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DC Event Recap

Monday, October 20th, 2014

HerStory Screening is a Success

On Wednesday, October 15, GGP hosted Sally Nuamah, PhD candidate at Northwestern University and GW alumnus, to present her documentary, HerStory: Educate a Woman, Educate a Nation. Sally became inspired after her first trip to Ghana, as an undergrad at GW. The film is a response to her connection with the Ghanaian girls.

One individual highlighted in the documentary is Queen, the headmistress of a public school; the first female head of the school in 60 years. She turned the school around, putting girls on the front line of leadership. 

Many of the challenges the girls face are making it through high school and getting into one of 3 of the best university’s of Ghana: University of Ghana, Legon; Cape Coast University; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Cost of education for 1 girl is about USD$500 a year (tuition, boarding, and books). 

One individual at the event described the documentary as “super interesting, and very touching too”.

The forty minute documentary was followed by a question and answer session with the director. Many guests stayed later to continue conversations with Ms. Nuamah.

Org Spotlight: U-TOUCH

Monday, October 20th, 2014


UTouch sign 1 (1)



New U-TOUCH Women’s Empowermen​t (WE) program inUganda

U-TOUCH stands for Universal Technology Outreach Community Hubs. The organization aims to help people create opportunity for themselves and their communities with marketable skills for the workforce, beyond completing school. U-TOUCH stemmed from the idea that “Brilliance is equally distributed….Opportunity is not.” With this in mind, U-TOUCH hired its first woman trainer at the Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) and completed its first program targeted at women’s empowerment.

utouch2Gloria, a Kenyan national currently studying at the University of California in Riverside, taught the women’s workshop pilot this summer and told the following:

“U-TOUCH did something in Gulu that had never been done before. It provided a safe space for women to share their issues and struggles and ultimately a space that welcomed self-expression, growth and understanding. As a class we tackled issues of self-esteem, building a positive body image, ways to over-come gender based violence and learned leaderships skills as well as how to start and manage a small business. Through the three week training, twenty women embarked on a journey that inspired them to push past their circumstances and insecurities and dared them to be fearless. At the end of the training twenty women received their certificates of completion with confidence, pride, knowledge and a fearless attitude ready to take on the world.”utouch1

The need for a program like WE became apparent from the first day U-TOUCH opened its doors. Executive Director, Deb Plotkin recalls her surprise when 75 men and only one woman came to the first day of class. She recalls, “I told the men that if they wanted to come back tomorrow, they had better bring a woman. And I said to the woman, come back tomorrow with all of your friends.” And from that point on, U-TOUCH classes have been gender balanced.

Now, men and women of the communities are engaged in constructive conversations about the roles and rights of women.

Org Spotlight: Sisters’ Shelter Somaya

Monday, October 13th, 2014

SistersShelterSomayaSisters’ Shelter Somaya

A Muslim Women’s Organization in Sweden, Sisters’ Shelter Somaya focuses on helping women who have been affected by violence. They have an anonymous hotline that allows women to call in anytime to request physical help and emotional support.

Sisters’ Shelter Somaya also operates shelters for women and girls who have been victims of violence. It is a safe space for Muslim women and girls to come if they have been physically or verbally abused, harassed, or threatened. In addition to their personal accommodations, the shelter will also offer advice on what rights these women have and where to go for further legal advice in cases where the women wish to take further action.

Everyone who works at this center has vowed to uphold confidentiality so that the women who call or come in can feel safe in the knowledge that they will not be targeted for their choice to seek help. In operation for over a decade, this non profit organization prides itself on the compassionate and nonjudgmental services it offers.

DC Event: HerStory

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

HerStoryWhen: Wednesday, October 15, 6:00-8:00 pm   Where: Lindner Commons, 1957 E St NW, Washington, DC

“HerStory: Educate a Woman, Educate a Nation”, directed by Sally Nuamah, is a documentary short film on breaking the glass ceiling of education for girls in Ghana.

Sally, a George Washington alumna, is currently pursuing a PhD in political science from Northwestern University. The idea for “HerStory” developed while Sally was spending a semester abroad in Ghana researching the disparities among female high school students. As a first-generation Ghanaian-American, Sally felt a strong connection to the girls she met who were striving to become the first in their families to go to college in Ghana. “This work has become central to my efforts around disadvantaged youth and sparked my interest in determining how education can be used as a mechanism for improving life chances”. –Sally Nuamah

Please join us in screening her completed film, followed by a question and answer session with the director and light refreshments. To RSVP click here.

Conference Report: Sharing Insights between Pakistan and the U.S. — Social Research Through a Gender Lense

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

backroom view with screen 




On September 10, the third video conference  connecting the George Washington University  (GW) with Lahore College for Women  University (LCWU) in Pakistan provided an  opportunity for a  live discussion between  faculty and students at both universities. The event was part of the Global Gender Forum speaker series, sponsored by the Elliott School’s Global Gender Program and funded through a grant from the U.S. State Department. The funding supports a three-year partnership between GW’s Global Gender Program and LCWU’s Gender and Development Studies Department.

The moderators were Shaista E. Khilji, Professor of Human and Organizational Learning and International Affairs Professor, George Washington University, and Uzma Ashiq Khan, Assistant Professor, Gender and Development Studies, Lahore College for Women University. After a brief welcoming note, six speakers presented brief notes on their research.

LCWU speakers:

Mehr Agha: Assistant professor, Gender and Development Studies, and Manager, Career Counselling and Job Placement.

Mirpuri Marriage Practices among Women Living in Bradford, U.K.: Generations, Gender Roles, and Transformations

My dissertation study was a comparative analysis of marriage practices (arranged, early arranged, and consanguineous arranged) across generations amongst Mirpuri women (British born and immigrants), living in Bradford, U.K. My objective was as to illuminate how marriage practices are internalized, contested, negotiated and passed on between generations. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with members of both groups. Despite unconscious internalization of traditional marriage practices within the immigrant Mripuri women, a slow shift in practices is occurring among British-born Mirpuri women toward delaying marriage with the rationale being the importance of women gaining higher education.

Farah Adil: Lecturer, Gender and Development Studies.

Gender Role Strain Experienced by Men in Pakistani Society

Pakistan is a patriarchal society which on one end provides supremacy or superiority of men over women and on the other end also imposes many responsibilities on men. Gender role strain is caused due to strict adherence of society made roles. I collected survey data about the intensity of gender role strain among working men of Lahore, Pakistan. Results show that Pakistani men experience severe gender role strain related to their roles as head of the family, sole breadwinner, and decision maker at home. Because of severe gender role strain, many men experience anger, anxiety, fatigue, and confusing thoughts. Findings suggest that reducing gender role strain may reduce aggression and violence in society.

Zille Zahra, Assistant manager, Women Institute of Leadership and Learning (WILL)

Impact of Conflict on Women and Role of Women in Peace Building

My research explores the factors behind on-going intrastate conflicts in Pakistan, which are affecting the life of women and also highlights women’s role in conflict resolution and peace making. The study was qualitative; based on case studies of 4 women peace activists from conflict sensitive areas of all provinces of Pakistan. The results showed that Pakistan is caught in number of conflicts which are interlinked with each other and have multilayered and multifaceted impacts on women. Findings indicate that the women’s voices at the peace table and in peace negotiation improve the chances of sustainable peace.

GW speakers:

Malikah Alturki, Doctoral student, Human and Organizational Learning, Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Women’s Leadership in Saudi Arabia

The purpose of my research is self-empowerment for women in Saudi Arabia and the consequential development of the country’s economy. As Ahmad (2011) concluded in his study, women’s entrepreneurial activities in Saudi Arabia are important to economic and social development. These women may hold the key to Saudi economic transformation. Thus, this study will examine the critical learning experiences of female Saudi Arabian entrepreneurs, which enable them to lead successfully.

Brian Keilson, Doctoral student, Human and Organizational Learning, Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Identity Development in Hyper Masculine Organizations in the U.S.

Hypermasculinity was has been described by a) a callous sexual attitude towards women; b) a belief that violence is manly; and c) the experience of danger as exciting. It has since been used to describe organizational culture as well. While cultures may be described as hypermasculine, such as the military, law enforcement, gangs, etc., there is also a need to understand the individuals in these organizations and how their personal identity developments. My proposed research seeks to understand the personal identity development of males within these hypermasculine cultures. I will focus on how male identity develops in these organizations and how do these males negotiate their identity within their social relationships.

Andrea Scott, Doctoral student, Human and Organizational Learning, Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Women’s Entrepreneurship and Learning in the U.S.

As of 2013, there are over 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the United States that generate over US$ 1.8 trillion in revenue and employ nearly 7.8 million people. My research focuses upon women entrepreneurs’ and their learning with the purpose of answering the following question: How do women entrepreneurs learn the skills require to grow from self-employed business owners to small and medium size enterprises?

Following these presentations, a lively discussion took place involving attendees from both universities. Questions probed the researchers’ methods and findings as well as exploring any challenges the researchers faced while doing their studies, particularly reactions from men. In all, it appears that men and women participants in the research projects welcome the studies.

Our thanks again to the U.S. State Department for supporting the partnership and this event, and thanks also to faculty, students, and staff in Washington and Lahore for making this event possible.

Call for contributions from GEMS (Gender, Education, Music, Society)

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

GEMS is extending a call for articles and book reviews/summaries for the upcoming year – particular topics of interest include: women studies, gender studies, LGBTQ or other current topic. Topics do not have to be directed towards “music or music education” – generalization can be made. For the September issue, please consider submitting an article or a book review/summary. Please email me your word document directly to the editor, Dr. Colleen Pinar, at

Submissions are also welcome for later issues.

GEMS’ archives is located at Queens University
(Queens University may be working on the OJS system. If you are having trouble downloading a pdf- try Firefox or Chrome).

Articles (Book Reviews/Summaries are also located at the above web address). (more…)

Women, Peace, Security, and Development Bibliography update

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
Image source: United Nations Development Fund for Women

Image source: United Nations Development Fund for Women

In April, the Global Gender Program’s Women, Peace, Security, and Development Bibliography grew to nearly 2,500 sources. Newly added sources include:

We continue to improve the quality of listing on the database by adding more relevant descriptors and identifying whether sources are open access (OA) or not open access (NOA.)

Please feel free to suggest additional sources by sending an email to:

Event recap: Religion, gender, and Muslim political presentation in Europe

Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Rafaela Dancygier, Princeton University

Rafaela Dancygier, Princeton University

By student contributor Andrew Elliott

Rafaela Dancygier, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University, has been exploring domestic consequences of international immigration, the political incorporation and electoral representation of immigrant-origin minorities, and the determinants of ethnic conflict. On April 11, she spoke on Religious Parity in regards to Muslim Political Representation in Europe for  the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at the Elliott School of International Affairs, describing her research on  the inclusion of ethno-religious minorities in European political parties, particularly Muslims.

She began by describing the typical consequences of including ethno-religious minorities in the European political sphere, concluding that parties usually include Muslims when the immigrant population has sufficiently assimilated and has adopted liberal values or when Muslim groups can deliver pivotal votes. She  noted that recently, parties are focusing on attaining the votes of Muslims residing in dense, urban areas to boost the likelihood of a successful election. “The Muslim vote”, according to Dancygier, is a reference that is used similar to the way that “an African-American vote” or “a female vote” exists in the United States today.

The Muslim bloc, now a sizable minority in many European countries, has become a prized possession for both leftist and rightist parties. The easiest way for these parties to garner this generalized vote, is by placing Muslim figures on municipal election ballots. Interestingly enough, recently, an increasing number of Muslim females have made their way onto ballots.

While there has been a rise of Muslim females in domestic politics in Europe, men have long been and still are the preferred choice as political parties consider Muslim men better able to win over the rest of the community based on a “who knows who” platform. And although the rising number of Muslim females involved appears optimistic for gender equality, many female Muslims have been seen on rightist ballots, a method used by parties to preserve traditional, conservative values, and thus does not necessarily signal greater gender equality. According to Dancygier, this situation is comparable to that of Sarah Palin and the GOP in the U.S.

Dancygier examined religious and gender parity in four European nations: the U.K., Austria, Belgium, and Germany. She found that most attacks against immigrant communities have been increasingly under the pretext of how these ethno-religious minorities are perceived to treat women in their communities.

Dancygier’s research is  innovative and relevant to the present political scene in Europe, especially surrounding the rise of right-wing anti-immigration policies in many liberal nations throughout Europe. She hopes that women will run for political office on their free will, and that ethno-religious minorities can vote based on candidate of choice and will not be pressured to vote for candidates within their community, religious bloc, or gender.

Andrew Elliott is an Elliott School undergraduate student majoring in international affairs with concentrations in international development and a regional concentration in Asia. With interests in Southeast Asia and urban planning, he aspires to someday work and conduct research in these regions.

DC event: African Diaspora and Development

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

African Diaspora and Development

When: Saturday, April 12th, from 2:30 – 6 pm

Where: Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire (2424 Massachusetts Avenue, NW), Washington DC
Maison D’Oeuvres Pour Le Developpment Economique et Du Leadership Pour la Cote D’Ivoire and the Consortium of African Diaspora in the United States (CADUS) invites you and your colleagues to attend a forum on “African Diaspora and Development Partnerships.”  Ambassador Amina Salum Ali, the African Union’s Permanent Representative to Washington, will be the keynote speaker for this event.

Please RSVP to Janet Kah Le Guil at <>

Org Spotlight: Kachin Women’s Association Thailand

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Kachin Women’s Association Thailand

The Kachin Women’s Association Thailand formed in 1999 in response to the social, economic and military exploitation of the various minority ethnic groups, including the Kachin of northern Burma, at the hands of the Burmese military government. For decades, the Kachin’s resources have been extracted by the government without sharing the benefits back to the people. Due to aggravated mismanagement of the region, many Kachin people have left their country, often settling in Thailand. KWAT seeks to organize and unite Kachin women in Thailand in order to collectively achieve positive change and empowerment for Kachin women and children in Thailand and abroad. KWAT aims to eliminate discrimination, empower women’s decision-making and political participation from a local to international level, and provide opportunities for all Kachin children to reach their potential. Current projects include research, capacity-building, anti-trafficking, health, and migrant worker justice. Overall, KWAT envisions a world where Kachin women are empowered, educated and equal.