courses (DeSena & Ansalone, 2009; “Teaching Inequity”, 1989). Furthermore, social science has found internalizing gender stereotypes of being insufficient, leads to low performance in STEM courses (Girls Scouts of the USA/Girl Scout Research Institute, 2012).

If we are to increase the likelihood of more African American women attaining a PhD in physics or other STEM related fields we must cultivate an educational environment that increases intellectual aptitude by incorporating calculus, chemistry, physics as part of the mandatory curriculum starting in primary education. 

With the support of family, teachers, and positive adults, African-American girls, and girls throughout the world can dismember negative stereotypes and cultivate a generation of women scientist and mathematicians[Office5] .  Teachers and faculty alike, starting from elementary through post-secondary must provide additional supports (e.g., STEM afterschool programs and culturally competent class material); further, recruiting more women teacher of diverse cultures who are educated in a STEM related field, in, turn, removes the stigma girls are not smart enough.

The importance of encouraging African-American girls and women to pursue STEM related fields, in turn, can increase their representation in higher education.  Additionally, in higher education many students of color face difficulties completing math and science courses, and therefore, diversifying curriculum development and implementation can bring forth unique ways to teach African-American students, and other students of color, for example, using pedagogy.    

To conclude, parents and caretakers alike are encouraged to place children in STEM after-school programs and summer camps, which increases intellectual abilities-critical thinking, mathematics skills, and reading. Gender equity begins with simple words of encouragement and supporting girls by allowing them to take challenging math and science course along with having tutoring and additional systems. 

Pasted below, are STEM programs parents and caretakers alike can place their children within.

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About the author:

Tyresa Jackson is a graduate student in the Masters of Public Administration program (Public Policy and Administration), with a specialization in law and administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Prior to matriculating into John Jay College of Criminal Justice, she earned a Bachelor of Art in International Political Economy and Diplomacy with a minor in Mass Communications from the University of Bridgeport.  

While living in Bridgeport, Connecticut, she served on the Juvenile Review Board, which provided restorative justice recommendations to at-risk-youth in the Bridgeport community.  Later, she moved to Chicago, where she served as a board member on Illinois Collaboration on Youth Advisory Board (ICOY).  Her passions include, closing the education-to-prison pipeline, education reform, and increasing the number of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, volunteering, and participating in 5K runs.

Blog Miscellaneous


By Gina Oritz:

“Cheers!” “ Cheers to what!?” My dear friend Koso exclaimed climbing onto the side of the bar to join in the celebratory happy hour. “Cheers to all women who despite however many interviews they go on, no matter how much institutional bias they face, may they never lose sight of their dreams!” “You can say that again! Cheers!” We shared.

Koso has been on the job hunt for 3 months now, embarked upon 6 interviews thus far, 2 secondary interviews and still, no callbacks. In one interview she was asked about whether or not she had an adequate childcare arrangement, in another she was asked if her religious beliefs and political stance on abortion would influence her capabilities of remaining neutral in the workplace. Furthermore, what could a woman like her offer that the majority of other applicants bring to the table? A woman like her? Talk about poor choice of words.

“I am ready for a challenge, more money, more social capital, more learning experiences in the field, I am eager and very communicative to employers on my willingness to learn, grow, succeed why can’t they see that!?” Koso questioned. Case management has always been one of the most rewarding yet exhausting jobs Koso and I ever endured in our careers thus far. I was fortunate enough to have moved on 6 years ago while Koso remained with the company and continues to work there today.

Authenticity is the quality of being real, genuine, and worthy of acceptance.  If we truly, deeply, sincerely, take the time to nurture our true sense of self and stand up against institutional bias with confidence, we can challenge the misperception of women everywhere one beautiful soul at a time. How? By taking care of ourselves, building up our self confidence by any means and bringing those around us up with us! 70% of women refrain from applying to jobs they are interested in because they simply feel they don’t fit every single requirement listed in the job description; however, most qualification listings are mere desired qualifications and not always written in stone. Women are consistently holding themselves back from success! In light of not being our own enemy, I say believe in yourself, believe and turn everyone into believers! Apply, apply, apply!  

Institutional bias is a disease that manifests into endless forms and for some may be a matter of perception but women everywhere need to face it head on and defy those odds by putting their best foot forward no matter what, but always remember to be Be-You-tiful! Here are some practical tips:

  • Apply to every job you know you’ll serve as an essential asset to regardless of the extended requirements.
  • Be your own cheerleader, sometimes our circumstances call for nothing more than faith in who we are but more importantly, who we wish to be, disregard any outside commentary that have the potential to tamper with your confidence, be-you-tiful!
  • Always dress for success and be mindful of how you introduce yourself to the world! Confidence and class with a hint of undeniable determination never hurt anyone. Be assertive, knowledgeable of all the latest policies, procedures and recent legislation that ultimately weighs in our favor such as it is no longer legal to inquire about our prior salaries. This policy challenges the potential for gender bias when discussing desired salary amounts at point of interview or later.
  • Take advantage of professional social media accounts, seek new connections and network!
  • Always have an end in mind! (Ask yourself, where / who do you want to be!)You cannot deny a woman who knows exactly what she wants.
  • Master time management! If you are like me, our ambitions can often build up beyond our time capacity but with effective time management we can do it all! Yes we Can!              -Gina Ortiz

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About the author:

Gina Ortiz is a graduate assistant with Women in The Public Sector at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and passionate advocate for Gender equality, personal & intersocietal empowerment and leadership through opportunity for women everywhere.

Blog Miscellaneous

In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month Commissioner Ana Bermudez

On September 26, 2017 Women in the Public Sector at John Jay College collaborated with the Office of External Affairs to host Commissioner Ana Bermudez of the New York City Department of Probation. John Jay College met Commissioner Ana Bermudez and in turn provided students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to learn more about her work and inspiration behind her work within the juvenile justice system, trial work, collaborative efforts with ACS, probation policy and planning all while serving as the first female Latina leader of the agency. This discussion also stood as a platform for students to learn more about how to go about overcoming social bias in and out the work place, what it means to be   authentic as a professional, leader, or a woman of society today, career planning, governmental opportunities for students, the significance of teamwork at any level of success, and so much more.  Below WPS student team members Gina Ortiz, Danny Ovando, Uroosa Malik, Matthew Lynch share what their highlights and responses to the discussion with Commissioner Bermudez. 

Ana Bermudez was the most honest, forthcoming and inspirational speaker I have ever had the honor of witnessing! Through the words of her mother, Commissioner Bermudez shared, “the key to happiness and success is by praising one’s unique sense of self, that is authenticity”. As Commissioner Bermudez broke down the distinction between being the leader and the boss, we learned teamwork and mentorship is critical to organizational success at any level of authority because no matter how wonderful or skillful we are, we will never be able to carry out success alone. She began her opening remarks by stating, beyond many of her professional achievements as a successful woman in the field of Probation and Juvenile Justice, she is also the first lesbian woman leader to make a difference and that is a liberating and proud cornerstone to her daily life that she will never take for granted and proudly seeks to pave the way of strength for those who struggle with bias intended to limit their success. Her message to those who fear homophobia, sexism, social bias in the workforce, guess what, you are going to encounter bias, judgement, criticism but you must always love yourself enough to flourish in a place where you are respected, valued, and invested for the individual in you. Now that is authentic! Thank you, Commissioner Bermudez!                                  

– Gina Ortiz

 The impactful portion of Commissioner Bermudez’s discussion was inspiring. She took the initiative to address a negative and critical aspect of our criminal justice system.  As an advocate for change, Ana Bermudez supported the establishment of a new law that prohibits individuals under the age of 18 to be tried as adults. This new policy provides minors with a platform that promotes educational opportunities, life coaching, and goal oriented seminars. Commissioner Bermudez stated that “the goal will not be to complete probation, but to focus on a future worth living.” Such a restorative approach to this type of injustice will help reduce the high recidivism rate that our country currently faces.

Commissioner Bermudez’s restorative changes will apply to all individuals regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, religious preference, and all other attributions. She argued that we, as a country, have a lot of work to do when it comes to resolving gender conformity issues. We also need to get better at interacting with the opposite sex. For example, she stated that there are more male probation supervisors than female probation officers. This has led to several cases of abuse of power, involving quid pro quo scenarios. Commissioner Bermudez suggested that we must get involved in our community and support legislations that address these issues to bring about change and awareness to the public.

– Danny Ovando

Ana M. Bermudez is a living, breathing example of change in our society. She has been faced with many challenges throughout her years of being the Probation Department’s Commissioner. However, one challenge which struck the most was her addressing the need of her employees and their comfort working in her Department. One Human Resource example that Commissioner Bermudez cites as a challenge for her was being open about her sexual orientation and understanding how she cannot favor one group of individuals over the other. She had hoped to hold an LGBTQ gathering in her office, in order to open more doors for individuals who face discrimination, bias or misjudgments. However, being such an authoritative leader, she continues to tackle disparities and pushes forward to connect the differences she faces. It is her goal and further aspires to build bridges in the community, while filling in the gaps through the trials she’s witnessed within her timespan of being Commissioner. Her fierce persona and diligence in committing to her vision is what inspired everyone in the room to stand up for what they believe in, joining together and fighting for justice!

– Uroosa Malik

Commissioner Bermudez’s no apologetic attitude about her values and what she stands for is very inspirational to everyone, no matter what your background. It showed how tough and unbreakable she is when she began her speech about stating her sexuality for everyone right away. It is important to show how strong women, no matter what their diversity and background can succeed. This gives women in New York City hope that you can succeed and women like Ana Bermudez and paving the way by becoming the first openly lesbian w Latina woman, and only second women woman to hold the office as commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation.  

Here at Women in the Public Sector we work hard to showcase women like Ana and to help raise awareness and address gender issues in the public sector. All of us here thank Commissioner Bermudez for her magnificent work! We are encouraged that female leaders continue to inspire young generation public servants, especially women and members of the LGBTQ community.

– Matthew Lynch

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Blog Miscellaneous

Ideas and Conversation about Gender in the Public Sector

inscription gender is a spectrum made of scrabble letters against pink background
by  Maria J. D’Agostino and Nicole M. Elias:

Gender equality has been a HOT topic this summer, with issues ranging from equal pay, health care reform, and transgender rights. Equal pay is a persistent issue widely discussed in academic and practitioner circles. The pay gap seems to be narrowing slowly over time, and women have even increased their presence in higher-paying jobs traditionally dominated by men.

When we have knowingly identified a problem and consistently implement policies, such as the most recent NYC law banning companies from asking previous salary history, how is is possible that the pay gap between men and women has tripled in the White House under the Trump administration? Examples, both positive and negative, set by leaders speak to the value of women’s work and equity in the workplace.  

Healthcare insurance for women has been a volatile topic for quite a bit, but this summer women were not included in healthcare policy decisions that would eliminate women’s health services. Women should have a seat at the table with any public health matter, especially policy impacting women’s bodies and livelihoods. The transgender military ban announced by the president this summer via Twitter will prohibit transgender service members from serving in the military if a formal policy is devised and implemented. Healthcare costs were cited as justification for disqualifying transgender service members. Why not find a solution to healthcare costs that would permit all individuals to serve in the military? The “trans military ban” raises a number of complex sexual orientation/gender identity questions for public administrators and citizens served.

The first genderless healthcare card was issued in British Columbia this summer, likewise the “X” becoming an alternative to the “F” and “M” on Canadian passports at the end of August.  The movement away from traditional gender markers highlights the limitation of most gender designations on government documents. The example set by Canada permits individuals to freely express their gender identity and eliminates the stressful process of changing one’s assigned gender at birth on government documents later in life. This prompts us to consider why official government documents and processes must be gendered and how the movement away from identifying gender at birth could lead to a more equitable society regardless of sexual identity or gender expression.

Some of these pressing concerns surrounding sex/gender in public service are currently being discussed in academic circles. The purpose of our blog is to begin a conversation with academics, practitioners, and students surrounding sex/gender in the public sector. This is a space to have a thoughtful dialogue about the topics highlighted above and others– the possibilities are endless. We want to consider the role sex/gender plays in public service and how that shapes the way we think, govern, and are served by sex/gender identities and markers. We want to share ideas and rethink long-standing issues from diverse perspectives in an informal, creative space.  

If you are interested in participating as a guest blogger and/or respondent we welcome your submission. The format and content are wide open, so please be as creative as you’d like in crafting your post. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please let us know. All submissions and questions can be sent to:

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