Org Spotlight: Women’s Institute of Secondary Education and Research (WISER)

October 7th, 2014

Women’s Institute of Secondary Education and Research (WISER)

WISER is a Kenyan NGO in partnership with Duke University. Formed in 2007, WISER got its start when Dr. Sherryl Broverman of Duke University was invited to a rural community in Muhuru Bay to research obstacles to girls’ education. WISER was developed as a means to combat the barriers that many rural Kenyan girls face in achieving secondary education.

The mission of WISER is to improve educational, economic and health outcomes for girls, particularly those orphaned by AIDS, while promoting communitywide enhancements in health and development.

The first graduating class received their KCSE, exam results in February of 2014. in the last 20 years, no girl had continued onto university from Muhuru Bay, but with a 100% pass rating on Kenya’s national examination the girls exceeded all expectations. 61% of WISER girls (17)qualified for university with 13 receiving full scholarships. After the release of the academic results, WISER is now ranked among the Top 100 Private Secondary Schools (for girls and boys) in all of Kenya, ranking No. 1 in Migori County.

DC Event: HerStory

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

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.

DC event: The Unfair Construction of beauty for the (Market) Beast

August 25th, 2014
Capture“Whiter Skin in 1 Week: The Unfair Construction of Beauty for the (Market) Beast,” presented by Dr. Gitiara Nasreen, Visiting Fulbright Scholar from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. We will serve light refreshments.  Free and open to public.
When: September 10, 2014, 2:00-4:00 pm
Where: Howard University, The Founders Library, 500 Howard Place NW, Washington, DC, 20059
The Founders Library is on the main quad of the campus and is easy to recognize by its tall clock tower that rises above all other buildings. The closest intersection is 4th Street NW, and College Street. There is 4-hour parking along 4th Street NW.  Come through the big iron gates and the Library is directly in front of you.

Women, Peace and Security: Practical Guidance on Using Law to Empower Women in Post-Conflict Systems

August 25th, 2014

When: August 27, 2014 | 10:00 – 11:30 am

Where: Women in International Security, 1111 19th St. NW, 12th floor | Washington, DC 20036

United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security and international human rights and humanitarian law provide a powerful international framework for advancing gender equality and women’s rights. The key is to know and understand these principles and use them strategically.

In our recently released toolkit, Women, Peace and Security:  Practical Guidance on Using Law to Empower Women in Post-Conflict Systems, two international human rights lawyers examine practical measures on how to integrate international principles on gender equality and women’s rights into post-conflict legal systems. Learn more about the toolkit in an interview with Julie Arostegui, toolkit author.

Please join Women In International Security, Women’s Action for New Directions, and the U.S. Institute of Peace for a discussion of the toolkit and specific ways that all practitioners – both at the policy and grassroots levels – can use law to promote gender equality and empower women.


  • Julie L. Arostegui, J.D. – Toolkit Author; Women, Peace and Security Policy Director, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)
  • Stephenie Foster – Senior Advisor, Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State
  • Susan Markham – Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, USAID
  • Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini – Executive Director and Co-Founder, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)

Moderator: Kathleen Kuehnast – Director, Center for Gender and Peacebuilding, U.S. Institute of Peace

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

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). Read the rest of this entry »

What do we know about United Nations Security Resolution 1325?

June 2nd, 2014

WP CoverA new Working Paper is available from the Global Gender Program on Women in Peace and Security through United Nations Security Resolution 1325: Literature Review, Content Analysis of National Action Plans, and Implementation. The authors are Barbara Miller, Milad Pournik, and Aisling Swaine.

The study addresses these questions:

  • What does the social science and related literature say about UNSCR 1325 since its adoption in 2000?
  •  What does content analysis of National Action Plans (NAPs) in support of UNSCR 1325 reveal about the effectiveness of such plans?
  • What are examples of implementation of 1325 principles with and beyond 1325 NAPs?

Speaking women’s rights to power

May 13th, 2014

Alison Brysk, Mellichamp professor of Global Governance in the Global and International Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In April, she spoke at the Elliott School on “Stopping Violence against Women.” Her talk covered a wide range of topics from honor killings to sex-selective abortion and sex trafficking of girls and women. Her presentation drew from her 2013 book, Speaking Rights to Power.

Speaking Rights to Power cover. Source: Oxford University Press.

Speaking Rights to Power cover. Source: Oxford University Press.

A foundation of her argument is that women’s rights are a category of human rights and must therefore be given similar attention. She presented basic facts and figures documenting the problem of unequal rights for girls and women around the world. She argued that girls and women live in a “climate of insecurity” that includes life in militarized contexts, refugee camps, and poverty. A new area of research is to highlight how urbanization, male youth unemployment, and political corruption are leading to high and rising rates of violence against girls and women in cities.

Beyond documenting the problems and their local dimensions, Brysk also discussed what various countries, global organizations, and civil society are doing to address violence against women. She talked about “information politics” which promotes women’s voices and self-determination by putting a human face on violence against women – “framing the claim” — and creating awareness and mobilizing support.

In conclusion, she noted that constructing political will to support women’s rights as human rights is key as well as engaging men in the campaign moving forward to change rape culture to gender justice.

Professor Brysk’s talk was sponsored by the Elliott School’s Global Gender Program through its Global Gender Forum Series. The Elliott School’s Web Video Initiative provides a taped version of the presentation.

Org Spotlight: Women’s Media Watch Jamaica

May 12th, 2014

Women’s Media Watch Jamaica 

Women’s Media Watch Jamaica is a Jamaican nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing gender-based violence and promoting gender equality in society and in the media. As media exerts a powerful influence over society, WMW asserts that a gendered analysis of media is critical in the reduction of gender inequality and gender violence. WMW collaborates on a national and international level with organizations including UNIFEM, UNESCO and the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communications (CARIMAC). Notable accomplishments of this powerful organization include pioneering a training program f0r male leaders, training over 1,500 professionals on gender and media, conducting national research on violence in the media, advocating for legislative reform, and presenting internationally at venues including the NGO Forum, 4th World Conference. WMW works, advocates and trains people of all ages and genders in both rural and urban areas of Jamaica

Women, Peace, Security, and Development Bibliography update

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: