GRID Graduate Program

The Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program is an academic unit within International Programs and Studies (IPS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that offers a graduate minor in Gender Relations in International Development (GRID). The GRID interdisciplinary minor is designed to give students the analytical and empirical skills needed to address global human security and gender equity issues in research and policy analysis, as well as daily life. In this age of global economic transformation, it is especially necessary for researchers and practitioners to examine who gains and who loses from new policies, to assess the disparities in the impacts of reforms on women, men, and children, and to study the successful strategies and policies that appear.

Admission to GRID Program

All graduate students at or entering the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are eligible to sign up for the GRID interdisciplinary minor. Simply fill out the one-page admissions form and submit either by mail or in person to the WGGP Program.

Course Requirements for the GRID Interdisciplinary Minor

Core Seminar on Gender Relations in International Development WGGP 581 (cross listed as SocW 581/GWS 512 with the School of Social Work and Gender and Women’s Studies; offered annually in the spring semester).

Two courses from the approved GRID core electives. Additional related courses on women, gender, and development are offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Advising for the GRID minor is done by the Director of WGGP. The WGGP office monitors the GRID admission process and fulfillment of GRID minor requirements while the student's departmental academic advisor continues to advise and monitor for the satisfaction of their department's requirements.


Faculty: The program draws upon an internationally recognized faculty representing a wide range of disciplines and cultural backgrounds.

Library Resources: The Women and Gender Resources Library is a major resource for international research on women. The library’s professional staff provides professional reference assistance and has the capability to generate computerized annotated bibliographies upon request.

GRID Students: The program facilitates contact with current and former GRID students who constitute a network of support and expertise.

The Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program newsletter, Perspectives: Research Notes and News, is available online or in print by contacting the WGGP Program.


August 2016

Laura Ripani
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Alumna
GRID Minor, 2003
PhD in Economics, 2004

What is the focus of your current work and/or subject of your current research?
I am currently a Lead Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in Washington DC.  With a history dating back to 1959, today the IDB is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. We provide loans, grants, and technical assistance; and we conduct extensive research. I specialize in the area of labor markets, with special interest in improving labor markets opportunities for youth and studying the link between social protection programs and labor market outcomes.

How has your GRID minor helped you in your career?
My GRID minor was fundamental to have an expertise on gender issues that I found valuable in several ways. The first one was that my first job, after finishing my PhD in Economics at the University of Illinois, was at the World Bank in the Poverty and Gender Group of Latin America and the Caribbean Region. This particular group was very interested in someone that could combine knowledge about poverty and labor markets with expertise on  gender. Later on in my career, the minor was an excellent base to mainstream gender issues in all the projects that I have worked on, in countries as different as Argentina, Nicaragua, Honduras, Brazil, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, among others.

Do you have any advice or suggestions for current GRID Students?
I would say that they should take advantage of the GRID minor to work with sensitivity to gender issues, during their whole career. They should also use the minor as an excellent selling point to potential employers interested in personnel who understand gender issues.

How can we learn more about your work through social media?
IDB website:,2967.html
Video about one of the projects I worked with for ten years:,2173.html?videoID=9427&videoTitle=Youth-and-Employment#.V8CLsPkrLGg
One of the projects that I worked on in the last two years: