Archive for the ‘events’ Category

The Hillary Doctrine:Sex and American Foreign Policy, To the day that the Hillary Doctrine becomes “unremarkable”

Monday, June 29th, 2015

by student contributor Laura Kilbury


On the 24th at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Valerie Hudon and Patricia Leidl discussed their new book, The Hillary Doctrine: Sex & American Foreign Policy, and its paramount importance for the United States in junction with national security priorities.

During her confirmation hearing to become secretary of state, Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in no uncertain terms, “I want to pledge to you that as secretary of state I view women’s issues as central to our foreign policy, not as adjunct or auxiliary or in any way lesser than all of the other issues that we have to confront.”

The “doctrine” comes from a proposition that Clinton made at the TEDWomen Conference in December 2010: “The subjugation of women is, therefore, a threat to the common security of our world and to the national security of our country.” In countries where women are chronically mistreated, or systematically excluded from leadership roles, there tends to be far greater state fragility, outbreaks and reoccurrences of conflict, and environments where extremists can flourish, including even terrorist organizations.

Research for the book began in 2010, and the content was largely written in 2013, after Hudson’s co- author Patricia Leidl completed fieldwork in several countries. Hudson emphasized the role that qualitative data played in their research. Data on cultural norms, customs, practices and laws were missing from the current research, so Hudson and Leidl created a massive database to fill this niche. One might wonder why the idea that women’s security affects national security is called the Hillary Doctrine. Hudson explained that though Clinton was the third female Secretary of State, she was the first woman in that role who made women’s issue priorities for the Department. The book, though not about Secretary Clinton herself, explores the effects that her belief in this idea has had on American foreign policy.

The first part of the book—based on interviews with government officials like Swanee Hunt, Andrew Natsios, Paula Dobriansky, and Melanne Verveer—consists of a helpful history of how women’s issues became prominent in U.S. foreign policymaking during the 1990s. This included milestones like UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the first resolution to address the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women, as well as the role of women in conflict prevention and resolution; the publication of the first U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security; and the difficulties and haphazard manner that the military and USAID have experienced in incorporating women’s issues into foreign operations.

The second section focuses on the theory and cases that explore whether the Hillary Doctrine is justified. Hudson discussed that her past research reveals the doctrine is in fact based on a solid premise. She presented the theoretical argument for what she and Leidl termed fempolitik, arguing that the realization that women’s security is closely linked to national security is a pillar of clear- eyed realpolitik. This then provides an argument that contends that that male-female relationships are a foundational issue, while poverty, explosive violence, ill health and other widespread problems are the macro consequences of women’s insecurity.

The third and last section of the book focuses on the implementation of the Hillary Doctrine from 2009-2013. Jen Klein, advisor to Secretary Clinton on global women’s issues, explained in an interview for the book that the State Department adopted four initial principles to guide their work on women. These principles stated that their work (1) would be non-partisan, (2) would not impose U.S. views or laws on others (indeed, the policies focused on the agenda enshrined in CEDAW, which the U.S. has not ratified), (3) must be based in evidence, even though the Department also thought it was the right thing to do, and (4) must demonstrate that the benefits created by such policies also apply to national security, not just women’s security. Though these principles were paired with strategic frameworks from major government organizations, Leidl explained that the disconnect between high-level policy and the actual work on the ground manifested itself in a fairly predictable fashion, citing some terribly ineffective initiatives.

At the end of the event, Leidl and Hudson noted some of the top priorities moving forward in a “to do list” fashion. These included using the bully pulpit to discuss women’s issues, developing hard targets and performance benchmarks on women’s inclusion, focusing on male accountability, and adding a jus ex bello element to the just war theory, one that focuses on the harms after war has ended that disproportionately affect women.

The authors then (with a confirming laugh in the room) eminently said that that the most important and elusive ingredient for implementing the Hillary Doctrine “can only come from the White House itself.” If a President Hillary Clinton is sworn into office on January 20, 2017, then there will be no more bureaucratic hurdles preventing the fuller implementation of the Hillary Doctrine. Would we learn if it isindeed a rhetoric, or the basis upon which U.S. foreign policy is developed and implemented?

At the end of the event, Hudson made a final and provoking note, “Here’s to the day the Hillary Doctrine becomes unremarkable.”

What will it mean in the future when it is the norm to look at our national security through a genderedlens? When placing women at the forefront of a national security agenda is the way to look at things that is when the Hillary Doctrine will persist.


Smart Women, Smart Power: Townsend

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

by student contributor Laura Kilbury


A common face on CNN, Fran Townsend, former Homeland Security and counterterrorism adviser to President George W. Bush, spoke candidly Thursday evening at CSIS’s Smart Women, Smart Power conversations series.

Townsend’s rise is particularly shiny when one looks into her childhood. She was the first person in her family to graduate high school. Her mother was a bookkeeper and her father was a roofer. When Townsend graduated from law school, her mother received her GED. Townsend had no knowledge up to that point that her mother hadn’t graduated from high school.

Townsend came to the White House from the U. S. Coast Guard, where she had served as the first Assistant Commandant for Intelligence. Prior to that, Townsend spent 13 years at the U. S. Department of Justice under the administrations of President H.W. Bush, President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.  She served in a variety of senior positions including as Counsel to the Attorney General for Intelligence Policy. Townsend began her prosecutorial career in 1985, serving as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, New York.

Being the first woman to be the director of Homeland Security, Nina Easton, the moderator, asked Townsend if she “felt the burden?”

“I had to be right every day”, Townsend responded.

The post 9/11 era of counterterrorism has given Townsend a unique and valuable perspective in the field of international and national security. A perspective that she admits as, “provocative”. She believes that we need to take the situation with ISIS “more seriously” and that we need a “strategy”. Noting that the thing that makes ISIS “dangerous” is their ability to mobilize and recruit others, including women, to their cause.

As Townsend discussed the victories and shortcomings of the U.S.’s policies regarding terrorism and security, there was one vital point missing from the conversation. The subjugation of women is a threat to general security of the world and to our own national security. When one looks at the countries that our nation deems a security threat, there is a common theme: the systematic oppression of women.

The ultimate purpose of the Smart Women, Smart Power series is to shed light on prominent and inspiring women and the achievements they have garnered. These women are successful and bright, and more importantly, they give hope that more women can share in these roles.

Until we put women and the forefront of our national security agenda, instability in states will perpetuate. The moment that we realize that the security of women equals the security of the world, we will see no progress in the fight against terror.

Melinda Gates: Smart Women, Smart Power

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

It’s Good to be Uncomfortable

by student contributor Laura Kilbury


Melinda GatesOn May 20, The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) welcomed Melinda Gates to the center’s ongoing discussion series, “Smart Women, Smart Power”. CSIS started this program on December 8, 2014 as an initiative to intensify the voices of leading women in the realms of foreign policy, national security, and international business.

Melinda Gates appeared on stage for a 90-minute interview Tuesday May 20, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as part of the CSIS-Fortune, “Smart Women Smart Power” series. Gates revealed steps the Gates Foundation, of which she is Co-Chair of, is currently taking to realign its vast resources to make investment in women and girls a top priority. “We are making strides for women and girls, but not on a global scale,” she said.

While Melinda Gates working in tandem with the Gates Foundation is making major strides for women in countries around the world, it is necessary to look at the strides Gates has made in the United States as a woman in technology.

Melinda French Gates grew up in Dallas—one of four children—with a homemaker mother who regretted never going to college and an aerospace engineer father. Gates’ father was progressive for the time. Her father valued having women on his teams, saying that his team “did better” when women were playing an integral part. She joined a computer science club at her Catholic girls school. “I love logic,” she says. “Computer science to me was like a puzzle. I like the logic of it and working your way through.”

In the discussion Gates talked about how computer science has a way of making one feel “uncomfortable”. However, she quickly said, “It’s good to be uncomfortable”.

Her parents, determined to send all four kids away to college, ran a real estate company on the side so they could afford tuition. Melinda and her sister were assigned to keep the books on their Apple 3 computer and painted the company’s rental properties on weekends. “I learned the flows of money, profit and loss. I knew what my parents bought [the homes] for and hoped to get,” she recalled. When she attended Duke, she added an MBA to her computer science and economics degrees—and made a speedy climb up the Microsoft ladder for nine years.

Gates was originally tracked for a job at IBM, but a recruiter steered her elsewhere. “I had a standing offer with IBM in Dallas,” Gates recalled. “I had turned down all the other companies except one.” That company was Microsoft.

Gates says the IBM hiring manager “stopped me dead in my tracks and asked, ‘Do you want my advice? IBM has a fantastic career track, but you have to go up each ladder of the chain.” Microsoft, said the recruiter, is a young, rapidly growing company with the promise of faster advancement for women.

She took the Microsoft MSFT-1.10% job—and history was made. and now—a quarter century later—she is co-steering a $42.3 billion foundation widely recognized as a game-changer in global poverty.

That effort will include a renewed effort to disperse contraception, though the foundation will not fund abortion. “I believe in and use contraceptives,” said the devout Catholic, who called family planning “vital in developing countries.”

In the wide-ranging conversation, Gates defended genetically-modified crops—increasingly the target of protests here and in Europe—as critical to eradicating hunger in poor countries. She also criticized the anti-vaccine movement and offered this positive bit of news: “We are getting very close in polio eradication. This would be an amazing success in global health.”

Melinda Gates took her first trip to Africa when she became engaged to Bill Gates. The journey was meant to be a fun and adventurous safari with other couples, but ended up offering inspiration and a life lesson.

“We loved the animals and the savannah, but you couldn’t help but ask questions—like why whole towns were shut down,” she says. In a Maasai cooking tent, the group bonded with villagers so well that one young man asked: “Can you come back in a few weeks? We are going to have a cutting ceremony for my sister.”

“We were all devastated” by the reference to genital mutilation, Gates says. “It made me realize I knew nothing about that culture. It started Bill and me on a series of learning journeys and questions.”

Now, though, she plans to double down on the poverty-eradicating bet they made 15 years ago. They argue that over the next 15 years, the lives of people in poor countries will improve more than at any other time in history. “When I look at Africa, I don’t just see the destitute stories,” Melinda Gates says. “I focus on the ingenuity and change of the communities.”

Women’s Leadership in Pakistan: Beyond Stereotypes and Myths

Wednesday, 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.


Women’s Leadership Conference

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

by guest contributor Mikaela Romero


WLC panel

Panel Discussion “Take Charge of Your Destiny” with (left to right) moderator Sharon Hadar and panelists Emily Hewitt, Karin Jones, Dhyana Delatour, Vicki Bowman.

On Friday, March 27, the George Washington University (GW) hosted the 2015 Women’s Leadership Conference, an annual conference that brings together GW faculty, staff, students, and alumnae of GW and the Mount Vernon College to discuss topics of women’s leadership, and exchange stories and ideas for professional and personal growth. The title and central theme of this year’s conference was “Charting a New Course.” In this respect, guest speakers and participants zoned in on women’s capacity to brave unchartered waters and, by doing so, advancing their fields of work, improving the lives of others, and challenging harmful or restrictive gender-based norms in society.

The conference remained engaging throughout the day, with different presentation formats and group exercises. Keynote speaker and Mount Vernon College alumna Nazenin Ansari spoke about her role in the international community as an Iranian-born journalist, emphasizing the importance of “connecting through our hearts” and progressing forward with the common visions that this connection fosters. Break-out sessions catered to diverse interests, ranging from topics in entrepreneurship and financial finesse to self-care and self-representation. Cumulatively, the sessions taught that while success in society-level contexts such as business and the economy is certainly within women’s reach, it is crucial to also nourish individual physical, spiritual, and mental health to remain happy and strong in the long term.


Upcoming workshop in Australia

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Workshop with Dr Kiran Martin, Founder of Asha: Women Innovating in Delhi’s Slums

When: Tuesday, April 7, 11:00 am- 1:00 pmindia
Who: ANU Gender Institute
Where: #130, Cnr Garran Rd and Liversidge St. Canberra Australia
Hedley Bull Theatre 2, ANU

The ANU Gender Institute presents Dr Kiran Martin, Founder and Director of Asha (“hope” in Hindi). Asha is a Delhi-based NGO that works in partnership with women in slum communities to improve living conditions and access healthcare, education and financial services. A blueprint for India’s national programs, Asha transforms lives in Delhi’s slums by turning women into leaders. Asha’s model has been acclaimed by the UN and Dr Martin has received the Padma Shri, India’s highest civilian award.

Looking Beyond Stereotypes: A Dialogue between Pakistan and the US

Monday, March 30th, 2015

by staff contributor Camry Haskins

visiting scholars

“Women here want autonomy and freedom to decide about their education, profession, life, and fate. This is something that women have been struggling for.”  Sarah Shahed (LCWU)


On Wednesday, March 25, three visiting scholars from the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) sat down for a roundtable discussion at the Elliott School of International Affairs to have an open discussion about the stereotypes that form when media is the main avenue for knowledge. Barbara Miller, the director of the Institute for Global and International Affairs (IGIS), as well as the Global Gender Program (GGP), led the discussion.

The LCWU visiting scholars, Fareeha Anjum, Asma Seemi Malik, and Shehla Ahmad Rathore, were the first to share their initial stereotypes compared with how their views had changed after landing in America. Overall their fears had been that they would be constantly harangued for their Visa’s and comments on how they dress. Fortunately, that will not be the image of America that they leave with. The words used just after a few days in Washington, DC have been “helpful” and “friendly smiles”. They mentioned that whether they approach a man or a woman, people have all been ready to help them with directions and answering any other questions they may have.


Dangerous Women

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

by student contributor Laura Kilbury


Throughout history women have been the leaders and defenders of peace. Does that make women “dangerous”?


On the evening of May 19th, the Global Women’s Institute (GWI) held the event, “Women in Peace and Conflict”. The conversation centered on the roles that women have played in peace operations throughout history. The event was honored by the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureat and Chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Jodi Williams and Dr. Wendy E. Chmielewski who is the George R. Cooley Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

The first question centered upon the contextualization of women and peace throughout history. Chmielewski discussed how throughout history women led the mainstream peace operations, particularly beginning in the years 1812 through 1850. This brought up the a underlining note; what if there were more women peacekeepers in the United Nations broad and narrow peace operations? What would that look like? How would that alter not only the outward view of UN peace keeping operations, but the internal armature of how those peace keeping missions are conducted? The discussion did not come up with a complete answer to those questions, but highlighted the fact that women throughout, America’s own history, have been leaders in the change and drive for peace and social justice.

Chmielewski continued with the fact that during times of violence women are the ones that face the burned of economic and emotional hardship, which, according to Chmielewski, resulted in women taking the charge in the drive for peace. Women faced, and still do, the more pressing ramifications when there is conflict. Whether it be working on children’s tempers in the home or civil rights for all citizens, women according to were the leaders.

This echoes what Patricia Arquette said when receiving her Oscar, “”To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights… It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”


Webinar event

Thursday, March 12th, 2015


Join WAND and the Institute for Inclusive Security for their webinar:

Women, Peace, and Security in the New Congress: Strategies for Action

Thursday, March 19, 2015
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT

On January 21, the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2015 was reintroduced in the Senate to ensure that the United States promotes women’s meaningful inclusion and participation in mediation and negotiation processes in order to prevent, mitigate, or resolve violent conflict.

With the rise of violent extremism, and crises in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, it’s critical to bring to the table the voices of those who can help us find pathways to sustainable peace. By enacting the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Act, we can promote the voices of women and prioritize their full inclusion in peace and security processes. We need a broad-based, grassroots effort to help advance this legislation, and you can play a key role in the movement.

Please join us for this webinar as WAND’s Women, Peace and Security Policy Director Julie Arostegui and Inclusive Security Action’s Policy Adviser Allison Peters discuss updates on the WPS Act and strategies to move the legislation forward.
Allison Peters is Policy Adviser at Inclusive Security Action, where she helps shape the organization’s strategies and outreach initiatives with a particular focus on the US Congress and the United Nations. Inclusive Security Action partners with The Institute for Inclusive Security to increase the participation of all stakeholders—particularly women—in preventing, resolving, and rebuilding after deadly conflict. Allison also leads the organization’s policy work in Pakistan, working with Pakistani women leaders to conduct research and advance recommendations concerning women’s inclusion in efforts to counter violent extremism and terrorism.

Previously, Allison spent six years on Capitol Hill as Foreign Policy and Defense Adviser to the late Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) where she supported his work on the Senate Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee as well as the Senate National Security Working Group. Allison began her career in the Senate in the office of then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). She holds a master’s degree in International Security Studies from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

DC Event Spotlight: What Works? Promoting Gender Equality and the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in Military Operations

Monday, March 2nd, 2015


by student contributor Hannah Stambaugh

2015 is the fifteen-year anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. UNSCR 1325 calls for the inclusion of a gender perspective in all levels of UN peace and security efforts and asserts the critical role of women in peace processes. On February 25th, the Global Gender Program celebrated International Women’s Day with a panel discussion on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in military operations. The event was part of the GGP’s Global Gender Forum series and was co-sponsored by Women in International Security.

Aisling Swaine, Associate Professor of Practice of International Affairs at the Elliott School, opened the event with an overview of resolution 1325. Though the resolution has been in place for fifteen years, there is still a lot of work to do in terms of implementation. Challenges in implementation are particularly pronounced within military institutions. Currently, only 3% of UN military missions are women, and most of these women are deployed as support staff. This figure has not changed in the past three years. The panel provided a unique comparative lens on the implementation of UNSCR 1325. Panelists hailed from three different countries – the United States, Ireland, and Sweden- and described prospects and challenges for the implementation of 1325 in their respective countries’ armed forces. Panelists also discussed the overarching roles of NATO and the United Nations in implementation of the resolution.