The ANU Gender Institute presents Dr Kiran Martin, Founder and Director of Asha (“hope” in Hindi). Asha is a Delhi-based NGO that works in partnership with women in slum communities to improve living conditions and access healthcare, education and financial services. A blueprint for India’s national programs, Asha transforms lives in Delhi’s slums by turning women into leaders. Asha’s model has been acclaimed by the UN and Dr Martin has received the Padma Shri, India’s highest civilian award.
‘My Grandfather Broke All Traditional Norms by Sending Both His Daughters to School’: Lessons from ‘Inspirational’ Women in Nepal
by Sara Parker, Kay Standing, and B.K. Shrestha
This article focuses on the key lessons learnt from interviewing 33 women in Nepal. It examines the importance of the support of parents and the extended family in enabling girls to both enter, and proceed, in education at all levels. It also highlights the work of Global Action Nepal in promoting gender and child-friendly schools. The findings discussed here highlight the need for inter-generational and family support, both mother and fathers as well as wider family member, in promoting girls’ access to education. Further, the support of mother and father-in-laws is also integral to their ability to progress through the education system to realise their full potential.
Gender and Development 22(1):91-108, 2014. [not open access]
by staff contributor Camry Haskins
“Women here want autonomy and freedom to decide about their education, profession, life, and fate. This is something that women have been struggling for.” Sarah Shahed (LCWU)
On Wednesday, March 25, three visiting scholars from the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) sat down for a roundtable discussion at the Elliott School of International Affairs to have an open discussion about the stereotypes that form when media is the main avenue for knowledge. Barbara Miller, the director of the Institute for Global and International Affairs (IGIS), as well as the Global Gender Program (GGP), led the discussion.
The LCWU visiting scholars, Fareeha Anjum, Asma Seemi Malik, and Shehla Ahmad Rathore, were the first to share their initial stereotypes compared with how their views had changed after landing in America. Overall their fears had been that they would be constantly harangued for their Visa’s and comments on how they dress. Fortunately, that will not be the image of America that they leave with. The words used just after a few days in Washington, DC have been “helpful” and “friendly smiles”. They mentioned that whether they approach a man or a woman, people have all been ready to help them with directions and answering any other questions they may have.
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.
by student contributor Laura Kilbury
Throughout history women have been the leaders and defenders of peace. Does that make women “dangerous”?
On the evening of May 19th, the Global Women’s Institute (GWI) held the event, “Women in Peace and Conflict”. The conversation centered on the roles that women have played in peace operations throughout history. The event was honored by the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureat and Chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Jodi Williams and Dr. Wendy E. Chmielewski who is the George R. Cooley Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.
The first question centered upon the contextualization of women and peace throughout history. Chmielewski discussed how throughout history women led the mainstream peace operations, particularly beginning in the years 1812 through 1850. This brought up the a underlining note; what if there were more women peacekeepers in the United Nations broad and narrow peace operations? What would that look like? How would that alter not only the outward view of UN peace keeping operations, but the internal armature of how those peace keeping missions are conducted? The discussion did not come up with a complete answer to those questions, but highlighted the fact that women throughout, America’s own history, have been leaders in the change and drive for peace and social justice.
Chmielewski continued with the fact that during times of violence women are the ones that face the burned of economic and emotional hardship, which, according to Chmielewski, resulted in women taking the charge in the drive for peace. Women faced, and still do, the more pressing ramifications when there is conflict. Whether it be working on children’s tempers in the home or civil rights for all citizens, women according to were the leaders.
This echoes what Patricia Arquette said when receiving her Oscar, “”To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights… It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Living with Patriarchy and Poverty: Women’s Agency and the Spatialities of Gender Relations in Afghanistan
Gender, Place and Culture 21(9):1176-1192, 2014.
[not open access]
Swayam, meaning “oneself” is an organization based in Kolkata, India working towards ending violence committed against women and children. Swayam’s ultimate vision is that women and children will be able to live in a world where acts of violence will not be taken against them and that they can live their lives with a sense of confidence and security in themselves as empowered individuals. The organization is focused on support towards women who have violence committed against them. Focusing on an all-inclusive approach with women at the focal point, Swayam encourages women to become empowered by reinforcing tools such as, legal aid, child support, vocational training, and shelter, that promote independence and self- confidence. With a goal that looks far ahead into each woman’s future, the organization commits itself to the development of a fully empowered woman. Through its Public Education and Awareness Generation Program, Swayam is working towards creating a collective and focused discussion that will work towards influencing the accepted public opinion on violence against women and children. They are able facilitate this discussion by working with NGOs, educational institutions, judiciary systems, and the public at large. Swayam is working towards confronting norms and influencing policies that impact women in a collective manner with other organizations and movements that stand in solidarity with Swayam. In their fifteen years of existence, they have been working towards their ultimate mission of a violence free world.
Will Legislative Gender Quotas Increase Female Representation in Ireland? A Feminist Institutionalism Analysis
Informed by insights from feminist institutionalism, this article considers the effect of various aspects of the Irish political system on women’s candidate selection and election, and discusses the extent to which the new gender quota law will be facilitated by these processes. In studying Ireland the article highlights a relatively under-studied case in the comparative literature on gender and politics. It also contributes to the burgeoning field of feminist institutionalism research by examining the mechanisms surrounding female candidate recruitment, selection and election to assess the likely impact of gender quotas on women’s political representation in Ireland. Taking Ireland’s relatively unique PR-STV electoral system as the primary institutional context, we argue that the electoral system interacts with cultural factors to determine female candidacy opportunities and suggest that the biggest challenge to the effective implementation of legislative gender quotas in Ireland are informal mechanisms such as masculinised party cultures, societal gendered legacies and pre-existing informal rules surrounding incumbency and localism. However, we advise if party leaders and selectorates are willing to fully embrace gender quotas and integrate them into their candidate nomination processes, there is evidence to suggest that this will have a positive effect on increasing women’s political representation in Ireland.
Representations 5(94):471-484, 2014. [not open access]
To go to the article click here.
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.
Join WAND and the Institute for Inclusive Security for their webinar:
Thursday, March 19, 2015
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
On January 21, the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2015 was reintroduced in the Senate to ensure that the United States promotes women’s meaningful inclusion and participation in mediation and negotiation processes in order to prevent, mitigate, or resolve violent conflict.
With the rise of violent extremism, and crises in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, it’s critical to bring to the table the voices of those who can help us find pathways to sustainable peace. By enacting the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Act, we can promote the voices of women and prioritize their full inclusion in peace and security processes. We need a broad-based, grassroots effort to help advance this legislation, and you can play a key role in the movement.
Please join us for this webinar as WAND’s Women, Peace and Security Policy Director Julie Arostegui and Inclusive Security Action’s Policy Adviser Allison Peters discuss updates on the WPS Act and strategies to move the legislation forward.
Allison Peters is Policy Adviser at Inclusive Security Action, where she helps shape the organization’s strategies and outreach initiatives with a particular focus on the US Congress and the United Nations. Inclusive Security Action partners with The Institute for Inclusive Security to increase the participation of all stakeholders—particularly women—in preventing, resolving, and rebuilding after deadly conflict. Allison also leads the organization’s policy work in Pakistan, working with Pakistani women leaders to conduct research and advance recommendations concerning women’s inclusion in efforts to counter violent extremism and terrorism.
Previously, Allison spent six years on Capitol Hill as Foreign Policy and Defense Adviser to the late Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) where she supported his work on the Senate Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee as well as the Senate National Security Working Group. Allison began her career in the Senate in the office of then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). She holds a master’s degree in International Security Studies from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.