Article of Note

June 4th, 2015

Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict: Conflict-related Sexual Violence and the Policy Implications of Recent Research

by Elisabeth Jean Wood

Scholars increasingly document different forms of conflict-related sexual violence, their distinct causes, and their sharply varying deployment by armed organizations. In this paper, I first summarize recent research on this variation, emphasizing findings that contradict or complicate popular beliefs. I then discuss distinct interpretations of the claim that such violence is part of a continuum of violence between peace and war. After analyzing recent research on the internal dynamics of armed organizations, I suggest that widespread rape often occurs as a practice rather than as a strategy. Finally, I advance some principles to guide policy in light of recent research.

International Review of the Red Cross. March 2015. [not open access]


Org Spotlight: CHANGE

May 28th, 2015

Center for Health and Gender Equality


The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) is a U.S.-based non-governmental organization whose mission is to promote the sexual and reproductive health and human rights of women and girls globally by shaping the development and implementation of U.S. policies. The mission of the organization is to promote a vision of  a world where sexual and reproductive health and rights are universally recognized, and where comprehensive, integrated sexual and reproductive health services are accessible and available to all, free from coercion, violence, and discrimination.

Originally founded as the Health and Development Policy Project in 1994, CHANGE was created in direct response to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. This landmark meeting of approximately 180 countries, including the United States, produced a human rights framework for development assistance that –for the first time—promoted the universal sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. Since then, CHANGE’s mission has been to ensure that the U.S. remains accountable for its commitment to that framework, and that sexual and reproductive health and rights are reflected in all U.S. foreign policy and programming.

CHANGE became an independent nongovernmental organization in 2001, and its policy work has expanded to include gender integration and HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, female condoms programs, and mobilization at the grassroots level.  Its main focus remains on advocating for the clear and consistent support of sexual and reproductive health and rights in all U.S. foreign policy and programming.

In the past several years, CHANGE has begun to build and mobilize a significant base of U.S. supporters, drawing from and building bridges among diverse U.S. constituencies such as students, reproductive justice advocates, faith-based organizations, HIV/AIDS groups, and women’s organizations.

Today, CHANGE’s emphasis is on promoting a comprehensive, human rights-based framework for U.S. sexual and reproductive health policies and programs. The framework addresses family planning, HIV/AIDS, and maternal health. As part of this effort, CHANGE seeks to remove the ideology-based and counterproductive restrictions in U.S. policy that hinder comprehensive approaches to sexual and reproductive health.CHANGE


Article of Note

May 27th, 2015

Uterotonic agents for preventing postpartum haemorrhage: a network meta-analysiscochrane_logo_stacked_rgb

by Ioannis D Gallos, Helen M Williams, Malcolm J Price, Abi Merriel, Harold Gee, David Lissauer, Vidhya Moorthy, Özge Tunçalp, A Metin Gülmezoglu, Jonathan J Deeks, G Justus Hofmeyr, Arri Coomarasamy

We aim to assess the clinical effectiveness and side-effect profile of uterotonic drugs to prevent PPH, and to generate a clinically useful ranking of available uterotonics according to their effectiveness and side-effects. We will explore the effects according to various key prognostic and treatment factors. The population of interest is women following a vaginal birth or a caesarean section in the hospital or the community setting. All uterotonic drugs considered by the WHO are eligible and the outcomes include blood loss-related outcomes and side-effects.

Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group, 2015
DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011689

Melinda Gates: Smart Women, Smart Power

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.”

Article of Note

May 1st, 2015

Gender Equality as a Key Strategy for Achieving Equitable and Sustainable Development in Mountains: The Case of the Hindu Kush–Himalayas

by David Molden, Ritu Verma, and Eklabya Sharmaweb-MRD-Journal-3-Rus_Page_001s

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) believes in a future where the mountain people of the Hindu Kush–Himalayas can experience enhanced livelihoods, equity, and social and environmental security; where they can adapt to environmental, socioeconomic, and climate change; and where future generations of mountain and downstream populations can enjoy the benefits and opportunities afforded by the region’s natural endowment. ICIMOD is an intergovernmental center that develops and shares information and knowledge, facilitates learning, and uses innovation and effective communication to empower its eight regional member countries—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan—and the women, men, and children living there. ICIMOD believes that interventions are most successful when they take into account the points of view of everyone in society, regardless of gender, caste, or ethnicity. Inclusiveness is the hallmark of ICIMOD’s work.

Mountain Research and Development. 34(3):297-300. 2014. [open accses]

Kudos to Sally Nuamah

April 29th, 2015

sally nuamahIn October 2014, GGP hosted a screening of GW alumni, Sally Nuamah’s documentary, HerStory. HerStory is a film project that began six years ago in 2009. GGP funded the first round of editing for her initial footage. Ms. Nuamah completed the film in August 2014. Less than a year later HerStory celebrates nearly one DOZEN screenings across the country. Best of all, HerStory was just officially selected for the following award: Best Educational Documentary Short. The award was provided by Bare Bones International Film Festival. The Festival is ranked TOP 25 by PBS. It is an honor to be recognized by such a prestigious organization.


Check out the trailer here.

​As we hope to keep the momentum going, we ask that you PLEASE:HerStory
Review the film (you can also just google her story +imdb)
Follow on Instagram @mystoryherstory
Follow on Twitter @herstorygh
Like on Facebook
Visit the website at
Donate to help a girl go to college

Org Spotlight: SNEHA

April 29th, 2015


imagesSNEHA is a progressive organization that works closely with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. We do innovative work in the urban slums to reduce maternal mortality, newborn mortality, malnutrition and domestic violence. The core belief is  that the cycle of ill health can and must be broken by creating an urban society whose foundation is built on a healthy and empowered populace. The organization began in the 1990s when Dr. Armida Fernandez and her team were assisting premature infants born in the urban slums and the realization that the homes that the infants were being born into would be a continuation of unhealthy practices that would ultimately perpetuate the cycle.

In order to combat this cycle of malnourished and premature births, Dr. Fernandez designed a solution based on empowering the women with vital information to help them create a healthier lifestyle for their families. With that objective in mind, a small team of neonatologists started going out into the slums of Dharavi to educate women on subjects like nutrition, natal care, the importance of delivering babies in hospitals, breast feeding and immunizations. The team realized that the women were starved for information; they just had no access to it in the past.

Article of Note

April 27th, 2015

Are Women the Key to Peace in Colombia?

by Jacqueline O’Neillfp

After 50-plus years, 222,000 deaths, $9 billion in US aid, and 34 rounds of negotiations, one of the world’s longest civil wars is nearing its end. But how will fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known by its Spanish acronym FARC) return to civilian life? When armed groups lay down their weapons, women are rarely part of the equation. In Colombia, where an estimated 30-40 percent of FARC members are female, this would be a critical mistake. Learn why in the latest Foreign Policy article.

Org Spotlight: Women in Parliaments

April 24th, 2015

Women in Parliaments (WIP)wip

Women in Parliaments (WIP)  is an international networking group made up of all the current female Parliamentarians who hold office at the national level. Today, there are approximately 9,000 women who hold a Parliamentarian position in the world. The mission of WIP is to advance gender equality on the international stage by promoting and encouraging women to hold parliamentary roles at the national level as well as establish a relationship between Women in Parliaments and build up the international network.

The reason why WIP focuses on women in Parliamentary positions is because of the immediate power and impact they possess as elected political decision makers. WIP makes a point to address the opportunities and issues that are occurring at the national and international level in relation to the role of women in power and globalization. Women need three things to fulfil their potential: communication, connection, community. At WIP, optimizing the power of communication and connection builds new communities of support for women in politics everywhere.

April 12th through the 13th, WIP held a Global Parliamentary Conference in Washington, D.C at the World Bank and IMF. The joint hosting of the Global Parliamentary Conference is a continuation of the partnership with the World Bank, which includes the joint study “The Female Political Career” and the participation of WIP Delegates in theWorld bank/IMF Annual Meeting 2014. Founded in 2000, the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank & IMF is an independent, non-governmental organisation that provides a platform for Parliamentarians from WBG and IMF member countries to advocate for increased accountability and transparency in development cooperation.

The Global Conference is the Parliamentary Network’s flagship event. This edition brought together more than 200 parliamentarians from about 100 countries, leaders from civil society and partner organizations, and top officials from the World Bank Group and the IMF. The Global Conference acted as  an opportunity to identify the Network’s policy focus for the upcoming years.

This year’s Conference agenda focused on: (i) Twin goals of boosting shared prosperity and eradicating poverty, and macroeconomic stability; (ii) Transparency and governance and (iii) gender equity. By focusing on these three areas, the Parliamentary Network aims to: (i) increase Parliamentarians’ knowledge of these individual subject matters, push for legislations and reforms in key areas; (ii) underline Parliamentarians’ roles in improving these areas in their respective countries; and (iii) look at how international development partners such as the World Bank Group and IMF can support them in this task.

Fellowship opportunity

April 23rd, 2015

The Humanities Research Centre and ANU Gender Institute Joint Visiting Fellowship for 2016


We are pleased to invite applications for the 2016 Humanities Research Centre and ANU Gender Institute Joint Visiting Fellowship.

Applications should have a strong research focus on gender in the humanities, broadly construed. It is desirable but not essential that applicants address the 2016 HRC theme – ‘Forms of Authority’. The visiting fellowship will support travel to ANU and accommodation to a maximum value of $3000.

The application process (and forms) for the Gender Institute Fellowship is the same as for the other HRC Visiting Fellowships for 2016. The HRC Annual Theme description, guidelines, application and referees’ report forms can be found here. Please apply using these forms and specify your interest in the joint HRC/GI Fellowship in the application.

Applications should be submitted to and

The closing date for applications is 30th April 2015.