Org Spotlight: Mending the Sacred Hoop

February 8th, 2016

“The Mending the Sacred Hoop logo represents the healing of our communities based on the teachings of the Medicine Wheel. Each section of the Medicine Wheel represents one of the four cardinal directions with a corresponding color. The outer rim represents the Sacred Hoop as being broken yet with the ribbon symbolizing our work we are in the process of mending it. The turtle represents Earth, North American/Turtle Island, wisdom, longevity and woman. With women being at the center of our work, our families, and communities we place the turtle in the center of the Sacred Hoop.” –Our Logo

Mending the Sacred Hoop is a Native-owned and operated nonprofit organization that seeks to end violence against Native American women and children throughout the state of Minnesota. Mending the Sacred Hoop also works with Tribes and Native communities throughout the country to address violence against Native women on a national level. The organization was founded in Duluth, MN, home to large American Indian/Alaskan Native communities, in the 1980’s. It has grown from a collection of organizing efforts addressing Native women’s issues.

Native women face the highest rates of victimization of any population in the United States by perpetrators of all races. Mending the Sacred Hoop was created to combat this injustice through advocacy and organizing. The organization works to “reclaim indigenous teachings on culture and values to create social change” within Native communities locally and nationally.

Mending the Sacred Hoop began as a program within the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) with the original goal of changing the way Native women’s issues are addressed systemically.  In the decades since its founding, it has expanded and separated from DAIP to become its own nonprofit. The organization provides a range of services and programs to prevent violence within Native communities. They provide technical assistance and training to support effective community responses to crimes against women and children.  Additionally, they have established male perpetrator re-education classes, host community gatherings to integrate the voices of community members, and oversee an intervention project in a local county. Furthermore, Mending the Sacred Hoop has participated in local, state, and national advocacy. One of the organization’s largest successes was a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to create the Sacred Hoop S.T.O.P. Violence Against Indian Women Technical Assistance Project. 

Videos now available! International Forum for Women’s Food Leadership

February 8th, 2016
guest post by Marlene Stearns
Women Food Leaders (from left to right): Buky Williams, Marlene Stearns, Susana Chavez Villalobos, Grace Mena, Monica Lozano Luque, Yiver Vargas, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Catherine Krobo-Edusei Benson, Dr. Mitslal Kifleyesus-Matschie, Randa Filfili, Dinnah Kapiza, Mama Cristina Kaba, and Sharon Againe [photo credit: Noel St. John]

Women Food Leaders (from left to right): Buky Williams, Marlene Stearns, Susana Chavez Villalobos, Grace Mena, Monica Lozano Luque, Yiver Vargas, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Catherine Krobo-Edusei Benson, Dr. Mitslal Kifleyesus-Matschie, Randa Filfili, Dinnah Kapiza, Mama Cristina Kaba, and Sharon Againe [photo credit: Noel St. John]

On Oct. 27-28, 2016, the Women’s Food Leadership Initiative and GW’s Global Gender Program held the International Forum for Women’s Food Leadership in the Global South. Nearly 300 women came together to share strategies for overcoming business challenges in the food and agricultural sectors. Panels featured successful agribusiness founders, CEOs, policymakers, researchers, professionals, and faculty from the United States, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi, South Africa, Costa Rica, Colombia.
The event Keynote Speakers included Catherine Krobo-Edusei, Founder & CEO of Eden Tree, Ltd, in Accra, Ghana,Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of Sustainability at GW in Washington, D.C., Assistant Secretary of State,Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Washington, D.C., and Catherine Gill, Vice President of Operations at Root Capital in Boston, Massachusetts.
Among the speakers were agribusiness entrepreneurs from the Global South whose impact inspired the creation of the Women’s Food Leadership Initiative, a non-profit organization working to increase the number of women leaders in the food and agricultural sectors of the Global South. The featured entrepreneurs included Mitslal Kifleyesus-Matschie, Founder & CEO, Ecological Products (Ethiopia), Sharon Againe, Founder & CEO,  Agasha Group Limited (Uganda), Grace Mena, Founder & President, Deli-Café, S.A. (Costa Rica), Yiver Vargas, Owner, St. Lucia Specialty Coffee Farm, (Colombia), Susana Chaves Villalobos, Founder, IBS Soluciones Verdes (Costa Rica), Randa Filfili,CEO, Zena Exotic Fruits, Sarl (Senegal), Monica Lozano Luque, Founder, Sea Soil, S.A.(Colombia), Dinnah Kapiza, Founder & CEO, Tisaiwale Trading (Malawi), Tenjiwe Cristina Kaba, Executive Director, Abalimi & Founder, Harvest of Hope (South Africa).
Videos from the two-day conference are now up online. To check them out please click here.

Article of Note

February 5th, 2016

Gendered water spaces: a study of the transition from wells to hand pumps in Mozambique

by Emily Van Houweling

UntitledIn many parts of rural Africa, women and children spend a lot of time collecting water. In the development literature, the water collection task is portrayed as oppressive, arduous, and disliked by women. Eliminating this activity from women’s lives is believed to empower them, yet there has been little research investigating what actually happens at the water source or how women themselves perceive the time spent there. This research is based on one year of ethnographic fieldwork in five rural communities in the northern province of Nampula, Mozambique. Over this year, handpumps were constructed in communities where people previously collected water from distant shallow wells and rivers. This article compares the social interactions and activities between the customary water sites and the handpump through the lens of gendered space. The customary water sites are controlled by women and highly valued for their social attributes. While clean water is more accessible at the handpumps, men often regulate access to the technology and social activities are limited. This article contributes to feminist geography and political ecology by showing how differences in the materiality of water spaces interact with local norms to shape social interactions and gendered subjectivities, and how, in turn, men and women contribute to the production and meaning of these spaces. I argue that the handpumps open up new spaces for men and women to negotiate gender roles and (re)define their associations with modernity and development.

Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, Volume 22, Issue 10, 2015, pages 1391-1407
DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2014.970140


“Tall as the Baobab Tree” brings hope while highlighting what problems still exist

February 1st, 2016

by staff contributor Camry Haskins

Baobab_Homepage-revised-3_13On Thursday, January 28, the Global Gender Program (GGP) hosted an informal film screening of “Tall as the Baobab Tree”. The GGP team was joined by 25 individuals from organizations throughout DC in this lunchtime screening.

The film followed the story of a young Senegalese girl who discovered her younger sister was to be married off in order to bring money into the family to pay off medical bills. It followed her quest to secretly earn enough money to change her father’s mind. The film highlighted the countries legal system that barred child marriage, while also emphasizing the power that traditional systems still possess. Coumba, the heroine of the story, entreats her old school teacher for advice but is not willing to turn in her parents for breaking national law.

In the end, Coumba manages to earn the money, which sways her father to change is mind but it is already too late. Her father attempts to break off the arrangement, but acquiesces to the village elder who informs him that his word to his daughter’s betrothed is binding.

The film ended, leaving the audience torn regarding the feelings of growth versus frustration. Several informal discussions developed drawing conclusions that changes were occurring within the community that promoted hope for the elimination of child marriage in Senegal. But we are not there yet, and so there is still much to be done.


*GGP plans to continue to screen films in this informal way. If you enjoyed watching “Tall as the Baobab Tree” with us, or think that you would enjoy attending an event like this in the future, watch out for our newsletters, which come out every week. Check out past issues and subscribe here.

Our next film screening is set to take place on Thursday, February 25. We will be showing the film “Poto Mitan”.

Org Spotlight: The Visionaria Network

February 1st, 2016

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The Visionaria Network is an organization that supports the empowerment of women and girls through developing and implementing training programs and curricula. These trainings and curricula are designed to enable adolescent girl leaders and female entrepreneurs. Women and girls have immense power in creating sustainable development. However, they often face substantial educational, social, and cultural obstactales. The Visionaria Network seeks to reduce these barriers in order to support and leverage women’s strength.

Through Human-Centered Design, the Visionaria Network’s programs are developed with local contexts in mind. This is accomplished through partnership with a variety of local organizations.

The network recently created the Empowered Entrepreneur Training Handbook in partnership with The John’s Hopkins University for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a United Nations Foundation initiative. This handbook is designed to support organizations in the household energy sector through engagement of women entrepreneurs.

The Visionaria Network also runs Visionaria Peru, a Rotary Global Grant Project to empower Peruvian adolescent girls.

Article of Note

January 31st, 2016

The Arab Spring for Women? Representations of Women in Middle East Politics in 2011

by Laura Sjoberg and Jonathon Whooley

downloadThis article explores the complex, liminal, and difficult space in which stories of women in “the Arab Spring” were wielded as parts of political narratives of gender, race, class, religion, democracy, and Westernization in Western media as the Arab Spring unfolded. It examines those stories by using the tools of postcolonial feminism. After briefly describing what is meant by (gender and) the Arab Spring, the article outlines a method for evaluating the significations of the media narratives surrounding it. We find two dissonant narratives (of gender as emancipatory and of gender as problematic) and ask what assumptions about gender (and sex and race and culture) have to be made to produce these particular representations. We argue that the dissonant narratives have in common using the situation of women as a barometer for the success of Westernization, liberalization, and democratization. The article concludes by exploring the implications of these findings.

Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Vol 36, Issue 3, 2015, pages 261-284
DOI: 10.1080/1554477X.2015.1050902

Article of Note

January 26th, 2016

Role of Microfinance Institutions in Women Empowerment: A Case Study of Akhuwat, Pakistan

by Huma Rehman, Amani Moazzam, Nighat Ansari

Gender discrimination is a persistent problem faced by women all over the world, which has led to the need to empower women for uplifting their status as recognized by Millennium Development Goals (2010). The present study focuses on the role of microfinance in empowering women and also acknowledges its’ significance in alleviating poverty. The researcher used qualitative approach and case study method for in depth analysis of the phenomenon in context of Akhuwat, an interest free microfinance organization. It was recognized that microfinance brings about changes in women’s lives: household condition, family wellbeing and social status. It is improved by availing the services of microfinance institution and interest free loans further add to their well-being. This study focused on four background variables to examine their influence on decision making ability of women in aspects of their domestic and social life.Age, education, marital status and family type are important contributing factors that influence women’s empowerment. It was also observed that women are more inclined to be altruistic and spend most of their income on their families. The present study can be further extended by incorporating more factors and increasing sample size in order to get more significant results.

South Asian Studies, A Research Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 30(1):107-125


Org Spotlight: CADEMCA

January 25th, 2016

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CADEMCA – Centro de Apoyo al Desarrollo de la Mujer Campesina (Development Support Center for Rural Women)

CADEMCA is a non-governmental organization located in El Alto, Bolivia that supports the wellbeing and development of rural women who have recently migrated from the countryside to El Alto. CADEMCA deals with many issue areas affecting rural woman including health, education, agriculture, the environment, infrastructure, socioeconomics, and housing. The organization provides training and guidance within these issue areas, including guidance on the formation of coalitions and producer organizations.

Specific issues that the organization’s work addresses are discrimination against the female housewife, lack of furniture and infrastructure in schools, maternal and infant health, and limited opportunity for political development of women and girls.

CADEMCA’s past project areas have included the distribution of solar ovens, recycling programs, promotion of the work of local artisans, access to clean drinking water, and the financial support of a local orphanage. In the future, the organization is planning a pilot technical education training program for children of poor families from the highlands and countryside who are living in the city of El Alto.

Org Spotlight: Philippine Commission on Women

January 19th, 2016

philippine-commission-on-womenThe Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) is the primary policy-making and coordinating body on women and gender equality concerns. As the oversight body on women’s concerns, the PCW acts as a catalyst for gender mainstreaming, authority on women’s concerns, and lead advocate of women’s empowerment, gender equity, and gender equality in the country.

The PCW was formerly known as the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) until August 14, 2009. This was the date that NCRFW was renamed as PCW and its mandate was expanded by the enactment of Republic Act 9710, otherwise known as the Magna Carta of Women (MCW).

The NCRFW was established on January 7, 1975 through Presidential Decree, as an advisory body to the President and the Cabinet on policies and programs for the advancement of women. It was mandated “to review, evaluate, and recommend measures, including priorities to ensure the full integration of women for economic, social and cultural development at national, regional and international levels, and to ensure further equality between women and men.”

During the first decade of its operations, the NCRFW thrust were on the following major programs:

  • Organizing women into a nationwide movement called “Balikatan sa Kaunlaran” (shoulder-to-shoulder in development). This organization is now registered as an independent women’s organization;
  • Conducting policy studies and lobbying for the issuance of executive and legislative measures concerning women;
  • Establishing a clearinghouse and information center on women; and
  • Monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

From 2001, the NCRFW that became PCW in 2009 supported the administration’s poverty alleviation agenda by sustaining the gains of the past in making the bureaucracy work for women under the thrust of advancing and protecting human rights, promoting women’s economic empowerment and promoting gender-responsive governance.

On July 8, 2010, the PCW launched the MCW Implementing Rules and Regulations to its partners and stakeholders. It is currently revising its structure and staffing pattern to effectively and efficiently undertake and accomplish its mandate.

Article of Note

January 19th, 2016

 “I Get Angry If He’s Always Drinking and We Have No Money”: Exploring Motivations for Male and Female Perpetrated Intimate Partner Violence in the Philippines

by Jessica A. Fehringera & Michelle J. Hindinb

UHCW-Color-Cover-2010-208x300Our objective was to describe the context of and motivations for female and male perpetrated intimate partner violence (IPV) in Cebu, Philippines, using data from in-depth interviews with 19 married women. We found three categories of IPV motivations—self-defense or retaliation, reactivity, and control. Motivations differed by gender, with women acting out of self-defense more often and men acting out of control more often. Effective IPV prevention and treatment programs should take these gender differences into consideration. Moreover, it is important to look at how IPV occurs within relationships and how this may vary by context and by gender.

Health Care for Women International, Volume 35, Issue 4, pages 476-491
DOI: 10.1080/07399332.2013.770003