Jillian J. Foster is a distinguished speaker, facilitator, scholar, and activist, having founded Feminist Dialogue, a distinctly feminist think-do tank producing discussion-based events internationally, and lectured at Rutgers University. Foster’s research focuses on the use of innovative methods to study gender identity, political action, and violent extremism in conflict. She is the CEO and Women/Gender, Peace & Security Advisor at Global Insight, a data analysis and monitoring and evaluation consultancy that works with NGOs in conflict and post-conflict settings. Foster is a pioneer in ‘holistic’ research with human subjects, marrying qualitative findings with big data and broader social theory.
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 specialist in rigorous micro- and macro-level data analysis, and 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 qualitative data, gathered in Jordan, Ethiopia, and Burundi, and mixed-methodological analysis when paired with the GBV-IMS quantitative dataset; 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. Most recently, she completed a research study exploring the relationship between masculinity and political activism in MENA with New York University. Concurrently, she measured the global scale of violence against women and girls as it is related to structural inequalities and context-specific economic and rights trends for a data analysis project with ActionAid UK. 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.
In 2011, Foster conducted interviews with female ex-combatants and peacebuilders along the Afghan border in Tajikistan as foundational research for the Women In Conflict project which launched in Spring 2015.
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.