Org Spotlight: DB Peru

July 30th, 2015

DB Peru

DBperuIn February 2003, Diana Bowie and Renzo Peña founded the  non-profit charitable organization in the United States, DB PERU, Inc.

From the United States, Diana first came to Peru in January 2001 as a tourist and returned again in May of that year. She was touched by the people in the jungle and after 2 visits, she knew that she wanted to help with their health care needs in some way. One of the guides from a local jungle lodge, Raul Petit, told her that the villages on the Napo River needed health care. In September 2002, Raul and Diana visited 6 villages on the lower Napo River. They held forums in each village to discuss the needs and problems of the people. From the data collected, the goals and actions for improving health care access and conditions became the basis for the mission for DB PERU.

The focus of the organization is on the themes of education and care. DB PERU works to routinely educational seminars are provided for the local health workers (promotores) and midwives (parteras).  With the help of local and foreign professionals, people receive medical and dental treatment during the visits.  Follow-up on patients with previously medical concerns is done on subsequent visits, and occasionally the DB Peruboat acts as a ferry for people from the villages seeking health care in the clinics and hospitals. Medicines and supplies are delivered to the villages, in addition to appropriate items taken to the hospitals in Iquitos and the clinics in the jungle towns. Installation of radio and solar panels has improved communications in the villages, which is now being augmented with higher technology. In 2011 a Women’s project was initiated to include screening for cancer with breast exams and pap smears, as well as assuring availability of birth control and sex education for teenagers.

GGP event

July 27th, 2015

Empowering Women through Political Participation and Empowering Politics through Women’s Participation  

July 30, 2015


1957 E Street NW, 6th Floor, Lindner Family Commons


The Global Gender Program & The Institute for Global and International Affairs  

The Elliott School of International Affairs

The George Washington University

Washington, DC  20052

8:30-9:00am Continental breakfast

9:00am: Welcome

Barbara Miller

Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, and

Director, Global Gender Program, George Washington University


9:15am: Keynote Address

Homa Hoodfar

Professor of Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Accommodating Protest: Women Re-Mapping Electoral Politics


10:00am-1:30pm: Three Panels and Discussion

Presenters from Ireland, England, Pakistan, and the U.S. discuss findings about women’s political engagement around the world including the U.S.


1:00pm Closing Comments

Susan Markham

Senior Gender Advisor, United States Agency for International Development


1:30-2:30pm Buffet Lunch

RSVP required

This event is funded through a grant from the U.S. State Department to the Global Gender Program (GGP) to support the development of a long-term partnership between the GGP and the Gender and Development Studies Department of Lahore College Women’s University (LCWU) in Lahore, Pakistan. We are especially pleased that several faculty and graduate students from LCWU will be participating in the conference. Supplementary funding and support for this event is provided by the Global Gender Program.

Article of Note

July 27th, 2015

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Minorities in Transition: LGBT Rights and Activism in Myanmar

by Lynette J. Chua and David Gilbert

Human_rights_quarterlyGrounded in ongoing fieldwork inside Myanmar and among exiled Burmese communities, this article provides the first detailed account of the legal and human rights status of sexual orientation and gender identity minorities in Myanmar, with a focus on the abuses that they suffer. It also examines how Burmese activists overcame repressive laws to form an indigenous LGBT rights movement that has flourished since the start of the country’s recent political transition. The research thus sheds light not only on future challenges for LGBT rights activism, but also on the broader political mobilization of human rights in a changing Myanmar. The research has implications for states during democratic transition.

Human Rights Quarterly 37(1):1-28, 2015. [not open access]

Informational Lunch brings together Cultures and Conversation

July 27th, 2015

by student contributor Lesli Davis

On Tuesday, the Global Gender Program hosted an informational lunch meeting titled “Global Norms about Gender Equality and Local Responses.” The meeting aimed to bring together GGP affiliates and local organizations to discuss gender standards amongst cultures worldwide.

super sixFeatured prominently in the lunch meeting were six visiting students and scholars from Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) in Pakistan. The six visitors are here in the U.S. as part of a three-year partnership between GW and LCWU through the State Department. While visiting, they will take gender courses at GW and learn about American culture.

Also present at the lunch were representatives from a number of local organizations and institutions, including Women Thrive Worldwide, American Association of University Women, United States Agency for International Development, and International Food Policy Research Institute. Various area universities were also represented, such as George Mason and American University.

Participants discussed various topics relating to gender equality in Pakistan, the United States and globally. Extensive conversation revolved around the participation of women in religion, politics, and in other public spheres. Everyone left with a full belly and increased cultural understanding.

Org Spotlight: To the Market

July 23rd, 2015

To the Market

To the Market is an organization that combines the powers of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous survivor populations, in the belief that resilience is more powerful than suffering.  To The Market showcases handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease. By assisting local partners around the world in bringing these goods “to the market,” the organization hopes and has the mission of taking an active role in equipping the survivors they employ with economic independence, while raising awareness of the challenges that they face.

The model of To the Market is unique and three pronged in structure. One of the first and primary goals of the model is to promote survivor-made goods via multiple distribution channels, including pop-up shops, custom sourcing, retail partnerships, and our online marketplace. Next, offering a platform for survivors and their champions to share their stories with a new, larger audience. Finally, the organization works to provide tailored services to the organizations local partners such as trend forecasting and basic mental health resources to improve production and management.

to the market

Article of Note

July 20th, 2015

Women’s Representation and Gender Quotas: The Case of the Polish Parliament

by Anna Gwiazda

ChosenLogo_V02Representation is inherent to democracy and truly representative institutions are vital for a good quality democracy. However, the argument that parliaments are not sufficiently representative because of female under-representation is widespread. A number of countries around the world have introduced gender quotas in order to enhance the descriptive representation of women. This article analyses women’s representation and the adoption of gender quotas in Poland. After several unsuccessful attempts, the law was finally approved in 2011. Veto players analysis is used to explain this policy change.

Democratization 22 (4):679-697, 2015 [not open access]
DOI: 10.1080/13510347.2013.869583

Where are the Women?

July 20th, 2015

by student contributor Laura Kilbury


carolyn-maloney-3Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney entered the room at the Wilson Center’s event,  Restoring Hope and Dignity: New Developments and Best Practices in Addressing Maternal Morbidities, just coming off the house floor on July 14th.

She spoke with such fervor about women’s rights in the United States, using her coin phrase, “Where are the women?”


Where are the women?

The event was centralized on the practices of female genitalia mutilation (FGM) and how organizations such as Johnson and Johnson are partnering with UNFPA and USAID to tackle this issue with smart and creative strategies, such as kits and training specialized doctors through fellowship programs.

Maternal morbidities – illnesses and injuries that do not kill but nevertheless seriously affect a woman’s health – are a critical, yet frequently neglected, dimension of safe motherhood. For every woman who dies, many more are affected acutely or chronically by morbidities, said Karen Hardee, president of Hardee Associates at the Global Health Initiative.Hardee was joined by Karen Beattie, project director for fistula care at EngenderHealth, and Marge Koblinsky, senior technical advisor at John Snow, Inc., for a discussion moderated by Ann Blanc, director of EngenderHealth’s Maternal Health Task Force.

Maternal Illnesses Cost $7 Billion a Year

Maternal morbidities include anemia, fistula, uterine rupture, genital or uterine prolapse, and maternal mental health. These conditions not only affect the patient but also their families, communities, and society at large, said Hardee, who estimated the global cost of these conditions to be around $6.8 billion annually.

Obstetric fistula – a hole or tear that connects the vagina to either the bladder or rectum – is caused by prolonged, obstructed labor without timely medical intervention. Although solid prevalence data is lacking, Karen Beattie estimated that there are two million cases worldwide and 50,000 to 100,000 new cases each year.

Obstetric fistula is a question of equity, Beattie said, and a “clear example of a health system’s failure to support women’s needs in childbirth. …Women with fistula are most often the most impoverished and vulnerable members of society.” EngenderHealth found, for example, that delays in care in Tanzania were due not so much to geography but rather lack of money for services and lack of transportation.

Obstetric Complications Affect 20 Million Women

A study on maternal morbidity in Bangladesh, carried out by the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), determined that seven percent of women who delivered in a facility suffered a severe obstetric complication. More than 60 percent of these complications were due to dystocia, or severe obstructed labor, according to Marge Koblinsky. Furthermore, approximately 40% of all women suffered some kind of postpartum problem.

Maternal mortality is just the “tip of the iceberg,” according to Koblinsky. The study found that for every maternal death, approximately 38 women suffer obstetric complications – equivalent to an estimated 20 million women worldwide. Furthermore, the level of neonatal deaths was five times higher among women who had suffered a complication, even up to two years post-delivery.

The economic cost for the families of women who had suffered an obstetric complication was very high. The poorest quintile of the study sample spent as much as 35 percent of their annual income to pay for treatment, said Koblinsky. Obstetric complications and their consequences also resulted in negative social outcomes for the women and their families, including stigma, verbal abuse, domestic violence, divorce, and isolation.

Prevention, Follow-Up Are Key

In order to adequately address maternal morbidities, health experts need to know where programs that reduce mortality will also reduce morbidity, and where additional programs are needed, said Hardee. However, this analysis requires more accurate estimates of incidence, prevalence, and cost data.

In the case of obstetric fistula, the focus should be on prevention, said Beattie. Other key interventions include providing access to family planning, using a partograph correctly and consistently, catheterizing the mother immediately after prolonged or obstructed labor, and increasing access to emergency obstetric care. More resources for training and service provision are also critical.

The Bangladesh study recommended postpartum follow-up for up to a year, financial protection for the poorest women, and family counseling, particularly in the case of a child’s death. “Perinatal death has a huge impact on the woman,” said Koblinsky. However, “it’s not just the woman; it’s the family that needs the counseling, for her postpartum depression, but also to alleviate the domestic violence that can ensue, as well as the social impact.”

Furthermore, programs should “address the antecedents of poor maternal health,” said Hardee, including nutrition, sanitation, education, and gender-based violence, as well as the silence surrounding women’s birth experiences. We must “shatter that gender norm and have women actually talk about these things,” Hardee concluded.

So back to Maloney, “Where are the women?” and more importantly what can and should be done?


Org Spotlight: SMARTgirl Project

July 16th, 2015

SMARTgirl Project

Program Review - SMARTgirl, Providing HIVAIDS Prevention and Care for Entertainment Workers, Reporting Period October 2008-June 2010-1The SMARTgirl project in Cambodia, a USAID funded project led by FHI 360. SMARTgirl aims to prevent and mitigate the impact of HIV and improve the sexual and reproductive health of entertainment workers, many of whom are sex workers. There are an estimated 35,000 entertainment workers in Cambodia, working at night clubs, bars, massage parlors, karaoke clubs (KTV), restaurants, beer gardens, as well as on the street. Prevalence of HIV is as high as 14 percent, among some groups of entertainment workers.

SMARTgirl stands apart from other programming among entertainment workers in Cambodia because of its positive, non-stigmatizing approach. It combines evidence-based interventions with the strong SMARTgirl brand, which empowers women to protect their health and well-being. SMARTgirl reaches nearly half of all EWs in Cambodia in their workplace, because it treats them respectfully, recognizes what is important to them and improves health-seeking behavior by raising self-esteem.

SMARTgirl is one of a number of projects that validates what the international community and national leaders have been emphasizing for more than a decade— that empowering women and girls are vital components of human development.

During Secretary Clinton’s recent ASEAN development meeting in Phnom Penh, she was influential in integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment into the Lower Mekong Initiative agenda. In a statement, she emphasized the importance of reproductive rights for achieving gender equality; an area that the innovative FHI 360 SMARTgirl program has been integrating into its HIV mitigation program.

GGP Welcomes Visitors from Pakistan

July 13th, 2015

Through funding from the U.S. State Department, six members of the Department of Gender and Development Studies at Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) in Pakistan, have come to Washington. During their six week stay, the visiting scholars will take courses at GW, see a bit of America, and make friends here.

super six

Please join us in welcoming:

Amna Saeed, MS Scholar at LCWU

Amna currently studies Gender and Development Studies. Her BS thesis was titled “Resilience, Subjective Well-Being and Happiness Among Slum Dwellers.” She presented her thesis at the international conference, The Current Challenges For Psychology: From Crisis To Solution, in March 2015.

Arshia Yasin, MS Scholar at LCWU

Arshia received her Bachelor’s Degree in Gender and Development from LCWU. Previously, she served as a school teacher and held an internship at the AGHS Legal Aid Cell. Her research interests are female subordination in domestic life and distress level of women.

Maryam Batool, Lecturer at LCWU

Maryam holds a Masters Degree in Women’s Studies. Her area of research is women’s health. Currently, she teaches classes in Gender and Health, Basic and Advance Statistics, and Socio-Cultural Issues.

Samina Riaz, Lecturer at LCWU

Samina is a PhD scholar and holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Her areas of research are leadership, psychology of gender, and developmental psychology. Previously, she served as a school teacher for ten years.

Zarnab Rana, MS Scholar at LCWU

Zarnab currently studies Gender and Development Studies. As a part of her academic work, she completed an internship in the Social Welfare Department of Punjab. Her research interests are violence against women, women’s subordination, social and cultural issues, and social institutions.

Zille Zahra Naqvi, Assistant Manager at LCWU

Zille holds her Master’s Degree in Gender and Development Studies. Her areas of research are women’s sexuality and women and peace. Previously, she worked as a Senior Coordinator at ASR Resource Centre and as a Lecturer at the Government Fatima Jinnah College for Women Lahore.


The visit comes as part of a three-year partnership, funded by the U.S. State Department, between GW’s Global Gender Program and the Gender and Development Studies Department at Lahore College for Women University. Through the affiliation, the two universities hope to promote enhanced research and teaching on global gender issues, as well as increased cross-cultural understanding.

The Hidden World of Cambodia’s Sex Workers

July 13th, 2015

by student contributor Laura Kilbury

screen-shot-2015-06-05-at-6.27.20-pm-3On Thursday, July 9, for a Talk at Pulitzer Center, Steve Sapienza, a video journalist, showed his project, “The Hidden World Of Cambodia’s Sex Workers: New Risks, New Hope” which focuses on the impact of anti-trafficking laws on the health and safety of sex workers.

In 2008, Cambodia passed a law that closed its brothels. The goal was to prevent human trafficking. Instead, it upended a government program designed to distribute condoms and screen for sexually transmitted diseases like HIV at brothels. When the sex workers scattered, there was no easy way to reach them. Out of the shadows emerged a volunteer organization called SMARTgirl, comprised of active and former sex workers, that has been working to fill the void.

Sapienza, the Pulitzer Center’s senior producer, wanted to see how the outreach and prevention efforts were faring. In February 2014, he traveled to Phnom Penh to produce a short film, which premiered on

This Talk Pulitzer also featured Sebastian Kohn, a program officer with the Open Society Foundations Public Health Program who studies sex work decriminalization issues, and Antigone Barton, the writer and editor of Science Speaks and a former Pulitzer Center grantee. In 2007, Sapienza and Barton collaborated on a series of Pulitzer Center-supported stories related to HIV and sex work in the Dominican Republic.

With 40,000 women reportedly working as sex workers underground has room for more risk and concern. This has disrupted violence health services. As Sapienza reiterated, the most important thing is to “reach the unreachable”.

In this Talk, the speakers discussed the new realities of the sex workers and the futures of the laws. Is this good? Is this bad?

While some countries are making prostitution legal in order to give the women more agency and control over their environment, what happens when it is completely outlawed? Or should it be that protective measures are placed at these types of venues?

Sapienza seems to believe that it has caused more harm than good. Citing that the women are now off the grid to a degree and cannot have their health checked, which is the greatest concern of all. However, Sapienza is hopeful that something good will come out of this. Organizations like SMART girls are training women with skills and programs. Sapienza believes that this a positive thing and provides for a new hope.

This conversation comes back to a long held debate over the role and legality of brothels and prostitution. What is the best way? Is there a best way?