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 gems_editor@yahoo.com

Submissions are also welcome for later issues.

GEMS’ archives is located at Queens University http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/gems/issue/archive
(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: 1325bib.ggp@gmail.com.

Org Spotlight: Legal Momentum

May 5th, 2014

Legal Momentum

Legal Momentum is an innovative organization that works to advance the wellbeing and security of vulnerable women in America. It is the country’s oldest legal defense and education fund devoted to women and girls. All of Legal Momentum’s work deeply embedded in the fight for gender equality and challenging gender bias. The organization works in five key interest areas:

  • Poverty - LM works to advance policy that will reduce poverty amongst women and children.
  • Violence - LM was an important advocate in the passage of VAWA and provides addition protections and supportive services for victims of violence.
  • Workplace Rights - LM works to advance workplace equality free from discrimination and harassment.
  • Courts/The Justice System - LM provides legal resources and expertise to women in a variety of issue areas (discrimination, gender bias, and more.)
  • Education and Training Equity - LM works to advance job training/education equity to allow women equal opportunity to advance skills and job prospects.

Legal Momentum provides ample opportunities for involvement in the cause including volunteering, internships and special events across the country.

Event Recap: A roadmap for promoting women’s economic development

April 30th, 2014

By student contributor Andrew Elliott

When the Exxon Mobil Foundation asked Mayra Buvinic, senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation, what can bring women out of poverty, and if regional differences exist when confronting this problem, it inspired her to create the roadmap for promoting women’s economic development. This study, primarily conducted by Mayra Buvinic with help from co-author Markus Goldstein, sought to find the answers. Although seemingly ambitious and vague, the study’s methodological approach looked at 18 research commissions within the World Bank Group and reviewed empirical evaluations of 136 economic interventions worldwide tasked with bringing economic development to women.

Recently, it has become increasingly popular for large private corporations to show a philanthropic side. Exxon Mobil is no stranger to this, as company that invested around $60 million to development agendas.

WorldBank2.jpgMost research in the roadmap was conducted in nations with high fertility rates and large agrarian sectors. Before beginning her presentation, Buvinic prefaced the discussion by stating several hypotheses about what can bring women out of poverty. First, the very poor need more than what they have received to ensure that they truly break beyond the point of subsistence production. Second, adjustments need to be made to allow women to have more autonomy and alleviate socially-based gender roles. Autonomy has proven to be an income earner, and finding these proxies to grant women autonomy is linked to economic development. Last, when foreign governments or NGOs work abroad, the competent implementation of grants and loans is a necessity. This can be done by working with cultural norms and traditions.

Another factor that prompted Buvinic and Goldstein to conduct the study was that a huge knowledge gap exists. Despite NGOs and foreign governments working with humanitarian programs for decades, until now there has not been a comprehensive study that documents what factors contribute to women’s transitions from subsistence to high income earning lifestyles.

Read the rest of this entry »

Org Spotlight: Caribbean Women’s Health Association Inc.

April 28th, 2014

The Caribbean Women’s Health Association 

The Caribbean Women’s Health Organization is an service provider and advocacy group for urban Caribbean women living in the United States. CWHA seeks to “break the cycle of poverty through building diverse partnerships and grassroots leadership initiatives.” Recognizing the multifaceted nature of poverty and health, CWHA addresses several issue areas  - Medicaid/health insurance, maternal and child health, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS case management and education, immigration and teen programs. CWHA’s tailors services to specific issues faced by Caribbean women to provide programs that are comprehensive and culturally appropriate. Though CWHA is based in New York and primarily provides services to local women, it also engages in both national and international collaboration on health, immigration and social issues relevant to Caribbean women. The organization has been active for over 20 years and is accredited by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

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

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.