Women's History

The Irreplaceable Asma Jehangir

Back in November 2005, the Woodrow Wilson Center hosted a talk by Asma Jehangir, Pakistan’s most prominent human rights activist. Those of us in the audience that day could not have known how prophetic her words would be.

Jehangir, who died on February 11, warned that until Pakistan’s powerful military “recedes,” the country will not become a more moderate or tolerant place. She made a bold declaration: For Pakistan to truly prosper, it must “demilitarize.”

Progress is Not Linear: A Book Event with Dr. Marjorie J. Spruill

Since thousands of women flooded into Houston, Texas for the 1977 National Women's Conference, women’s representation in policy and political leadership in the U.S. has increased: over the last 40 years, women’s participation in the Senate has increased by 21% and by 15% in the House. This has ensured key issues from 1977, such as maternity leave and equal pay, continue to play a role in national policy conversations.

On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and White House Communications

On May 10, 2016, the Women in Public Service Project and History and Public Policy Program co-hosted the event “On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and White House Communications.” Gwen Young, Director of the Global Women’s Leadership Program and Women in Public Service Project at the Wilson Center, moderated the event and gave opening remarks. Dr. Lauren Wright, the author of “On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and White House Communications Strategy Today,” was the guest speaker.

Contested Memories and Reconciliation Challenges: Japan and the Asia-Pacific on the 70th Anniversary of the End of World War II

The eyes and ears of much of Asia will be on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he delivers a speech in August 2015 to commemorate 70 years since the end of World War II. It will undoubtedly be the most scrutinized of Abe’s public addresses to date, a fact that has not escaped the Prime Minister’s Office as experts have been assembled months in advance to advise him on the broader strategy and the appropriate wording for the occasion. 

To Have and to Hold: Gender Regimes and Property Rights in Twentieth Century Romania

The meaning of citizenship has changed profoundly over the twentieth century, with women experiencing the most radical shifts in how their rights and duties have been defined and protected by the state.  Visiting Scholar Maria Bucur follows the changes that have affected women in Romania in the area of property rights.  Over a century of conflict and societal transformation, women have gradually gained more rights as citizens, but full equality with men has not been achieved.

Afghanistan’s Unsung Heroes: Reflections of Afghan Women Leaders and Implications for U.S. Policy

In Afghanistan, the future of women is highly uncertain. International troops have left the country, and Afghanistan’s new government is exploring the possibility of reconciliation talks with the Taliban. The new book Contested Terrain: Reflections with Afghan Women Leaders, by Sally L. Kitch, chronicles the stories of two Afghan professional women, Marzia Basel and Jamila Afghani, as they navigate both patriarchal culture and international intervention, and as they experience both immense possibilities and utter hopelessness.

Political Representation of Women in Mexico

What’s Behind the Hostility Toward Women in Iran

Why are Iranian hard-liners once again setting their sights on women? Some 2,000 Iranian women and men demonstrated last week  in the city of Isfahan, and others gathered before the parliament building in Tehran, to protest a series of acid attacks on women and to demand government action.

Women’s Access to Power and Decision-Making in Africa: Addressing Obstacles and Offering Solutions

There is widespread agreement that equal access to power and decision-making for men and women is fundamental to representative and responsive governance. This has been highlighted in governance and development discourses against a background of women’s unequal and limited access to public office. Women’s substantive representation in political positions is crucial to closing the gender gap in decision-making structures.

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