Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Org Spotlight: Camfed

Friday, March 27th, 2015

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The Campaign for Female Education

Camfed, The Campaign for Female Education, is an international non-profit organization that works to encourage and support education for girls with the ultimate vision of alleviating poverty socio-economic inequalities. The organization was initially established in 1991 when Ann Cotton traveled to Zimbabwe to learn more about the rural schooling practices and enrolment in the area. She discovered that the primary reason for why enrolment rates were so low was because of the overarching theme of poverty. Poverty prevents families from being able to pay for their children’s fees that are associated with school. Families were facing a choice between sending their boys or girls to schools, which typically results in the families choosing their sons because they have a higher chance of earning a higher paying job in the future. So, Cotton began a small grassroots campaign in Cambridge, England, which then evolved into Camfed in 1993.

Camfed supports and endorses the idea that all children should have equal access to education and quality of life. The reasoning behind supporting specifically girls is because as Cotton noted in her travels to Zimbabwe, girls face greater disadvantages such as, early marriage, early pregnancy and HIV and AIDS which poise as obstacles. As an organization oriented on activism, Camfed have developed programs that work to confront and transform the system that continually fails girls.

The organization has focusing on empowering girls and women through the channel of education in poor rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, where the girls face dire hindrances towards their future due to the complications of wealth disparity. Camfed is transforming these communities by ultimately reinforcing the girls’ educational access. The model produced by Camfed has spread to more than 3.428 communities in Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have directly supported over 1,202,000 students to attend primary and secondary school, and over 3 million children have benefited from an improved learning environment.

Org Spotlight: National Council of Women’s Organizations

Friday, March 13th, 2015

National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO)

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The National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) is an umbrella organization for over 200 groups that together represent over 12 million women across the United States of America. It is a nonpartisan, nonprofit coalition that is the only one of its kind.

NCWO grew out of an informal group of women’s organizational leaders after the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1983. Capitalizing on the energy and inspiration following the 1995 Beijing Conference, NCWO has taken an active and powerful role in the policy arena, uniting women’s groups across the country to work together to advance a progressive women’s agenda.

Together, NCWO’s over 200 organizations collaborate to create policy, lead grassroots activism, and address issues that affect women and their families. Topics addressed by this organization include: education, older women, economic equity, corporate accountability, reproductive freedom, and global progress for women’s equality, among others.

The National Council of Women’s Organizations is the leading coalition that makes fighting for women’s rights more effective by working together.

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

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

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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.

Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, President of Women in International Security (WIIS) and Senior Advisor to the Center for Gender and Peacebuilding of the US Institute of Peace, began the panel discussion by posing three central questions. Why should we talk about gender in military operations? What does it mean when we talk about gender in military operations? How do we measure success? Peace tables dominated by men are unbalanced and are composed only of those “with the guns in hand.” She asserted that discussing gender in military operations is critical because of the distinct voice that women bring to peace talks. Utilizing more female peacekeepers makes for more successful, balanced peacekeeping efforts. Ms. de Jonge Oudraat explained that integrating gender into military operations means paying attention to both gender balancing and gender mainstreaming. In terms of measuring success, she emphasized that success means implementation of gender into all levels of policy, planning, training and execution. Ms. de Jonge Oudraat attributed the slow speed of implementation to the fact that gender still remains a very abstract concept within the military, especially when applied to concrete operations in the field.

Commandant Jayne Lawlor, Chief of Staff as Gender Advisor, J1, Defense Forces Headquarter of Ireland echoed Chantal de Jonge Oudraat’s assertion that a gender perspective must be integrated into all levels of military operations. Commandant Lawlor has served as a member of the Monitoring Group for Ireland’s National Action Plan on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and discussed the overarching goals and strategies of the action plan. Primary is to integrate gender into all military operations. A gender perspective is critical from the lowest to the highest rank and this perspective needs reinforcement throughout one’s career. A second goal is to integrate gender into the non-deployed realm, ranging from training to the home environment. Commandant Lawlor emphasized that the Action Group has sought to establish gender as a standalone pillar in training, rather than a supplementary variable to consider. She outlined several strategies to achieve these goals- more interaction with women’s NGO’s and CSO’s, inviting women from conflict zones to speak to soldiers, hiring more gender advisors, and establishing gender focal points at each level of the military and each stage of training.

Charlotte Isaaksson provided a valuable macro perspective on NATO’s overarching role. She serves as the Gender Advisor (GENAD) within the Allied Command Operations, NATO at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. Amongst her notable accomplishments before serving as GENAD, she established the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations in Stockholm, Sweden and maintains officer status within the Swedish Reserve. Though Ms. Isaaksson asserted that integration of a gender perspective into military operations is a very slow process that begins on an ad-hoc basis, she spoke optimistically about prospects for the future. “There is always a way. It will not be easy, but there is always a way. When you reach that point, it is incredibly rewarding,” she said. Echoing previous panelists, Ms. Isaaksson identified three lines of operation for integrating gender into military operations: missions, training and exercises, and overarching institutionalization of gender equality, or gender mainstreaming. The end goal is to integrate a gender perspective fully into all of NATO’s subordinate headquarters, with an emphasis on strong and consistent evaluation.

Brenda Oppermann discussed the successes and challenges of implementing UNSCR 1325 in the American military. Ms. Oppermann has served as a Stabilization and International Development Advisor, research, and senior Program Manager for various organizations including the UN, USAID, the US Army and NATO’s International Security and Assistance Force Afghanistan. She spoke most about her experiences in Afghanistan. She said that although small successes have been achieved, the United States military lags behind countries like Sweden and Ireland in implementing Resolution 1325. To combat this lag, Ms. Oppermann has worked on a team to create a gender annex within the operational order in Afghanistan. The gender annex was the first of its kind in this region and obligates soldiers to integrate gender into operations, as most soldiers on the ground currently have very little concept of gender and the role of women in children in operations. She emphasized that this knowledge void is largely a result of lack of gender integration into training and higher levels of military command. In order for gender concerns to be sufficiently integrated into operations, they must be emphasized from the regional command level to the individual unit level. In addition, Ms. Oppermann said, “if we are going to do a good job in integrating 1325, we must speak to civilians.”

The event’s final panelist was Robert Egnell, Visiting Professor and Director of Teaching at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Sties and senior faculty advisor to the GU Institute for Women, Peace and Security. Mr. Egnell is from Sweden. He discussed strategies for implementing change within the military – “the final bastion of masculine exclusivity”. Change begins with access to the institution one is attempting to influence. He emphasized that in order to implement change, gender must be integrated into the existing paradigm. The military conceives of itself as a fighting machine that serves the nation through fighting and winning wars. In order to effectively reach military members and convince them of the importance of a gender perspective, gender must be woven into this existing framework, i.e., intensive inclusion of women in the peace and security process is essential for fighting and winning wars. Mr. Egnell identified several other strategies for implementing gender concerns into the military’s “bastion of masculinity.” One is to focus on gender mainstreaming as a second wave of change that will occur after integrating more women into the process. Another is to provision greater resources such as hiring more people that will focus specifically on gender goals, establishing more training and focusing on monitoring and follow-up.

Panelists returned to several core themes throughout Wednesday’s event. The main idea that each speaker harped on throughout the conversation was the essentiality of pushing for change in every level and every stage. From day one of training to deployment, from the lowest-ranking military member to the highest-ranking officers, gender concerns must be stressed equally. This is a holistic process. Though Sweden, Ireland, the United States and NATO as a whole are all in different stages in the process of implementing UNSCR 1325 into military operations, all panelists agreed that gender is becoming an increasingly prominent factor in the conversation about military operations. Enacting change within vast bureaucracies is always a slow and cumbersome process, especially within the military, an institution predominated by men the world over. Nevertheless, there is cause for optimism. Robert Egnell ended the panel discussion on an optimistic note. “This is not a process that typically moves backwards.” Once military leaders become enlightened, they do not go back, and they become agents of change. “History is on our side.”

 

Org Spotlight: Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence

Friday, February 20th, 2015

The Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence 

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The Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence is an umbrella nonprofit organization representing Tribal Coalitions working to end sexual and domestic violence against Native people.  ATCEV was formed by Tribal Coalition leaders to deliver a unified voice against violence. Together, the Alliance seeks to strengthen ties and to share knowledge and resources between member coalitions. ATCEV supports and strengthens coalitions through sharing resources including policies, training curricula, outreach strategies and nonprofit development and sustainability. Collectively, ATCEV’s Coalition leaders have over 150 years of experience in victim services and Tribal nonprofit management.

The Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence currently consists of eighteen member coalitions across the country. These coalitions are:

Documentary recap: A Path Appears

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

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A Path Appears: Sex Trafficking in the US

by Staff Contributor Camry Haskins

The first installment of “A Path Appears” focused on sex trafficking in the United States. It highlighted the fact that trafficking is not just a problem on the other side of the world. Trafficking is a very real problem in the United States of America. Nicholas Kristof, coauthor of the book, A Path Appears invited famous actors to spend time in different cities taking the opportunity to speak with women who have been affected by trafficking. Ashley Judd takes a moment to share her own history of incest and rape with women in a self-help group. After sharing her story, she is taken around the city she grew up in and is reintroduced to the city through a new lens.

Magdalen House is one organization highlighted in this documentary. Magdalen House is a free, two year, residential program for women who are trying to leave a life of prostitution. After housing the women and realizing how few have anything to put on their resume, an organization called Thistle Farms was created so that the women could gain work skills. Thistle Farms is staffed by the women and sends money back into the program.

An important point made was the power the community has to reduce the propensity of sex trafficking. Searching through websites such as Backpage.com can aid in locating girls who have potentially been coerced into prostitution. The law enforcement needs to step up their techniques in both finding missing girls and locking up their procurers. The pimps and johns need to be targeted by police, not the prostitutes. The end of the film highlighted a police operation that caught men responding to an ad for prostitution. They have apprehended hundreds of men this way. If law enforcement makes this their focus, trafficking can be reduced.

Don’t miss the second episode of A Path Appears, airing at 10pm on PBS  Monday, February 2.

Watch the first episode online until February 14.

 

Org Spotlight: Aisyiyah

Friday, January 16th, 2015


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Aisyiyah: Women’s Movement Berkemajuan

 

Aisyiyah was established in 1917, making it nearly a century in operation. It is an autonomous organization of Muslim women working together throughout Indonesia, to contribute to the advancement of women in various fields of life, better education, health, economic, social welfare, legal awareness, political education, and women’s empowerment.

Aisyiyah has a history of promoting women’s empowerment. It was one of the organizations that were actively involved in creating the First Indonesian Women’s Congress in 1928. It was also one of the original initiators of the establishment of organizations federation’s Indonesian women’s organizations.

In other areas of development, Aisyiyah has founded a school to promote education, a number of hospitals to provide services to the general population as well as women and children’s care specifically, and Aisyiyah has established care facilities for a number of population groups around Indonesia. There is an orphanage, elderly home, and training facility.

Aisyiyah works to uphold Islam and the Islamic community throughout all of its work. This focus is realized in the form of charitable efforts, programs, and activities, including but not limited to:

  1. Increasing the dignity of women in accordance with the teachings of Islam.
  2. Improve education, develop culture, expand science and technology, and stimulating research.
  3. Improve the economy and entrepreneurship in the direction of improvement of quality of life.
  4. Improve and develop activities in the areas of social, welfare, health, and the environment.
  5. Improve and pursue law enforcement, justice and truth, and foster a spirit of unity and national unity.

Org Spotlight: WRDA

Friday, January 9th, 2015

The Women’s Resource and Development Agency

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The Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA) supports Women’s Groups and Networks within Northern Ireland. WRDA works from a feminist perspective in order to progress toward a fair and equal society where women are empowered within their own lives and with the influence to affect change in all areas of life.

WRDA is a regional organization working to advance women’s participation in society in order for women to achieve social, economic, political, and cultural progress. They partner with 20 other organizations and have the support of nine funders both within and outside of Northern Ireland.

Through their partnerships and funding WRDA is able to provide over 3000 training locations that have so far reached over 6000 participants. WRDA also uses their influence to campaign and lobby on issues affecting women. Through their work WRDA pushes policy makers to acknowledge the problems that women continue to face.

Most recently WRDA has helped to put together a factsheet on DOJ abortion consultation.

Kudos to Naomi Cahn

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

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The Global Gender Program is very happy to congratulate one of GW’s own. George Washington University Law Professor, Naomi Cahn, has graced not one, but two best book lists this year. Her book,  Marriage Markets: How Inequality Is Remaking the American Family, is one of twenty books chosen for the Newsweek Staff Picks of 2014, and is on the list for the Economist’s Books of the Year! Cahn coauthored with June Carbone.

 

Interactive Map: Org Spotlights

Wednesday, 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

Monday, 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.