F&M Stories

Ranking Human Rights: F&M Global Barometers

How do you measure human rights? Two Franklin & Marshall College professors will make sense of broad global trends in an upcoming Common Hour lecture.

"LGBTQI+ people are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. Their human rights are a litmus test of the state of human rights," said Susan Dicklitch-Nelson, F&M Global Barometers founder and professor of government.

Dicklitch-Nelson and Stefanie Kasparek, visiting instructor of government, will present their findings in a Feb. 23 Common Hour titled, "Canaries in the Coal Mine: Global LGBTQI+ Rights in the 21st Century." The lecture, open to the public, takes place in F&M's Mayser Gymnasium at 11:30 a.m. A recording will be available after the event.

The F&M Global Barometer of Gay Rights (GBGR), Global Barometer of Transgender Rights (GBTR), and the Global Barometers' LGBTQI+ Perception Index (GBPI) provide a global measure of LGBTQI+ human rights in 204 countries and regions.

"We're looking specifically at what countries are doing either to protect, not protect or persecute their sexual minorities, gender-identity minorities and intersex individuals," Dicktlitch-Nelson said in a recent interview. "The report card gives us something tangible."

The 171,000 global survey results highlight the divide between legislation and lived reality. In some countries, a sense of safety and acceptance is low despite legal protections for LGBTQI+ people.

Using the data from both Barometers and the Perception Index, the F&M Global Barometers team will probe the reasons for this divide and the factors that contribute to progress and backsliding while also demonstrating how data can be used to help activists, policy professionals and researchers.



Recent graduate Erin Maxwell '22 completed research for F&M Global Barometers as an undergrad and continues to work for the program virtually from Philadelphia while she prepares for law school. "That's probably the thing that I'm most proud of," Maxwell said of her Global Barometers research.

Through her work for F&M Global Barometers, Julia Bevan '20 "saw the impact that misinformation and lack of adequate information has on every major issue facing the U.S. and also human-rights issues facing the world," she said. Bevan's experience helped her land a competitive fellowship prior to enrolling at New York University School of Law.

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