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Episode 007: Gender and Leadership with Deborah Jordan Brooks


Deborah Jordan Brooks, PH.D, (she/hers) is a university professor, author and researcher specializing in political science and female leadership. As an Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College, her teachings focus on women, politics, and the media – while her scholarly research examines female empowerment, public opinion, and political advertising.

Deborah is the founder of IMHER (the International Menstrual Health Entrepreneurship Roundup), a digital resource center for objective, free information about menstrual health education and products that is scalable and regionally-specific. She is also the author of He Runs, She Runs: Why Gender Stereotypes Do Not Harm Women Candidates, along with numerous scholarly articles.

In this episode, she talks to us about the importance (and scarcity) of quality research in the menstrual health space; current research challenges and policy wins; the intersection between female leadership and MHH; and more.

Highlights from this episode:

  • Why she is passionate about Menstrual health & Hygiene (MHH), and what drew her to the field as a political science researcher
  • How MHH empowers women, girls and communities at every level
  • Why high-quality research is so crucial to making progress in the menstrual movement (hint: government funding “follows the data”)
  • Current research challenges and policy wins in the menstrual health space
  • How Deborah helped pass a 2019 New Hampshire state law requiring free period products to be implemented in all middle- and high-schools
  • How YOU can influence menstrual health policy in your community


Deborah Jordan Brooks is an Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College, as well as the coordinator of the Gender and Foreign Policy Program for the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth. Her research examines women as voters and as leaders, public opinion, political advertising, and survey research methods in global health, and she teaches courses on women and leadership, and the media and politics. Previously, Brooks was a Senior Research Director at The Gallup Organization, a survey research firm, where she ran brand management and customer satisfaction project for Fortune 1000 clients. The IMHER project leverages the research skills of her Dartmouth undergraduates to facilitate the efforts of menstrual hygiene organizations around the world.  That project was inspired by what Brooks learned from many of the YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) Mandela scholars who have worked with the Dickey Center over the years.

Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams is Chief Development & Communications Officer at Days for Girls International. She is also the host of The Days for Girls Podcast. Jessica holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University in Communications and a Master’s degree in Strategic Communications from The University of Oregon. She is also an adjunct instructor for the University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business Nonprofit MBA program.