Part data enthusiast, part mixed-methods evangelist, and part social theorist, Jillian Foster’s research and professional career focus on the use of innovative methods to study gender identity, political action, and violent extremism in conflict. Foster has been recognized as a thought leader in the feminist research community, advising many of the world’s leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and human rights institutions.
Foster founded Global Insight in 2011 and has been a primary force in growing the company’s portfolio of projects, which utilize a distinctly data-driven, mixed-methodological, gender-sensitive approach to highlight programmatic impact and catalyze social change. She is a pioneer in what Global Insight calls ‘holistic’ program evaluation and research, marrying qualitative finds with big data and broader social theory. A specialist in rigorous micro- and macro-level data analysis, Foster emphasizes the need to disaggregate empirical data to better understand the nuances of impact, sustainability, and individual lived experiences.
Foster has advised the Women’s Refugee Commission on quantitative data and mixed-methodological analysis; led client retention research with Mimoza Finance, a microfinance bank in northern India; evaluated programming for Saodat, a NGO in post-Soviet Tajikistan; and spearheaded the work of gender-based violence and economic equality coalitions. Prior to founding Global Insight, Foster steered the policy work of the Women’s Budget Group, a leading London-based economic policy think tank that promotes gender equality in United Kingdom Treasury policy. Foster is a graduate of New York University and University College London (University of London) where she completed MAs in data science and gender studies respectively. She holds a BSc in economics from California Polytechnic State University, specializing in inequality research and gender studies. When not working with clients at Global Insight, Foster is the Founder and acting-Executive Director at Feminist Dialogue.