16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

November 21st, 2014



Tuesday, November 25, marks the 14 year anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day commemorates the lives of the three Mirabel sisters who were assassinated for their political activism against the Dominican Republic dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo on November 25, 1960. In their home country of the Dominican Republic they are recognized as national martyrs, and in December of 1999, the United Nations decided that their cause deserved yearly commemoration.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women kicks off the yearly 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. The 16 days end on December 10, of each year which falls on International Human Rights Day. This year’s theme, Orange the World in 16 Days, is tied into the UN’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, which has designated the 25th of each month as Orange Day. Wearing orange on the 25th, is an opportunity to show support for this campaign to end the violence that affects 1 in 3 women around the world.

Events are taking place around the world to advance the mission of eradicating gender based violence. In Washington DC, on December 3, there will be two events in honor of this activism. The first of the two will be held at George Washington University, and will be a launch of the Lancet edition dedicated to violence against women. Later in the day a second event will take place at the World Bank Group, launching a Multisectoral Violence Against Women and Girls Resource Guide.

Stay involved through twitter using #orangeurworld and #16days. The Global Gender Program will post more events as they come up, in an effort to spread the word and combat gender based violence. If you are not yet subscribed to our newsletter, subscribe here.

Org Spotlight: SAHA Global

November 21st, 2014

SAHA GlobalSAHA Global

Saha Global is an organization that seeks to empower women in rural communities in the Northern region of Ghana and West Africa to solve their village’s need for clean water and electricity by providing leadership opportunities. The word “Saha” means opportunity in Dagboni, which is the local language spoken in Northern Region Ghana. In order to accomplish this mission, Saha recruits leaders from around the globe to come to West Africa through their Global Leadership Program. Participants in the Global Leadership Program train local women to start profitable social-entrepreneurship ventures. The revenue that is earned from these businesses is managed by the women and it stays in the community.

In the beginning Saha was focused primarily on water, but it has expanded its efforts to include access to electricity. People living in rural communities of the Northern Region of Ghana lack access to safe drinking water and are forced to drink from fecal contaminated waters sources. In addition to the absence of safe water, 30% of the people living in the rural communities rely on kerosene lamps for lights because they do not have access to electricity. These lamps are not only hazardous to people’s health, but also release harmful black carbon and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To date, Saha Global has launched 71 clean water businesses and 5 solar electricity businesses, which serve 38,108 people. 100% of these businesses are still in operation today. Their commitment to monitoring, combined with our use of simple and locally available technology, has been the key to their 100% sustainability rate.

DC event: Improving Global Health Through Clean Cooking Solutions: A Panel Discussion of Diverse Perspectives

November 20th, 2014

When: Monday, November 24th, 2014, 12:30pm*
Where: 950 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Room B100B

Exposure to smoke from cooking with solid fuels kills more than 4 million people, predominately in the developing world, each year according to the World Health Organization. This event will feature a panel of experts discussing clean cooking solutions and their ability to lead to improvements in health, environment and the livelihoods of women and children. It will conclude with a demonstration of the newest biomass stoves developed by Aprovecho Research Center.


  • Jacob Moss – United States Government Cookstove Coordinator, Department of State
  • Ranyee Chiang – Director of Standards, Technology and Fuels, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
  • James Tielsch – Chair of Global Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • Dean Still – Executive Director, Aprovecho Research Center

*A light lunch will be provided at 12pm

All are welcome to attend – RSVPS strongly encouraged.
Please RSVP to Kallista Bernal at kallista@gwu.edu

Interactive Map: Org Spotlights

November 19th, 2014

As you, our readers know, every week the Global Gender Update includes a spotlight on an organization that focuses on gender issues around the world. We believe that it is important to highlight the hard work that people are doing in the United States and abroad to alleviate gender discrepancies. Each spotlight links to a longer blog post on our blog page, global.gender.current. The blog then contains a hyperlink to the organization’s website so that any interested parties have the opportunity to educate themselves further, and maybe even get involved. We try our best to represent as many countries as possible. Evidence of this work can be found by going to the Org Spotlight Archive and checking out our interactive map. As different organizations are spotlighted in the newsletter, there location is added to the map.

Event Recap: Designing Global Measures for Women’s Economic Empowerment

November 17th, 2014

By student contributor Laura Kilburylinda scott

Many benefits are expected to ensue from programs for women. Professor Linda Scott from the University of Oxford addressed the challenges she has observed in trying to design programs and measurements for women’s empowerment at the “Designing Global Measures for Women’s Economic Empowerment” hosted by The World Bank Group Gender Team and SME Finance Forum. Professor Scott has been involved in many impressive efforts to create and evaluate support systems for female entrepreneurs. These experiences have given her a distinguished perspective on the state of affairs in women’s entrepreneurship support.

In her discussion, Professor Scott discussed the challenges of measuring the actual results of programs focused on women’s empowerment. For Scott, thinking critically about women’s entrepreneurship in developing and developed countries holds positive implications for family wellbeing, community viability, and national prosperity. Facilitating women’s entrepreneurship is a tactic for economic development as it produces a “ripple effect” that manifests in a greater trajectory than just focusing on men’s incomes. Scott supports this statement by pointing out that in the community, women invest their earnings in children and the community itself, which then produces a greater and more significant change. Scott also focused on private sector efforts, which includes her work building the measurement system for Walmart’s Empowering Women Together program.

Walmart’s Empowering Women Together holds the intention to assist women entrepreneurs at an early stage in their career development by facilitating a point of entry and access to a broader base of consumers, which is the “Walmart shopper.” The program is still small, in terms of the number of entrepreneurs it is connection and engagement with, but it is working within thirteen countries on four continents, so it has upward mobility potential thus far. These small companies constructed by women entrepreneurs involve a wide range of industries and products, such as jewelry and fashion. Many of the companies are social enterprises that are organized to benefit at-risk employee populations, such as refugees and recovering drug addicts. All these aspects make the system unique as Professor Scott highlights that no one else has attempted to capture the design measures that will work to assess impact and diagnose problems for women-owned businesses in any industry, any place, for any group of women.

Professor Scott’s discussion focused on the need for more attention to be focused upon the restrictions attributable to gender in the planning, management, and evaluation of interventions and particularly the need to recognize national differences in the constraints on women. She touched on the tendency of those who pursue this agenda,  to treat women’s entrepreneurship as if it were any regular business venture without taking the time to properly consider the concrete limits that gender norms put on women’s ability to build an enterprise. As Scott pointed out, anyone that wants to make a difference in empowering women must learn to look through a “gender lens”. The primary limits she highlighted were: biased financial systems, restrictive property rights, limits on mobility, and, most significant, the threat of violence.

Org Spotlight: GirlForward

November 14th, 2014



GirlForward is an NGO in Chicago that focuses on empowering refugee girls ages 12-21 who have been resettled in the city from war-torn countries around the world, and who are now building new lives for themselves and their families in the United States. It is the only NGO in the country that works to empower and instill confidence in refugee girls. GirlForward provides the girls with mentorship, educational programs, and leadership opportunities through programs that focus on four themes: Wellness, Wisdom, Wallet and World.

The organization started in 2012 when the founder and director, Blair Brettschneider recognized that there was a gap in providing refugee girls with the assistance, support, and resources that they needed. During the refugee experience, the girls in particular face challenging responsibilities and social isolation, while trying to acclimate to a new country, language, and culture.

Through individual mentorship, educational programs and leadership opportunities, the organization’s mission is to build a community of support for the girls amongst themselves as they go through the process of acclimation into the United States, as well as creating a resource center that the girls can go to for support and assistance.  These programs address the biggest challenges that refugee girls face when relocating to the United States.  GirlForward’s vision is to empower refugee girls because through girls, the entire community can be enriched and strengthened.

Article of Note

November 14th, 2014

Farming After the Fukushima Accident: A Feminist Political Ecology Analysis of Organic Agriculture

by Aya Hirata Kimura and Yohei Katano. Journal of Rural Studies 34:108-116, 2014.

Abstract: This paper analyzes experiences of organic farmers after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor accident. Specifically, we draw on feminist political ecology to analyze the divergent perceptions of radiation threats. Based on farmer interviews, we find that different interpretations resulted in social tensions on multiple levels, even among family members, particularly along gender lines. The paper links these local struggles to larger political issues. The political and economic elites emphasized control and normalcy in accordance with hegemonic masculinity, while chastising citizens who were concerned with radiation as irrational and hysteric. Existing studies of disasters have acknowledged their gendered impacts, but the analysis has tended to focus on women’s increased morbidity and mortality. Overall, our study suggests the utility of feminist political ecology in analyzing local risk interpretations and macro political dynamics from feminist perspectives. While gender difference in attitudes to radiation contamination is expected from the existing literature, this study suggests the need to examine how identities and socially constructed notions of masculinity/femininity mediate them. [not open access]


Women, Peace, Security, and Development Bibliography Update

November 7th, 2014

After a break during the summer, the Global Gender Program’s Women, Peace, Security, and Development Bibliography is once again adding new sources. Since September, the number of entries has increased from over 2,300 entries to nearly 2,600 sources. Many of the new sources are on human trafficking, particularly trafficking of women and girls.

Examples include:

“Risk Factors for Mental Disorders in Women Survivors of Human Trafficking: A Historical Cohort Study” [http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-244X-13-204.pdf] (needs hyperlink)

“Trafficking of Children for Prostitution in West Bengal: A Qualitative Study”
[http://www.krepublishers.com/02-Journals/T-Anth/Anth-17-0-000-14-Web/Anth-17-2-000-14-Abst-PDF/T-ANTH-17-2-591-14-816-Pandey-S/T-ANTH-17-2-591-14-816-Pandey-S-Tx%5B30%5D.pmd.pdf] (needs hyperlink)

“Position Paper on the Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in the United States”
[http://www.amwa-doc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/AMWA-Position-Paper-on-Human-Sex-Trafficking_May-20141.pdf] (needs hyperlink)

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: 1325bib.ggp@gmail.com.

DC Event Update: A Time To Act – Combating Sexual Violence in Syria and Iraq

November 7th, 2014

time_to_actAisling Swaine Jan 2014





We all have busy schedules, which at times prevent us from attending timely and thought-provoking events. If that happened to you last week when George Washington University’s own, Professor Aisling Swaine, was speaking on a panel regarding sexual violence in Syria and Iraq, there is an opportunity to get caught up. To watch the taping of the event, follow this link.

Combating Sexual Violence in Syria and Iraq was hosted by the American Red Cross Humanitarian Law team in partnership with the Global Gender Program.

Article of Note

November 7th, 2014


Mental Health Status among Married Working Women Residing in Bhubaneswar City, India: A Psychosocial Survey

by Ansuman Panigrahi, Aditya Prasad Padhy, and Madhulita Panigrahi. BioMed Research International, 2014, Article ID 979827, 7 pages.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/979827

Abstract: Mental health is a major public health concern worldwide. This study aimed to assess the mental health status and its correlates among married working women residing in Bhubaneswar city of Odisha, India. A cross-sectional study was undertaken in 240 households involving 240 married working women following a multistage cluster random sampling design. Using the predesigned, pretested interview schedule and self-reporting questionnaire, all relevant information was collected. Our study revealed that 32.9% of study respondents had poor mental health and only about 10% of these women had sought any kind of mental health services. Logistic regression analysis showed that 3 predictors such as favorable attitude of colleagues, sharing their own problems with husband, and spending time for yoga/meditation/exercise had significant positive impact on the mental health status of married working women. A preventative program regarding various aspects of mental health for married working women at workplace as well as community level could be a useful strategy in reducing this public health problem. [open access]

To go to the article click here.