Article of Note

March 7th, 2015

Anti-Americanism, Authoritarian Politics, and Attitudes about Women’s Representation: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Jordan

by Sarah Sunn Bush and Amaney A. Jamalcover

A pillar of American foreign policy in the Middle East since September 11, 2001, has been promoting democracy, with particular emphasis on support for women’s representation. Given high levels of anti-Americanism in the region, does foreign pressure for policy reform undermine this project? Evidence from a nationally representative survey experiment in Jordan shows that an American endorsement of women in politics has no average effect on popular support for women’s representation. Instead, domestic patterns of support and opposition to autocrats determine citizens’ receptivity to policy endorsements, with policy endorsements of foreign-supported reforms polarizing public opinion. Both foreign and domestic endorsements of women in politics depress support among Jordanians who oppose their regime significantly more than among Jordanians who support it.

International Studies Quarterly 59(1):34-45, 2015 [open access]

To go to the article click here.

Article of Note

March 2nd, 2015

Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction in Korea: When Gender MattersFeminist_Economics_(journal)_March_2000

by Robert Rudolfa and Sung-Jin Kangb.Using detailed longitudinal data from the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS) from 1998 to 2008, this paper finds significant gender differences in impacts as well as adaptation patterns to major life and labor market events in Korea. Men remain on a higher happiness level throughout marriage, while women return to their baseline happiness within only two years. Consequently, men suffer more from divorce and the death of a spouse. This marital gender happiness gap is equivalent to a (husband only) increase of annual per capita household income of approximately US$17,800. The study further finds that men suffer more from unemployment. Results are robust to the inclusion of multiple simultaneous events and the use of different estimators. [Not open access]

Feminist Economics 21(1): 136-163, 2015.

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

March 2nd, 2015


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.”


It’s time to vote

February 23rd, 2015

Vote for Aisling Swaine!Aisling

GW’s very own, Professor Aisling Swaine, has been named one of Irish Echo’s “40 Under 40″. She will accept this award next weekend in New York.

She still needs our help though! “40 Under 40″ has a People’s Choice Poll, and in order to win, she needs YOUR VOTE! 

Click here to help Aisling Swaine take the title and, in doing so, bring gender issues into the spotlight!

(Each computer can vote once every 24 hours so keep the pressure on!)

Org Spotlight: Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence

February 20th, 2015

The Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence 


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:

Article of Note

February 20th, 2015

“We Are Daughters of the Sea”: Strategies, Gender, and Empowerment in a Mexican Women’s Cooperative

by Nicole D. Peterson open-anthropology-150x150

This article traces the development of a women’s cooperative in rural Baja California Sur, Mexico, and describes how the women have drawn on local strategies to create a relatively successful business. These strategies include the creation of a cooperative, a diverse portfolio of projects, and social networks; they help the women to acquire external resources while maintaining control of their projects. The success of the cooperative relies on the flexibility of the cooperative structure and the interest of organizations in a female-run cooperative. However, local gender norms conflict with some of the member’s behaviors, creating tensions within households and the community. This case study engages with ideas about gender and work to suggest that groups such as the women’s cooperative create new possibilities for empowerment and change in their movements across household, regional, and even national boundaries, even as they negotiate community and gender norms of behavior.

The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 19(1): 148–167, March 2014.

To go to the article click here.

GGP event: Promoting Gender Equality in Military Operations

February 19th, 2015


 What Works? Promoting Gender Equality and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Military Operations


February 25, 2015, 10:00am-12:00pm
1957 E Street NW, 6th Floor, Lindner Family Commons
The Global Gender Program 
The Elliott School of International Affairs
The George Washington University
Washington, DC  20052
 RSVP here!
Light Breakfast and Registration
9:30-10:00 am

Event Agenda

Welcome and opening remarks 

Aisling Swaine
Associate Professor of Practice of International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs,
The George Washington University

Overview of issues of UN Security Council Resolution 1325,
gender equality and militaries

Chantal de Jon Oudraat
President of Women in International Security, Senior Advisor to the Center for Gender and Peacebuilding,
U.S. Institute of Peace

Institutional approaches to promoting implementation of
UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in the
Irish Defence Forces

Comdt. Jayne Lawlor
Defence Forces Gender, Equality and Diversity Officer, Human Resources Branch,
Irish Defence Forces HQ

  Integration of UNSCR 1325 and gender perspectives into NATOs operations and missions

Charlotte Isaaksson
Gender Adviser, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, NATO

A field perspective on integrating WPS into military operations 

Brenda Oppermann
Stability Operations and Development Advisor

 Discussant, response to previous speakers and
key issues going forward

Robert Egnell 
Visiting Professor and Director of Teaching, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security,
Georgetown University

RSVP here!

The year 2015, marks the 15th Anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which established the women in peace and security agenda. One of the most challenging areas to advance implementation is where it is most needed – within military institutions. With a view to the 2015 anniversary and planned high-level review of the implementation of Resolution 1325, this event convenes experts who will discuss gaps in implementation, what works, and what should be done going forward.

Documentary recap: A Path Appears

February 16th, 2015

series3A Path Appears: Violence and Solutions

by Staff Contributor Camry Haskins

The third and final installment of “A Path Appears” tackles issues of violence against women around the world. Just in the United States alone, domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women, with one woman being killed every six hours. More than three times as many people died from domestic abuse than those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2000-2006. Domestic abuse affects the entire family and leads to many residual affects. Abuse can be mental or physical, though often they are seen together. Women are left in a state of self-blame and self-denial. Victims of abuse often feel trapped and without their own power. Communities that often blame the woman for staying or for doing something that instigated the abuse in the first place worsen this.

The episode began in Atlanta, Georgia, where Nicholas Kristoff traveled with actress, Regina Hall, to an unlisted women’s shelter. The Women’s Resource Center is a 90-day program that takes in women and their children and helps them get back to a stable place in the community. Kristof and Hall spoke to residents of the Women’s Resource Center. While there they heard stories of women who were arrested for “false report of a crime” when taking back their statements against their abusers in the court. For women who are trapped in a cycle of abuse, they end up being the ones penalized by the legal system. The Women’s Resource Center helps these women work through their own legal struggles. Unfortunately this program is only a band-aid to the problem. There are too many battered women to accept, and so many are referred to homeless shelters unless their batterers are still actively pursuing them.

Another way that domestic abuse is being targeted in the United States is through groups like Men Stopping Violence. This organization is designed for convicted men to analyze their own behavior. Unlike women’s shelters, there is no confidentiality given to the men in this program. They are forced to look at their actions without giving themselves any verbiage that would divert their blame. Every man who has entered this program, started out believing that they were not abusers but they gradually come to realize that this is not the case.

Kristof leaves Atlanta with the message that in order to address violence against women you have to focus on men and boys. Shelters and laws are only a bandage on the problem. To truly address the problem there is a need to educate and change mindsets. This issue directly impacts and shapes men’s very existence, as well as, women.

After leaving Atlanta, Kristof travels to Kibera, Kenya with Mia Farrow. They visit Shining Hope, an organization that targets education, healthcare, as well as, any other issues that appear within the slum community. Kennedy Odede is a local man who became the driving force of change within Kibera. He started the Kibera School for Girls, with his wife Jessica Posner, an American girl who traveled to Kibera for school and changed her life path after meeting Kennedy. The Kibera School offers free education to girls in the slum in return for their parents/guardians volunteering five weeks a year. The Kibera School was ranked number one in the district on the government test to enter 8th grade. The girls who enter the Kibera School are empowered to develop powerful goals. Kennedy and Jessica fight for much more than education though. Fifteen percent of girls in Kibera are raped or abused before starting preschool. The episode follows two different stories. One is of a four year old girl who is raped by a boy just a couple years older than her while they are both left home alone since their parents work. The other girl had been raped by her grandfather for years before developing an infection and being able to no longer hide the abuse. In both cases, Kennedy and Jessica were at the front of the battle, fighting for justice. Just as in Atlanta, an overarching finding is that in order to successfully put an end to violence against women and girls, it is important to educate men and boys. Kennedy also runs a soccer program that instills values to the boys who join.

Cases of domestic violence are not private matters, nor are they are not personal matters; they are crimes against humanity and should be addressed as so.

February 16, is the last day to watch all three videos online from PBS. Click here to watch.

Article of Note

February 16th, 2015

Women’s Paid Work and Intimate Partner Violence: Insights from Tanzania

by Seema Vyas, Jessie Mbwambo, and Lori Heise Feminist_Economics_(journal)_March_2000

Theoretical and empirical research provide conflicting views on whether women who do paid work are less at risk from violence by an intimate partner in low- and middle-income countries. Economic household-bargaining models propose increased access to monetary resources will enhance women’s “agency” and hence their bargaining power within the household, which reduces their vulnerability to intimate-partner violence. Feminist theorists also argue, however, that culture, context, and social norms can impede women’s ability to access and benefit from employment. This study uses semi-structured interviews conducted in 2009 to explore the implications of paid work among women market traders in Dar es Salaam and Mbeya, Tanzania. While in this sample, informal-sector work did not result in women being able to fully exercise agency, their access to money did have a positive effect on their lives and reduced one major source of conflict and trigger for violence: that of negotiating money from men.

Feminist Economics 21(1):35-58, 2015. [not open access]

Org Spotlight: Casa Ruby

February 13th, 2015

Casa Ruby 9be06bcfa8c18eae8a57f217fc620334_400x400

Casa Ruby is the only grassroots multicultural LGBT center that provides bilingual services for DC’s Latino community members.  Focusing on Latina transgender women and immigrants, Casa Ruby addresses the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of DC’s LGBT community. As many LGBT organizations focus their work on lesbians, gays and bisexuals, the specific needs of the transgender community often fall by the wayside. Casa Ruby is a unique organization as it is a particularly welcoming space for transgender and other gender nonconforming people. At Casa Ruby, intersectionality is key. The organization is attuned to the intersection of factors including sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, legal and socioeconomic status that lead to varying degrees of marginalization .

Casa Ruby was founded as a DC nonprofit in 2004 by Ruby Jade Corado. Ruby, a Salvadoran transgender woman, fled civil war in El Salvador and came to DC at the age of 16. She has spent the last two decades advocating tirelessly for “LGBT human rights, transgender liberation, immigration equality, access to health care, hate crimes/violence [prevention] and many other disparities and issues facing the community that she represents.”  (Who Is Ruby?)

Casa Ruby provides a variety of services at their Columbia Heights drop in center. These include hot meals, clothing exchange, access to a cyber center, support groups, case management, emergency housing referrals, and criminal/immigration legal services counseling. Additionally, Casa Ruby runs comprehensive career and employment services such as education and training, job placement, career development and risk remediation. Each week about 150 community members come to Casa Ruby.