Center for Women in Government & Civil Society

The Vision of the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society (CWGCS) is a world where women and men of all backgrounds participate equally in shaping the future.
CWGCS seeks to deepen and broaden political access and economic opportunities for women by strengthening the capacity of government, nonprofit and business sectors to implement gender-responsive, inclusive and equitable policies, practices and services
The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society is part of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy.


135 Western Ave.
Albany, NY 12222
Ph. (518) 442-3900
Fx. (518) 442-3877


Principal Staff

Dina Refki, Executive Director
Ph. (518) 442-5127

Diana Abbas, Senior Research Aide

Amy Barasch, Esp., Senior Research Associate

Bonnie Beard, Program Director

Cara Long, Deputy Director

Abigya Eshete, Project Coordinator

Sue Faerman, Academic Chair of the Women's Leadership Academy and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Judith Saidel, Senior Research Associate

Featured Events


Projects & Campaigns

The Entrepreneurship Option for Low-Income Teenage Girls
CWIG is currently working on a proposal to start a research-based entrepreneurship program for low-income girls who are at risk for not completing high school. Research will target African-American and Latina women who are entrepreneurs, as well as take into account the perspectives of female entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. Project participants will join researchers at the college level in all levels of curriculum development and research phases. This project is being conducted with the Liberty Partnership Project.
Nonprofit Education Initiative
The Nonprofit Education Initiative (NEI) is a four-year collaborative undertaking that involves nonprofits working on issues related to women, children, and families; regional voluntary sector leaders; and government policymakers and business representatives. The NEI will advance collaborative learning among nonprofit leaders and managers and strengthen the capacities and leadership of diverse voluntary sector organizations. The goals of the initiative are to strengthen collaboration among statewide associations; build stronger connections between nonprofits and the communities and universities they serve; increase the competencies and capacities of statewide nonprofits; and strengthen the technological capacity and competence of consortium members.
Completing the Public Record: Appointed Policy Makers in State Government
CWIG is conducting work on demographic data on top-ranking gubernatorial appointees. In related research, the center is also studying policy priorities and influences on agenda-setting by the executive branch department heads. Both quantitative and interview data will be used to analyze 35 women and men bureaucratic leaders in eight states. Nontraditional Employment for Women study.
Liberty Partnership Project
A prevention program aimed at young women and men in grades 7-12 who are at risk for leaving school before graduation. The project offers a range of services to support people in obtaining their diploma, entering higher education, and preparing themselves for the workforce. The program is designed to address academic, personal, and social growth through a focus on the following: educational achievement; self-empowerment; workforce preparation and career exploration; and public policy leadership development.


Reports & Resources

Women in Federal and State-Level Judgeships (2010).

Glass Ceiling in Gubernatorial Appointments, 1997-2007 (2008).

Appointed Policy Makers in State Government: Single-State Profile (1998).

Appointed Policy Makers in State Government: Pre-Election Update (1998).


Opportunities, Grants & Fellowships

Fellowship on Women & Public Policy

The Fellowship experience blends theory with practice through direct policy field placement, academic coursework, professional development sessions, conferences, and community service activities. Fellows are provided with opportunities to gain specific skills and develop an extensive network of people working in their subject area as well as related professional arenas. 
The program runs annually from mid-January through the end of June. Participants are selected on a competitive basis based on academic achievement and work / life experience. 
A highly intensive program, Fellows are required to work thirty hours each week at their placement office, Monday -Thursday. In addition, the program includes: 3 graduate courses (Tuesday and Thursday evening and one independent research) and professional development every Friday throughout the course of the Fellowship. 
Fellows receive a $10,000 stipend, tuition waivers and receive nine graduate credits from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, SUNY.