Archive for the ‘student post’ Category

Elliott students in the field

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Nanda Ruiz
MA Candidate, International Development Studies, Gender concentration

Nanda2

Nanda Ruiz [Center]

I never imagined I would spend a summer in the bustling capital of Bangladesh but I admit there is something appealing about Dhaka and the absolute jolt she offers your senses. Taking an internship with iDE-Bangladesh has been a very rewarding experience. My role with iDE-B is as an internship position as Programs Associate – Gender and Market Development. As soon as I arrived I was given an opportunity to apply my past experience in a way that supported the organization and left room for me to be creative.

iDE is a development NGO focused on market based approaches to poverty alleviation. iDE uses a Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P)approach to ensure inclusive development outcomes. My job was to identify spaces where gender equality could be better addressed through project interventions. My first few weeks I spent in the field speaking with beneficiaries. Working directly with people I learned so much and was able to take my insights back to the Dhaka office to add to a more robust and inclusive gender equality policy for iDE projects. (more…)

Women, Politics, and a Way Forward

Monday, August 3rd, 2015
Homa Hoodfar, keynote speaker

Homa Hoodfar, keynote speaker

by student contributor Laura Kilbury

On July 30 at The Elliott School, women and men rose early in the morning to be a part of the Empowering Women through Political Participation & Empowering Politics through Women’s Participation conference hosted by The Global Gender Program.

The panelists who spoke at the conference were leaders in their field of academia and practice. The conference was honored to host panelists: Homa Hoodfar from the University of Concordia, Rosalyn Cooperman from the University of Mary Washington, Theresa Reidy from University College

Mona Tajali on Turkey

Mona Tajali on Turkey

Cork, Maryam Batool from Lahore College for Women University, Mona Tajali from University of Oxford, Loubna H. Skalli from American University, Gretchen Bauer from University of Delaware, Uzma Ashiq Khan from Lahore College for University Women, Katsuo Nishikawa Chaves from Trinity University, Toni Michelle C. Travis from George Mason University, Kanisha Bond from University of Maryland, Zille Zahra Naqvi from Lahore College for Women University, and Jane Henrici from George Washington University. (more…)

Informational lunch brings together cultures and conversation

Monday, 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.

Where are the women?

Monday, 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.

(more…)

GGP Welcomes Visitors from Pakistan

Monday, 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.

(more…)

The Hidden World of Cambodia’s Sex Workers

Monday, 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 NPR.org.

(more…)

Kudos to Aisling Swaine

Monday, July 13th, 2015

AislingKudos to Professor Aisling Swaine for the release of a co- authored publication in the International Feminist Journal of Politics. The publication is titled, Monsters, Myths, Selfies and Grand Declarations. It is a conversational piece with Henri Myrttinen on the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, also known as the ESVC Summit, which was hosted in London in June 2014.

The summit occurred over the course of four days and several invited experts were at the meetings. The significance of this summit is that was a first. Not only were there experts, but there were also survivors that came to the summit, which was remarkable. In this publication, the question arises as to whether or not this was cause for celebration or if more questions should in fact be asked.”

The publication reports on the ideas and reactions to the summit with Aisling Swaine as an invited delegate and expert in the meetings and Myrttinen as a voice of NGOs in the event.

(more…)

Hillary Clinton talks gender at George Mason University

Monday, July 6th, 2015

by student contributor Laura Kilbury

Obama Announces Appointments Of Clinton, Gates, Nat'l Security Team“I’m on the side of everyone who’s ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out,” she said. “I’m not running for some Americans, but for all Americans.”

The 2016 presidential race came to Virginia on Friday June, 26, ushered in by the roaring voice of Gov. Terry McAuliffe introducing Hillary Clinton. In her campaign stop in the state, the Democratic front-runner called for the protection of gay and abortion rights.

Clinton headlined the state Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson event, previously a formal dinner but this year held as a campaign event at George Mason University’s Patriot Center. The rally was billed as a “people’s event” and felt like a mix of high school pep rally and political convention; teleprompters and large projection screens adorned the stage while crowds ate popcorn in an arena where people usually watch basketball and concerts.

Clinton also touched on women’s equality in her speech, emphasizing women’s reproductive choices.

“Well, one thing’s for certain, we don’t need any more leaders who shame and blame women rather than respect our right to make our own reproductive health decisions.”

Snowballing off the release of the new book, The Hillary Doctrine, by Valerie Hudson and Patricia Liedl, one wonders how women’s equality- domestic and international- would be structured on Clinton’s agenda should she be elected as President.

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

hillary

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

townsend

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.