Article of Note

April 27th, 2015

Are Women the Key to Peace in Colombia?

by Jacqueline O’Neillfp

After 50-plus years, 222,000 deaths, $9 billion in US aid, and 34 rounds of negotiations, one of the world’s longest civil wars is nearing its end. But how will fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known by its Spanish acronym FARC) return to civilian life? When armed groups lay down their weapons, women are rarely part of the equation. In Colombia, where an estimated 30-40 percent of FARC members are female, this would be a critical mistake. Learn why in the latest Foreign Policy article.

Org Spotlight: Women in Parliaments

April 24th, 2015

Women in Parliaments (WIP)wip

Women in Parliaments (WIP)  is an international networking group made up of all the current female Parliamentarians who hold office at the national level. Today, there are approximately 9,000 women who hold a Parliamentarian position in the world. The mission of WIP is to advance gender equality on the international stage by promoting and encouraging women to hold parliamentary roles at the national level as well as establish a relationship between Women in Parliaments and build up the international network.

The reason why WIP focuses on women in Parliamentary positions is because of the immediate power and impact they possess as elected political decision makers. WIP makes a point to address the opportunities and issues that are occurring at the national and international level in relation to the role of women in power and globalization. Women need three things to fulfil their potential: communication, connection, community. At WIP, optimizing the power of communication and connection builds new communities of support for women in politics everywhere.

April 12th through the 13th, WIP held a Global Parliamentary Conference in Washington, D.C at the World Bank and IMF. The joint hosting of the Global Parliamentary Conference is a continuation of the partnership with the World Bank, which includes the joint study “The Female Political Career” and the participation of WIP Delegates in theWorld bank/IMF Annual Meeting 2014. Founded in 2000, the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank & IMF is an independent, non-governmental organisation that provides a platform for Parliamentarians from WBG and IMF member countries to advocate for increased accountability and transparency in development cooperation.

The Global Conference is the Parliamentary Network’s flagship event. This edition brought together more than 200 parliamentarians from about 100 countries, leaders from civil society and partner organizations, and top officials from the World Bank Group and the IMF. The Global Conference acted as  an opportunity to identify the Network’s policy focus for the upcoming years.

This year’s Conference agenda focused on: (i) Twin goals of boosting shared prosperity and eradicating poverty, and macroeconomic stability; (ii) Transparency and governance and (iii) gender equity. By focusing on these three areas, the Parliamentary Network aims to: (i) increase Parliamentarians’ knowledge of these individual subject matters, push for legislations and reforms in key areas; (ii) underline Parliamentarians’ roles in improving these areas in their respective countries; and (iii) look at how international development partners such as the World Bank Group and IMF can support them in this task.

Fellowship opportunity

April 23rd, 2015

The Humanities Research Centre and ANU Gender Institute Joint Visiting Fellowship for 2016


We are pleased to invite applications for the 2016 Humanities Research Centre and ANU Gender Institute Joint Visiting Fellowship.

Applications should have a strong research focus on gender in the humanities, broadly construed. It is desirable but not essential that applicants address the 2016 HRC theme – ‘Forms of Authority’. The visiting fellowship will support travel to ANU and accommodation to a maximum value of $3000.

The application process (and forms) for the Gender Institute Fellowship is the same as for the other HRC Visiting Fellowships for 2016. The HRC Annual Theme description, guidelines, application and referees’ report forms can be found here. Please apply using these forms and specify your interest in the joint HRC/GI Fellowship in the application.

Applications should be submitted to and

The closing date for applications is 30th April 2015.

Kudos to Semhar Araia

April 20th, 2015

Semhar-Araia-East-Africa-Today-InterviewGeorge Washington University adjunct professor, Semhar Araia, just launched her own consulting firm, Semai Consulting. This consulting firm builds off of the Diaspora Women’s Action Network (DWIA) another organization founded by Semhar Araia. The consulting firm is dedicated to training organizations in diaspora practice through leadership and diversity.

“Semai is the Tigrinia word for ‘sky’, a name that I chose as a reference to my own émigré experience as the daughter of Eritrean parents in New York,” says Araia. “And it is also a word that connotes the vastness of opportunities – even when opportunities seem scarce or confused, as we all continue to discover the power of our own identities – culturally, geographically, and technologically.”

Article of Note

April 20th, 2015

‘A Lot of Headwraps’: Innovations in a Second Wave of Electoral Gender Quotas in Sub-Saharan Africa

by Gretchen Bauer

Over the last more than two decades, political parties and governments across sub-Saharan Africa have adopted electoral gender quotas for parliament at an astonishing rate – and with remarkable success as many sub-Saharan African countries have catapulted to the top in terms of women’s representation in a single or lower house of parliament. During a first wave in East and Southern Africa, quotas were adopted in the aftermath of conflicts and in the course of political transitions as mobilized national women’s movements, influenced by an international women’s movement and international norms, took advantage of political openings to press for the adoption of quotas through new constitutions or new electoral laws. In some cases a clear diffusion effect was at play between political movements that closely influenced one another. During a second wave mostly, though not only, in West Africa, quotas are again being adopted as women’s movements, in collaboration with regional, continental and international organizations, similarly press for an increased representation of women during constitutional reform processes or through revisions to electoral laws. During this second wave, creative quota designs have emerged as parties and governments have sought to strengthen existing electoral gender quotas or adopt them for the first time. This paper examines some innovations in quota design and quota use in three sub-Saharan African cases that are part of the second wave, including the move to gender parity and the possibility of an only ‘temporary’ special measure.

Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2014/92. [open access]


Org Spotlight: Maasai Women Development Organization

April 17th, 2015

Maasai Women Development Organization


Started in 2000 by Ndinini Kimesera Sikar, Maria Keheta, and Josephine Gabriel Simon, the Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO) envisions Masaii women in Tanzania to have an “Improved sustainable livelihood”. The three founders are Masaii women themselves and as a result of their own experiences, they conglomerated to form an organization that would have the capacity to support and encourage other relegated women to have access to education, health, and economic rights. The organization works to empower Maasai women via economic and social initiatives of increased accessibility towards education, health assistance, and enterprise development. Currently, the organization has a relationship with 5,000 grassroots women from Arusha and the Manyara regions of Tanzania.

In 2011, MWEDO started its Secondary School with more than 100 students attending. the central goal of the school is to allow girls to reach empowerment by means of education. With the ultimate goal of making education accessible to marginalized communities, the school boards most of its students because of the distance and remoteness of their homes to the school, which makes obtaining and education more of a reality.

An extension of its Secondary School program, MWEDO created the Education Access Program which provides adult women with the opportunity to obtain literacy. The women who are being targeted in this initiative did not have the ability to have access to formal education as children. The Adult Literacy Education has  evolved into a pivotal empowerment tool for the women as they learn more about leadership skills. The organization hopes that as a result of this program, women will be able to contribute into the decision making skills of their own lives and demonstrate their demands to the local and national government.

mwedoIn addition to their focus on education as a tool for empowerment, MWEDO also works to help women gain knowledge and become aware of maternal health, HIV and AIDS, as well as prevention and care. Maasai women and girls are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infections due to lack of information, knowledge including women disempowerment. MWEDO has therefore worked in this area to raise awareness through information dissemination and empowered women in the fight against HIV and AIDS infections.It has successfully been implementing HIV/AIDS Awareness, Prevention, Care and Nutrition activities since 2003, MWEDO works with a team of community volunteers who complement our efforts in different communities

By means of raising awareness of health, education, and economic right, the Maasai Women Development Organization continues to promote these vital attributes so that their mission of female empowerment can be fulfilled to all Maasai women in Tanzania.

Org Spotlight: Mukhtar Mai Women’s Organization

April 13th, 2015


MMWOMukhtar Mai Women’s Organization is was established in 2002 in Pakistan with the mission of bringing about a positive change in the treatment of women in society and working to eliminate all violence against women by promoting education, advocacy, and empowerment. The founder, Mukhtar Mai began this organization in 2002 after she survived a gang rape and then rather, than committing suicide as custom would predict, she spoke up, and pursued the case, which was picked up by both domestic and international media.

Muktar Mai Women’s Organization is centralized around the belief that it is not only imperative, but also feasible that through advocacy, women can be treated equally and not be subjected to violence and discrimination. The organization has created several projects that work to fulfill its mission and perpetuate equality and female empowerment. The foundation of these empowerment projects is the Muktar Mai Girls’ Model School, which works to provide women and girls accessibility towards education. The organization believes that when women and girls have access to education, there is an increase in the acquisition of civil, political, social, and economic rights. Ultimately, education is the most vital step towards female empowerment. In 2003, Muktar Mai opened her first school where she enrolled herself and two other students in her family house. Now, the school is able to provide girls with a free education, books, supplies, and uniforms to more than 550 girls.

In addition to promoting empowerment via education, the organization established the Mukhtar Mai Women’s Shelter home in 2006 as a refuge for women who have faced violence. The organization works to assist the women in the creation of a healthy, safe, and empowered life. This home has aided hundreds of women who have been subjected to violence, rape, honor crimes, child marriages, acid throwing, and many other forms of violence and discrimination.

The Muktar Mai Women’s Organization’s continues its mission of advocating for female and male equality and spreading awareness.


Article of Note

April 9th, 2015

‘My Body is Mine’: Qualitatively Exploring Agency among Internally Displaced Women Participants in a Small-group Intervention in Leogane, Haiti.

By Carmen H. Logie and Carol Ann DanielRGPH

The 2010 earthquake resulted in the breakdown of Haiti’s social, economic and health infrastructure. Over one-quarter of a million people remain internally displaced (ID). ID women experience heightened vulnerability to intimate partner violence (IPV) due to increased poverty and reduced community networks. Scant research has examined experiences of IPV among ID women in post-earthquake Haiti. We conducted a qualitative study to explore the impact of participating in Famn an Aksyon Pou Santé Yo (FASY), a small-group HIV prevention intervention, on ID women’s agency in Leogane, Haiti. We conducted four focus groups with ID women, FASY participants (n = 40) and in-depth individual interviews with peer health workers (n = 7). Our study was guided by critical ethnography and paid particular attention to power relations. Findings highlighted multiple forms of IPV (e.g., physical, sexual). Participants discussed processes of intrapersonal (confidence), interpersonal (communication), relational (support) and collective (women’s rights) agency. Yet structural factors, including patriarchal gender norms and poverty, silenced IPV discussions and constrained women’s agency. Findings suggest that agency among ID women is a multi-level, non-linear and incremental process. To effectively address IPV among ID women in Haiti, interventions should address structural contexts of gender inequity and poverty and concurrently facilitate multi-level processes of agency.

Global Public Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice, April 2015. [not open access]
DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2015.1027249

Women’s Leadership in Pakistan: Beyond Stereotypes and Myths

April 8th, 2015

by staff contributor Camry Haskins


“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed”. –Mark Twain (quoted by Shehla Ahmad Rathore)


Visiting faculty from LCWU: Shehla Ahmad Rathore (left), Asthma Seemi Malik (center), and Fareeha Anjum (right)

Visiting faculty from LCWU: Shehla Ahmad Rathore (left), Asma Seemi Malik (center), and Fareeha Anjum (right)

On Tuesday, April 7, faculty members from the Lahore College for Women’s University (LCWU) addressed an audience of around 50 individuals as part of a UNESCO Seminar series. This seminar was part of the GW-LCWU Partnership that has been led by Prof. Shaista E. Khilji and Prof. Barbara Miller in an effort to promote a meaningful exchange between Pakistani women scholars, and faculty and students at the George Washington University. This specific seminar was organized during the faculty members’ three-week visit to Washington, DC and its aim was to focus on breaking the stereotypes associated with Pakistan and the status of women within the country.

PhD scholar, lecturer, and MS program coordinator at LCWU, Shehla Ahmad Rathore opened up the seminar by asking the audience what their current impressions were of Pakistan. The very first comment was shock that there could be a women’s college in Pakistan. Rathore responded by informing the room that LCWU has 14,000 female students enrolled and is only one of several women’s only colleges throughout Pakistan. Another audience member stated that she imagined strict gender roles with women being restricted. There was only one member who spoke to diversity depending on region, class, and culture, which would mean a diverse Pakistan without any one overbearing stereotype.

Read the rest of this entry »

Women, Peace, Security, and Development Bibliography Update

April 8th, 2015

In April, the Global Gender Program’s Women, Peace, Security, and Development Bibliography is adding new sources. Since our last update in December, the number of entries has increased by approximately 400 entries, which has brought us to nearly 3,200 sources. Many of the new sources are on women in Afghanistan, particularly the impacts of gender policies on women and girls in Kabul, the tribes of Pashtun, and other rural areas of Afghanistan.

Examples include:

“Evaluating Female Engagement Team Effectiveness in Afghanistan”

“Implementing the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 ‘Women, Peace and Security’ in Afghanistan”

“Afghan Women and the United States’ Policy in Afghanistan”

We continue to improve the database by allowing researchers to find or search for sources more efficiently.
Please suggest additional sources by sending an email to: