Internship field report, Mika Koizumi works on gender equality @ OECD, Paris

July 10, 2015

Mika Koizumi (MPP '16) offers this field report from Paris, France. Koizumi is working on gender equality issues with the Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

What is the OECD?

It’s an international organization that encourages governments to work together to promote better policies for better lives. These policies address governance challenges, economic and social development, international investment, education, taxes, and the environment, just to name a few. The OECD collects internationally comparable data and provides evidence-based policy recommendations.

The current membership is 34 countries, including many advanced countries, but the OECD has also developed partnerships with a broader group of countries. I’m working on one of these—a project for Southeast Asian countries, particularly Indonesia.

Tell us more?

I’m interning at the Governance Reviews and Partnerships Division for a project called “Women in Public Life,” which intends to promote inclusive growth through gender-balanced representation in policymaking. Closing persistent gender gaps in many fields has emerged as a critical policy issue, yet the majority of legislative and executive bodies world-wide are predominately made up of men.

The OECD has developed cross-national research on women’s leadership in public and political life for OECD member countries and the Middle East and North Africa region. With the comparative evidence built in these regions, a project for Southeast Asia aims to strengthen data collection and analysis, to identify barriers and opportunities, to offer country-tailored recommendations, and to facilitate capacity-building for their implementation.

What’s your role?

Since my boss gave me ownership of this project, I can do a wide range of tasks—drafting surveys, communicating with other international organizations, proposing fundraising strategies, and of course research for the OECD publication. Policy advocacy inside and outside the OECD is the most difficult part for me, but with my boss’s guidance, I have been learning a lot.

What’s the most exciting thing about interning at OECD?

The OECD directly appeals to political and business leaders. I have seen ministers from all over the world every day. During my stay so far, French President François Hollande, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and Bill Gates visited the OECD!

Also I have attended a number of OECD conferences to network with practitioners and academics from all over the world. For instance, I was recently able to discuss gender equality issues with key leaders of the movement at the OECD Forum.

To me personally, the launch of new OECD publications, which I have consistently turned to during my studies at the Ford School, is really exciting!

How’s Paris?

It’s been great to explore a new culture and language with my five-year-old daughter. We’ve visited the Louvre and Cluny museums, we’ve been to the opera and ballet, we’ve eaten moules and crème brûlées, we’ve shopped…the best thing we’ve done was to visit lavender fields in Provence! But I miss Ann Arbor as well.