Mary Stevens Affiliate Program

In light of Africa’s rapid economic, political, and social transformation, there is a growing need to elevate the place of African thinkers in global policy debates. However, throughout Africa, there is limited representation of women in thought leadership positions as men continue to be disproportionately represented in think tanks, research organizations, and tertiary education. Data from the 2013 Global Go To Think Tank Database[1] indicates that women constitute less than 35 percent of senior positions in the top 25 think tanks in Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, women represent only twenty-five percent of the Chief Executive positions in these top think tanks.

Under-representation of women in thought leadership roles parallels the disproportionate number of women enrolled in tertiary education in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Bank, from 2000 to 2010, the ratio of female to male tertiary enrollment decreased from 66.1 to 63.2 percent[2]. The dearth of African women in both tertiary education and higher positions of power has repercussions for the economic and social development of Africa. According to the United Nations, limited opportunities for women in Africa to obtain tertiary education and employment cost the continent nearly 1% of GDP per capita growth[3]. It is clear that more attention needs to be focused on bridging the gender gap in both education and employment.

The Mary Stevens Affiliate Program looks to address this gender imbalance by promoting the professional development of early-career women in policy, research, and public commentary. Through cross-publication, media appearances, and targeted submission of op-eds, the program will provide support to and promote women who are actively engaged in public conversations about politics, society, and economics in Africa, amplifying African perspectives in global policy dialogues.

The Details

Stevens affiliates receive a research stipend of US$2,500 and have access to the World Policy Institute’s various public platforms to promote their work. Affiliates are required to produce one white paper on a key policy issue to be published by the WPI, as well as two long-form general interest articles for publication in both African and western outlets. Affiliates’ works will also be acknowledged in other venues, including through the World Policy Institute channels and publication partners. Affiliates are also obligated to be available for media and commentary appearances on American and international media, and will be actively promoted as commentators by the WPI.

Mary Stevens

Mary Stevens with young students

How to Apply:

The program provides support for four Stevens Affiliates each academic year with selection for the following academic year taking place in June. Further application information, as well as the application itself can be found HERE


[1] 2013 Global Go To Think Tank Database. Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania,

[2] World Bank Indicators – Sub-Saharan Africa. Accessed on March 4 2015:

[3] United Nations, 2008, “Investing in Women and Girls.” Accessed on March 4 2015: