Women in Public Service Project

Course Syllabus

Preliminary syllabus for
WGS (POL/PSJ) 286 Empowering Women for Global Leadership*
Spring 2014


Peggy Rivage-Seul, Coordinator of the Berea College Women’s and Gender Studies Program

Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Director of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Course Description

Berea College Women’s and Gender Studies Program, in affiliation with the Women in Public Service Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, offers this special topics course to equip students with both skills and a knowledge base for pursuing leadership opportunities at both the local and national levels of their respective countries. Each week guest speakers from various multilateral and global institutions, e.g., World Bank, will lecture at Peanut Butter and Gender luncheons on the social and economic realities of girls and women across the globe. Students will select a global topic pertaining to female lives, e.g., sex trafficking,  violence against women, poverty, etc., and develop that topic through analysis of case studies and feminist action plans, including the creation of social networks.  Besides lectures and discussion of course readings, students will engage in hands-on group work and role playing to develop their leadership skills. Course fee: $75.  This course will meet  AAAW perspective.

About the Women in Public Service Project


The Women in Public Service Project is an initiative that was founded by the Seven sisters women’s colleges—Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith and Wellesley—to advance women to positions of influence in governments and civic organization worldwide. The initiative is distinguished by the partners’ demonstrated legacy of educating women leaders across the globe and linking them to each other through powerful intergenerational networks. This mission has now grown to embrace universities and government ministries around the world.


The initiative will provide vital momentum to the next generation of women leaders who will invest in their countries and communities, provide leadership for their governments and societies, and help change the way global solutions are developed.  Working in alignment with other leading organizations and institutions in the U.S. and around the world, The Women in Public Service Project creates intensive training and mentoring opportunities for emerging and aspiring women leaders; establishes a vibrant international network of such leaders;  and generate  new, cross-culturally valid insights on women’s political leadership.  WPSP programming has been held around the world, bringing women together from Africa, Latin and Mount St. Mary’s College; a WPSP Institute on Peacebuilding and Development at Bryn Mawr College; a WPSP Institute at China Women’s University; and a Conference on Conflict Resolution through Economic Development and Innovation America, Asia, and beyond. Programming hosted by the WPSP partner schools has included the Inaugural Summer Institute hosted by Wellesley College for emerging women leaders from the MENA region; an Institute at the Asian University for Women; a WPSP Institute on Women’s Leadership in Latin America hosted by Scripps College hosted by UMass-Lowell. Other initiatives have been held in Burma, Belgium, France, Morocco, and Tunisia.

The WPSP’s rapid expansion over the past nine months has created many new opportunities for programs and affiliations. Currently, the WPSP has a number of flagship institutes in the pipeline for 2014 and beyond. Those being planned include: a WPSP Institute on Reconstructing Societies in the Wake of Conflict: Transitional Justice and Economic Development at Smith and Mt. Holyoke Colleges; and a WPSP Institute at Mills College.  Other initiatives include: A WPSP program in India on Defining Violence Against Women as a Regional Security Issue co-hosted by Lady Shri Ram College for Women, the Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women, and Karakoram International University; the Closing the Leadership Gap WPSP initiative at Brescia University College in Canada; and the WPSP Institute at Pannasastra University and the Harspwell Foundation in Cambodia.

In the spring of 2014, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Berea College will offer the first undergraduate course for the Women in Public Service Project.  The Women in Public Service Project and their partners and affiliates are committed to the “50 by 50” mission: reaching a minimum of 50 percent representation of women in public service by 2050.

Women’s and Gender Studies Program Goals and Student Outcomes

  • Critical Thinking – Students will learn to critically examine assumptions in scholarly, popular, public, and interpersonal discourse. The desired goal will be to develop and employ theoretical paradigms and interpretive strategies with regard to gender. They will develop a critical understanding of patriarchal social systems, and the systems leading to the subordination of women.
  • Writing – Students will be responsible for producing a high quality policy brief that outlines a substantial policy that addresses a situation of human rights for women.
  • Global Awareness and Appreciation of Diversity – Students will gain an awareness of the daily lives and experiences of women across cultures and engage in an ongoing critique of women’s social and cultural history. They will continually explore the intersection of categories like gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, religion, and class, as well as women’s varied relations to patriarchy.
  • Women’s Power and Empowerment – Both male and female students will hopefully be personally empowered by taking WGS 286.  Engagement with other women who have transcended gender barriers in the public sphere will serve as models of empowerment in this course.
  • Social Action – Students will explore issues of global social justice related to women as a class, and learn to translate theory into practice by producing a policy brief that may have social consequence.
  • Synthesis – Students will bring together the diverse areas of their program, challenging and interpreting scholarship on gender through shared inquiry in the classroom.

Required Texts

Most of the reading materials for this course will be included in the course booklet. The following list of books are available at the Bookstore:

Jeni Klug.  2012 World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development.  (Washington, D.C.: World Bank),  2012.

Linda Tarr-Whalen. Women Lead the Way. (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler),  2009.

Free pdf: Counselors: Conversations with 18 Courageous Women Who Have Changed the World.

Course Meetings

This course meets on Wednesdays, 12:00-12:50 (for Peanut Butter and Gender) and 3:00-5:50 in Phelps Stokes 204. On Wednesdays that we have no luncheon lectures, the class does not meet. For those students with noon conflicts, a videotaped recording of the luncheon lecture will be available from 1-3, prior to class. Students are expected to view the lecture before coming to class at 3:00 p.m.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is required. Unless there is a personal emergency, absences will be unexcused, and will result in the lowering of the student’s grade. Three absences results in course failure.

Disability Policy

Students who have a disability that may prevent them from fully demonstrating their abilities should contact the Disability Services Coordinator Lisa Ladanya, in 110 Lincoln Hall, or by email , to discuss accommodations necessary to ensure full participation in this course. Upon request, this syllabus can be made available in alternative forms.

Grading Policy

Active Participation in weekly classes, including taking initiative for leadership in role plays and group work  will  count for 10% of the final grade.  Weekly reading and writing assignments will count for 40%. The formal speech assignment will count for 20%.

Research Project:  Each student will be responsible for preparing a policy brief to present to their legislators and/or respective law and policy makers on a topic of her choice, e.g., human trafficking, environmental degradation, violence against women, etc.  The final policy brief will count for 30% of the final grade.

Policy Brief

Each student will be responsible for investigating an area of concern to women’s human rights and well-being, and producing a policy brief. These briefs will have potential for impacting the lives of women as students gain confidence to act politically on behalf of other women.  In this project, students inhabit the role of legislative aide in preparing these policy briefs.  Directions for this assignment are found in the course booklet.

Course Calendar

 January 8

Class does not meet at noon today.

3:00-5:50 p.m.

Class activity

  1. Class introductions; review of syllabus.
  2. In-class reading:  “The Power of Voice” pp. 2-23 in course booklet.
  3. Group exercise

Group Exercise

Group One
Make a presentation before your constituencies on violence against women in your community.

Group Two
|Speak on violence against women before an international women’s conference.

Group Three
Make a television presentation on ending violence against women in your community.

Group Four
Craft a message for an anti- domestic violence campaign. This includes crafting a simple message, using a case study and putting a face on your message.

Assignment for Wed. Jan. 15

  1.  Read 7 articles this week from various publications that focus on international women’s issues. Write a one paragraph (10-12 sentences) response to each of these articles. Good sources for articles include Ms. Magazine, New York Times (including international issue),  Economist,  Guardian, Alternet, United National Women Watch (www.un.org/womenwatch), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Atlantic Monthly, Wellesley women’s review of books, UN women’s website, Half the Skies, Keeping Hope Alive, Anne Marie Slaughters article, “Women Still Can’t Have It All.”
  2. Read “Women Who Inspire: Case Studies” in course booklet.
  3. Read Rangita de Silva de Alwis’ “Advocacy Guidelines for Drafting a Policy Brief,” and come prepared with questions about this major assignment.

 January 15

The Transformative Power of Women’s Voices

 12:00-12:50                         Peanut Butter and Gender     

                Inauguration of the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) at Berea College

                                                Ceremonial Opening in honor of Peggy Keon

Peggy Keon Champion of Change Lecture:   Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Director of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, will address the values, aims, and outcomes of The Women in Public Service Project,  showing how these are connected to a global network of emerging women leaders.


In this session, participants will view the film ”Women’s Voices,” created by the Institute on Profiles of Women in Political and Public Service. These stories will illustrate women’s role as political leaders, policy makers, and change agents.  Listening to these voices from around the world, participants will identify the multiple perspectives these women bring to the table and how these women transcended barriers  in order to transform public life. Through the lens of women’s narratives,  participants will explore: a) different voices of leadership and perspectives women bring to public service; b)challenges that women face in public service;  c)  creative strategies for transcending barriers and leading social change; and d) women’s critical role in leading social change.

Class Activity:

1)       Film and discussion with Dr.de Silva de Alwis: “Women’s Voices”

2)       Discussion of research findings from the day’s assignment; group exploration of specific interests for the major policy brief that each student will present at the end of the course.

Assignment for January 22:

  1. Read “Championing Young Women’s Political and Public Participation” pp. 1-13 in course booklet
  2. Read “Overcoming Challenges: Women in Politics and Public Service” pp.2-9 in course booklet
  3. Read Chapter 1-2 (pp.15-46) “Modern Myths and Stereotypes” from Tarr-Whelan’s Women Lead the Way. Underline and make notes in the margin. Write short summary in book at the end of the chapter.

January 22

 Transcending the Challenges to Women’s Leadership in Public Service


Class activity:

1. Class discussion about course expectations/ students’ experience

2. Film/discussion  “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”

3. Group Work(Today we are meeting in groups to discuss the reading assignment.)

Group 1
Identify and present some of the challenges in your community and/or country for women’s advancement in public service or civic leadership.  Present some good practices in your community and/or country to address these challenges.

Group 2
|Develop a plan (that you will present to class) for a campaign to increase the number of women representatives in Congress/Parliament.

Propose a strategy for partnerships/ linkages and alliances with the private sector, grassroots organizations, religious and other traditionally male dominated organizations. The focus of cooperation with your group could be  1) women’s leadership, 2)  fighting violence against women including violence against women in politics, or 3) any other urgent policy.

Group 3
Organize women’s caucuses in your national assembly or parliament.  Present the challenges and opportunities of working as a caucus across party or other lines. Present a strategy (including finances) for identifying women to run for office.  Finally, create role play  “conversation with the press “ where you identify positive images of women in public service in your community and/or country.

Group 4
Convene a local, national or transnational network to combat trafficking of women or any other trans-border issue in your region. Present how you would go about creating a potential platform of action for the network.

Group 5
Present recommendations for a training program on women’s leadership in public service in your community and/or country. What critical areas should the training program focus on?

Assignment  for Jan. 29:  

  1. Read Chapter 4, pp. 55-70,  in  Tarr-Whelan’s Women Lead the Way.  Use the same underline/summarize procedure as Chapters 1&2.
  2. Complete readings from Watershed Associates. You will receive them via email. There is no requirement to underline or summarize.

 January 29

Women and Negotiation

… “Future mediation processes must create spaces specifically for women to sit at the table… Women cannot be relegated to shouting from the windows because they are not allowed through the doors….” Graca Machel, a lead negotiator in the Kenyan mediation process.

Women have historically been excluded from boardrooms and decision-making because of their perceived reluctance to negotiate in an arena of power differences. This session will give students powerful negotiation skills and tips that will help them negotiate in the workplace, public service, and positions of leadership.

12:00-12:50         “Best Negotiating Practices” Workshop for WPSP at Berea College

                                                Presented by Watershed Associates, Washington, DC

                                 “Empowering Women at the Negotiating Table”

Leslie Mulligan, a global negotiation consultant with Watershed Associates in Washington D.C., will discuss the advantages that women bring to any negotiation, personal and professional, and how to maximize this often untapped skill set. Leslie has been putting her own skills to work for the last 20 years, as a high-tech business leader in Silicon Valley, after serving as an officer in the United States Air Force.

3:00-5:50              Continuation of “Best Negotiating Practices” workshop

Assignment for February 5*

  1. Read “Women and Democratic Transformations” pp. 2-10 in course booklet.
  2. Read “UN Security Council Resolutions on Women and Peace” pp.1-14 in course booklet.
  3. Read “Women Leading Transitional Justice”  pp. 2-23 in course booklet.
  4. Read “Women’s Rights in Peace Agreements” pp. 3-23  in course booklet.

*For each article, underline and notate in margins.

February 5

Women Negotiating Peace and Security

 “Bringing women to the peace table improves the quality of agreement reached and increases the chances of successful implementation.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

Over a decade ago, the landmark UN Security Council passed Resolution 1325 requiring the rule of law processes must be shaped by both women and men.  However,  women  still  represent fewer than 3% of mediators and 8% of negotiators in major peace processes. One of the most important on-going constraints to women’s capacity to engage effectively in conflict mediation and peace-building is the experience of sexual and gender-based violence during conflict; in fact, this experience has an inhibiting effect on women’s ability to engage in conflict resolution, peace-building, and recovery efforts.

This session will analyze concrete strategies to operationalize   SCR 1325 which enshrines the critical importance of  women’s participation in decision making. In addition, we will examine two other United Nations Security Council Resolutions,  SCR 1820, the recognition  of the use of sexual violence as  a tactic of war,  and SCR 1889, calling for women’s participation  across all stages of the peace process.


Class activity:

  1. Discussion of student assignments.
  2. Discussion questions from today’s readings.


Group One
Transitional Justice: Different Approaches and Models

Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of 1) Retributive Justice; 2) Restorative Justice and 3) Reparative Justice


Retributive Justice

Retributive justice includes court proceedings and trials for crimes committed. Typically, a trial involves a person charged with the commission of a crime being brought before an arbitrator.

Example: Cambodia; Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia established in 2001 by the Cambodian established in 2001 by the Cambodian National Assembly to create a court to try serious crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime, 1975- 1979.

Restorative Justice – Truth Commissions

Usual mechanisms: truth commissions, healing circles. One of the most commonly used restorative mechanisms has been truth commissions. Truth commissions are established to examine widespread human rights violations that took place during a specified period of time.

Truth Commissions have been established in: Uganda, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Chile, Chad, South Africa, Germany, El Salvador, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Burundi, South Africa, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Serbia, Peru, Morocco, Ghana, Timor- Leste, Liberia.

Reparative Justice

Goal: to repair the injury suffered by victims. Usual mechanisms; restitution, apology

Example:  United States: $20,000 was awarded by Congress in 1988 to each American of Japanese ancestry who had been forcibly removed and detained in internment camps located throughout the country during the Second World War.

Restitution can be defined as a token paid in compensation for loss or injury.

Group Two
Draft a Provision of the Peace Agreement.

Create a role play that negotiates a critical part of a peace agreement or conflict resolution. This could include a provision on a parity law; increasing women at the negotiation table; transitional justice arrangement and (including addressing the role of women in conflict and post conflict); and operationalizing Security Council 1325 and other international conventions and agreements.

Examples of Peace AgreementsThe 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA)  recognizes the lack of representation for women in Sudanese government and society, and attempts to ensure the effective participation of women in government.The 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) provides numerous mechanisms for the protection of women’s rights, including provisions establishing women’s right to participate in government institutions, provisions recognizing the role of women in the economy, and provisions guaranteeing property rights to women. The DPA also requires the Government of Sudan to engage and consult women in the reconstruction, redevelopment, and reintegration efforts in Darfur.

The DPA requires that women who are displaced persons have access to financial assistance and that the government create special programs to address the special needs of women in the reintegration processThe Darfur Peace Agreement, art. 3, paragraph 28(a (1) the right marry; (2) maternity and healthcare for pregnant women; and (3) access to education, without discrimination as to gender. The agreement also requires parties to combat harmful customs and other activities that demean the status of women, and to protect lactating women from the death penalty.

The Rwandan Constitution’s Preamble enshrines the core human rights treaties and states:

We, the People of Rwanda,
1° In the wake of the genocide that was organized and supervised by unworthy leaders and other perpetrators and that decimated more than a million sons and daughters of Rwanda;
2° Resolved to fight the ideology of genocide and all its manifestations and to eradicate ethnic, regional and any other form of divisions;
3° Determined to fight dictatorship by putting in place democratic institutions and leaders freely elected by ourselves;



Group Three
Create a roundtable discussion between conservative Christians and Muslims about the U.S. presence in Afghanistan

Group Four
Role-play negotiations between two embassies on the transnational issue of cross -border trafficking .

Group Five
Draft the Basic Elements of a Human Rights Institution.

  • Constitutional and legislative frameworks which reflect international human rights norms and standards.
  • Effective institutions to promote and protect human rights, including central and local levels governments, central and local parliaments, administrations on both the central and local levels, the administration of justice, constitutional courts, and an independent human rights body, such as a national human rights institution and/or ombudsperson.
  • Procedures and processes ensuring effective implementation of human rights, including avenues of redress for individuals whose rights have been violated, and open, democratic and participatory decision-making processes.
  • Programs and policies for awareness-raising on human rights including women’s rights, through human rights education in schools, universities and professional education institutions, human rights training for public officials and other relevant professionals, as well as awareness-raising campaigns for the public at large.
  • The existence of a vibrant democratic civil society with the full and equal participation of men and women, including free, active and independent media and human rights defenders communities.

Assignment for February 12:   

  1. Read “ Portrayal of Gender in Media”  pp. 2-9  in course booklet.
  2. Prepare a 10-12 minute speech on a social issue that is important to you. Follow guidelines from the first day’s reading, “The Power of Voice.”  Students turn in written speeches today, but will deliver on different days in the course. Be sure to sign up for your presentation.

February 12

Women in the Media: Advancing Gender Equality

This session highlights the power of media to define women’s bodies and women’s roles and focuses on the transformative power of the media to challenge those stereotypical paradigms.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinion without interference and to seek receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
– Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The media plays a profoundly important role in defining the role of engaged citizenship, changing stereotypes about women and men and the way in which national and global security issues are defined.

12:00-12:50      Peanut Butter and Gender

                    Title:  “Misrepresentations:  Gender (In)Equality in the Media”

Dr. Susan Bailey, former Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College, and author of 1992 Report, “How Schools Shortchange Girls,” discusses the gender inequality in the media and the transformative power of media to challenge gender stereotypes.

3:00-4:00   Film and discussion:  “Miss Representation”

4:00-5:50   Group Work   Each group prepares a role play for the following situations:

Group One
Potential Candidate: Press conference to announce that you have decided to run for office. Define the issues you stand for.
Press: What are the questions you will ask the candidate?

Group Two:
Head of Civic Organization: Call a press conference to speak out against a horrific incidence of violence against women post revolution or before elections. This could include virginity testing or sexual abuse.
Press:  How will you report this incident?

Group Three:
The Libyan Women’s Movement has called for a press conference calling for 30 percent seats for women in parliament. They argue that women form 51 %in the country and protested alongside of their men in bringing about the recent change in Libya. What are the arguments you will make for more women in decision making roles.
Press: What information do you need?

Group Four:
You are speaking at a press conference for more women in Constitutional Drafting and Transitional Justice Processes. What arguments will you make?
Press: What questions will you ask? What is your response? The press can ask hard questions in order to challenge speakers’ arguments and elicit the most effective response.

Group Five:
Ministry of Defense:  Role play a training program for women in public service on how to use the media to bolster their message.   Trainers:  What are the talking points you will need to provide the media?  How will you avoid reinforcing gender stereotypes? How will you draw on the impact of women in public service in political, social and economic development in your community?

Assignment for February 19:

  1. Read Part II (pp. 98-282) of 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development. Underline and take notes in the margin; summarize at end of each chapter (in book or on paper).
  2. Read “Women and Development” pp. 2-9 in course booklet.
  3. Prepare Step One for the Policy Brief.

February 19

Women Shaping Development

Increasingly, the World Bank has come to see that women’s leadership is not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do. This session will highlight the evidence-based research from the Gender Equality and Development Report 2012.

The evidence has never been clearer in the words of the Economist Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen that “nothing is as urgent today in the political economy of development as the recognition of political, economic and social participation and leadership of women”. The flagship World Bank Development Report, 2012 defines Women’s empowerment as the moral and economic imperative of our times. Women’s agency is important for women’s individual well-being; the well-being of women’s families; and for the well-being of their communities.  Countries that create better opportunities and conditions for women and girls can raise productivity, improve outcomes for children, make institutions more representative, and advance development prospects for all. Women’s leadership in public service cannot take place in a vacuum. Unless women have equal access to financial resources, property, land, employment, training, vocational services, credit, equal tax provisions, and private/public partnerships, the playing field for women will not be level.

The World Development Report 2012: “Gender Equality and Development,” argues that gender equality as a core development objective is not only a moral imperative but also smart economics. Greater gender equality can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative. The Report identifies four priority areas where gender gaps are most significant. These areas include: 1)reducing excess female mortality; 2)  closing education gaps where they remain;  3) improving access to economic opportunities for women, and 4) increasing women’s voice and agency in the household and in society.

12:00 – 12:50       Peanut Butter and Gender

Title: “Gender Equality as Critical Development Policy”

Hippolyte Fofack, senior economist at the World Bank, will discuss the 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development.

3:00- 5:50            

Class Activity:

  1. Extended discussion with Hippolyte on the World Development Report on Gender…
  2. Groups work together to create development agendas for women.
  3. Students present speeches.    _____________  ________________   ____________  __________

Assignment for February 26:

  1. Read “Addressing Violence against Women” pp. 2-18 in course booklet.
  2. Read “Women’s Rights as Human Rights” pp. 2-14 in course booklet.
  3. Read up on the following United Nations Policies and write one full paragraph (10-12 sentences) summarizing the content of each convention:

Transformation and implementation  of Core Human Rights Conventions-  Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ( ICESCR); Convention to Eliminate All Forms  of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child ( CRC),  Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Convention against Torture, Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers  ICRMW);  and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); UN  Protocol  to Prevent, Suppress, and punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, 2000.


February 26

Women’s Human Rights

The Human Rights Framework and Violence against Women

The human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of human rights.  The full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic social and cultural life, at the national, regional and international levels, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex are priority objectives of the international community. – The Vienna Declaration and Platform of Action

When  the  Former First Lady Hillary Clinton reminded the world that women’s rights were human rights, the international women’s movement was reborn and revitalized. Violence against women is now defined as a human rights abuse. Rape and sexual abuse is often a tool of war and have been defined as crimes against humanity and even war crimes. On the other hand, intimate partner violence kills women and harms their security more than  malaria, traffic accidents, and war. Three women in the U.S. are killed daily by intimate partners. Given this epidemic,  the argument for women’s leadership becomes a most urgent challenge of our time.

Women’s access to leadership/political participation/public service cannot not take place in a in an environment that subordinates and disempowers  women.  Women’s leadership cannot be isolated from the general status of women in society. Violence against women both in the home and in public is one of the biggest impediments to women’s agency and has enormous social, political and economic ramifications on women and society. In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) established that violence against women caused more death and disabilities among women aged fifteen to forty-four than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war.  In 1992, the U.N. Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Committee officially noted that violence against women results in the most widespread form of injuries to women between fifteen to forty-four years of age. Unfortunately, in spite of international commitments, the lives of girl children and women around the world are often marked by gendered, discriminatory practices. However, violence against women is now a critical public policy issue of transnational character and showcases how global forces coalesced with local women’s groups and human rights movements to place it on national and transnational policy agendas.

Some Opportunities for Reform: New Developments in the Law

The Afghanistan Domestic Violence Law, 2009 attempts to reconcile human rights with Islamic injunctions:

The law seeks to eliminate “customs, traditions, practices that cause violence against women contrary to the religion of Islam”.

The law makes illegal the selling and buying of women for marriage; forced marriage; child marriage; forcing women to commit self- immolation.  Acknowledging that women’s rights cannot be realized in Afghanistan unless harmful practices are addressed, the law defines  the denial of right to education, work, access to health services as harmful practices.  Moreover, the criminalization of the prohibition of an Afghan woman’s or girl’s education is particularly salient.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, 2011

This Convention criminalizes Female Genital Mutilation.

Kurdistan- Fatwa Against Female Genital Mutilation 

Shortly after Human Rights Watch report on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was published in July 2010, the High Commission for Issuing Fatwas at the Kurdistan Islamic Scholars Union, the highest Muslim religious authority in Iraqi Kurdistan, issued a Fatwa, a religious edict or pronouncement, attesting that FGM is not an Islamic practice.  Although the Fatwa did not ban FGM but left the decision to parents, this was an important Fatwa.

Recent Legal Milestone:

The Kurdistan Family Violence Bill to curb Female Genital Mutilation, 2011 and affirms that FGM is not an Islamic practice.

Pakistan, The Acid Control and Burn Crime Prevention Bill, 2010

National Acid Control Councils will be established to implement the Act in every province.
Moreover, the provincial Acid Control Committees are to ensure prevention of sale of acids in their relevant areas of jurisdiction. The Acid and Burn Crime Control Tribunal is to monitor the Act.

12:00 – 12:50 Peanut Butter and Gender   

 Title: Making Peace in Pakistan: “Women at the Table”

Farahnaz Ispahani, journalist and politician, currently a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, will discuss the role of women in the process of creating peace and security in Pakistan.

Farahnaz Ispahani is a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, who served as a member of Parliament and Media Advisor to the President of Pakistan. At the Parliament she focused on the issues of terrorism, human rights, minority rights and US-Pakistan relations. Ms. Ispahani spent the formative years of her career as a print and television journalist. Her last journalistic position was as Executive Producer and Managing Editor of Voice of America’s Urdu TV. She has also worked at ABC News, CNN and MSNBC.

3:00-4:00   Continued discussion with Farahnaz.

4:00-5:50  Group Work

Participants will break into groups and discuss the following role playing scenarios based on emerging challenges and creating opportunities to address those challenges:

Group One
Discuss a plan of action to address state led violence and violence in politics. This can include virginity testing, threats to political candidates and disappearing of political candidates, etc.

Group Two
Discuss a violence against women law. This can include acid attacks, dowry related crimes etc. Imagine you are a group of stakeholders including NGO, academics, parliamentarians, activists and victims of honor crimes discussing critical provisions to a law. How do you build a consensus; how do you build a team to work on this issue?

Group Three
Violence against women in Conflict: Transforming UNSC 1325 into practice- this could be a law, policy, plan of action, a speech before congress or a community group.

Group Four
Crimes against women in the name of honor: Discuss changes to criminal laws to revise crimes against women as mitigating or exculpatory offence.  Imagine you are a group of stakeholders including NGO, academics, parliamentarians, activists and victims of honor crimes discussing critical provisions to a law. How do you build consensus, how do you build a team to work on this issue?

Group FivDiscuss a CEDAW State Party or Shadow report to address violence against women; you could also use this opportunity to discuss SC Resolution 1325 and what has or has not been done to implement that.

Assignment for March 12:

  1. Prepare Step 2 for Policy Brief assignment.

March 12           

The Power of Voice

12:00-12:50 Peanut Butter and Gender

Title:  TBA

Soe Htet Win is managing Director at Shew Pyi Yadanar International Services Company, Chairperson of the Daw Na Aung May Mining Company, and Director  at M.M.S Victory International  Pte. (Singapore). While working in the private sector, Soe dedicates time to public sector interests. She is the Chaiperson of the CONCORD Institute. In that role, she is responsible for organizational training, dialogue for legislatures, public service  and future candidates, advocating on behalf of peace processes in Kayin State with local leaders, government and international organization, and planning for local region development and empowering women to participate in peace process and regional development with local authorities, regional ethnic leaders, and international organization. She is also Director of the Myanmar Women’s Professional Network.

 3:50-5:50              Student speeches

______________  ______________  ___________  ________________    _______________   _____________ ______________  ______________ ____________  _______________     _______________   _____________

 Assignment for March 19:

  1. Read “Temporary Special Measures for Women in Politics” pp. 2-23 in course booklet.
  2. Read “Ethics in Public Service”  pp. 1-13 in course booklet.
  3. Prepare Step Three for Policy Brief assignment.

 March 19

Women and Politics: Erasing the Gender Gap

12:00-12:50  Peanut Butter and Gender

Title:  “In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate”

Judge Nancy Gertner, Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School, and former United States federal judge for the District Court in the District of Massachusetts, will discuss her career in legal system to defend women’s rights.

Women cannot transform leadership opportunities for women across society unless their numbers increase. In many countries, gender quotas are responsible for enhancing the participation of women in politics and serve as a mechanism to overcome imbalances in the political representation of men and women and addressing a legacy of discrimination against women. Quotas for women do compensate for actual barriers that prevent women from their fair share of the political seats.  Today, quota systems aim to ensure that women constitute at least a “critical mass” of 30 percent as established by the Beijing Platform of Action that was adopted at the historic Fourth World Conference in 2005 in Beijing.

Quotas in Indian local government or the Panchayat Raj

The 1993-94 elections in India brought about some 800,000 women into active political life as a result of the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Indian Constitution which promulgated that one third of the seats in local councils, both urban and rural—the gram Panchayats (GP)—be allotted to women. The Indian experience with local government as a result of the constitutional amendments reserved one third of the seats in local assemblies, the Panchayati Raj, to women thereby sweeping almost one million women into elective politics throughout the country and transforming the face of local government politics in India.

Discussion topics:

Do women have equal opportunities to lead?

Strengths and weaknesses of the quota: how do you address the question that quotas may seem to view women as symbolic representatives at the early stages of game:

Quotas  also may imply that politicians are elected because of their gender, not because of their qualifications, and that more qualified candidates are pushed aside

Are quota’s enough? What more must be done to prepare women for politics?

Are bottom- up- quotas that first create a critical mass of women at the local government level effective preparation for women to run for national office?

New and Emerging Quotas for Discussion

Article 16 of Decree-law stipulates that “Candidates shall file their candidacy applications on the basis of parity between men and women. Lists shall be established in such a way to alternate between men and women. Lists that do not follow this principle shall only be admitted when the number of seats, in the relevant constituency is odd”. This provision however does not establish parity in the Tunisian Constituent Assembly.

The Coalition of Libyan National Women is calling for a 30 percent quota. Currently the draft National Congress Election Law in Article 2 calls for a 10 percent quota. The Coalition is challenging this provision.

Under the Conduct of General Elections Order 2002, seats are reserved for women in both the lower house of the parliament (60 of 342 seats, or 17 percent) and in the provincial assemblies (also 17 percent). Thirty three percent of the seats in lower-level councils (union, tehsil, municipality, and district) are reserved for women. Women are elected to the reserved seats in the national parliament and provincial assemblies by a system of proportional representation.  In the general elections of 2002, 12 women won seats in the national parliament from generally contested 8 seats, in addition to the 60 reserved seats, making for a total representation of 72 women out of 342 seats, or 21.1 percent.

 3:00-4:00    Extended discussion with Judge Gertner.

4:00-5:50      Student speeches_______________   ____________      ________________   _______________

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 Assignment for March 26: 

  1.  Read packet on “Social Media and Women,” pp. 2-31 in course booklet,  and respond to questions.
  2. Prepare Step Four for Policy Brief assignment.

March 26

The Transformative Power of Social Media

Social media has increasing come to play a democratizing role in negotiating power, for building communities, and broadening communication. The dangers of social media must be addressed in thoughtful ways, while also harnessing the power of social media to transform communities and power.

Has the shift in the balance of power from nation-states to individuals and from media institutions to citizen journalists through social media had a transformative impact on women’s empowerment? Has the rise of social media led to a democratization of power and politics?  There has been research done on the feminization of social media but very little on the transformative potential of social media on women’s empowerment. Social media has helped to blur the distinction between the public and private and thus has potential to make visible in the public sphere hitherto private acts of violence and subordination.

Some case studies examined in the materials include:

Harassmap Egypt is a social media project that utilizes open-source mapping technology to allow women to report incidents of sexual harassment and abuse by sending a text message marking immediately the place where the abuse is taking place.

Women 2Drive- Saudi Arabia
Social media can be a powerful space and a platform for women not only to bear witness to events but it can be an alternative space to rewrite women’s narratives. The Twitter and Facebook campaign in Saudi Arabia on Women2Drive is another critical example of how social media can literally help drive women’s empowerment. 

 12:00-12:50     Peanut Butter and Gender

Title“ Empowering Women through Social Media”

Shelly Kapoor Collins,  Technology Entrepreneur, Founder of Enscient Corporation, and recently named in the list of “40 Women to Watch over 40.” will discuss best practices of social media for social activism.

 3:00-5:50   Group Work

Delegates break into groups and design the following based on a cause driven issue:

Group One
Create YouTube video for the network

Group Two
Create Facebook for the network

Group Three
Create Twitter for the network

Group Four
Create a blog for the Network

Group Five
Create a Website (preliminary thoughts)

 Assignment for April 2: *

  1. Read “Many Faces of Social Entrepreneurship,”  pp. 2-6 in course booklet.
  2. Read “Addressing Barrier to Economic Empowerment,” pp. 1-10 in course booklet.
  3. Read “Teaching Women in the Zapatista Movement,” pp. 1-19 in course booklet.

*Underline and take notes in the margins for these readings.

April 2

Social Movements and Grassroots Mobilizing

Social Entrepreneurship is about innovative leaders who provide new ideas to solve intractable social problems and who can transform societies.” – Echoing Green

12:00 – 12:50     Peanut Butter and Gender

Title:  “Another World is Necessary: Women Leading the Way”

Gustavo Esteva, renowned intellectual activist of Mexico, and advisor to indigenous groups throughout the country, will discuss the leadership of women in Mexico’s contemporary political struggles.

 3:00-5:50   Extended conversation with Gustavo Esteva

Group Work  TBA

April 9

No class today.   Students work on policy briefs.  Students submit Steps 5 & 6 for Policy Brief assignment.

Assignment for April 16: 

1. Read “Guide to Advocacy Campaigns”  pp. 2-11  in course booklet.

2. Read Chapters 6-8 ,  pp. 89-164 in Women Lead the Way.

3. Prepare Steps 7 & 8 for Policy Brief assignment.

April 16

Preparing Policy Briefs

In this session, students will present policy briefs on any topic of their choice (trafficking, women’s violence, environment).  Students invite community to their presentations; certificates from Women in Public Service Project are awarded this day.

12:00-12:50    Peanut Butter and Gender:   

Title: “Combating Modern Day Slavery”

Ten years ago, Katherine Chon discovered that slavery still exists in America. In fact, slavery existed two miles from her apartment in Providence, Rhode Island. She immediately decided she had to do something, and co-founded the Polaris Project upon graduating college. She shares her story, staggering statistics on human trafficking, and what Polaris is doing to combat modern-day slavery.

April 23

Students continue to present policy briefs.  Students submit Step 9 for Policy Brief assignment.

April 29  

8:00 a.m. Final Exam

Complete presentations of Policy Briefs.    Students submit final drafts of policy briefs.

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