During a trip to Peru from Oct. 12-17, M.V. Lee Badgett, director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, educated diplomats, government officials, working professionals and university students on the potential negative economic consequences of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
While the purpose of Badgett’s talks was largely educational, she said the U.S. Embassy in Lima is considering adopting some new policies that would improve working conditions for LGBT embassy staff.
“It is exciting to consider that my research could have real and direct effects on people’s everyday lives and working conditions,” Badgett said. “Peruvians are actively discussing LGBT issues in many contexts, and I found a lot of interest in what the positive consequences could be for employers and the overall economy.”
The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs invited Badgett, and the U.S. embassy organized Badgett’s week of lectures, discussions and meetings. During her time in Lima, Badgett spoke with officials at the embassy; representatives from local nongovernmental organizations working on LGBT issues; as well as with Peruvian government officials, international agencies, businesspeople, an openly gay member of Congress and university students.
Last year, Badgett began examining how discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity affects a country’s economy. She has presented parts of this research at the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and at a forum sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
More than 20 years of research has established Badgett as a leading international expert on the economics of LGBT employment and family policies. In her first book, “Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men,” she debunked the popular stereotype of gay affluence. She has spent the last decade researching the economic impact of marriage equality in the U.S. and abroad.
From Inside UMass, October 23, 2014 / Office of News & Media Relations