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McNair Scholar 2011Yodit Tesfaye

Yodit Tesfaye is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in Global Studies with a minor in Spanish and Management. Her research interests include: globalization, human rights, international development, immigration, international law and social justice.

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I plan to receive a M.A. in Public Policy focused on non-profit management and international development followed by a Ph.D. in the field. I want to be involved in humanitarian organizations that strive to close the gap in education and gender inequality, poverty reduction, and human rights.

Research project

Policy Effectiveness in Addressing Girls' Inequality in Africa

Abstract: This research explores the implementation of policies designed to protect girls and enhance their life circumstances: minimum-age of marriage laws, anti-female-genital cutting laws, and compulsory education laws in Ghana, Ethiopia and Mali. The focus of the study is to compare and contrast policy effectiveness. It considers the details of the policies and related programs themselves, but also takes into account broader contextual factors that are rarely considered in assessments of effectiveness: countries’ acquiescence to international law, global economic integration, cultural attributes, mobilization by state and non-state actors, and local circumstances such as inequality, national political history and diversity. Results are consistent with theories suggesting a clash of civilizations, the importance of global networks, and resistance resulting from local ethnic diversity. Global economic integration appears to improve girls’ equality rather than undercut it, contradicting earlier work by Harvey. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Elizabeth Heger Boyle is a professor of Sociology and recently promoted as the Assistant Director of the Sociology Department at the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities Campus. She obtained her B.S. and M.A. degrees in Sociology from the University of Iowa followed by a J.D. from the University of Iowa Law School. She then pursued a Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University. Her research interests include sociology of law, globalization, immigration and human rights specifically on women and children’s’ rights. Professor Boyle has published many works in her research interest area. She has received many awards ranging from the Graduate Student Mentor Award to the National Science Foundation for her doctoral dissertation research.