2018 Conference

Marching into an Equal Future
The current global context is witnessing unprecedented changes. The rise of populism, increase in geopoliticalinstability, fastened pace of globalization accompanied by vigorous backlash and identity polarization are somemanifestations of these changes. Along with these shifts is a widespread sentiment that gender relations are dynamically altering at this pivotal moment.
The 2018 SAIS Global Women in Leadership Conference, Marching into an Equal Future aims to make sense of these rapid changes across different historically male-dominated sectors: Politics, Conflict and Development and take stock of the progress made thus far and the challenges that lie ahead.
The following 4 panels have been conceptualized for this year’s conference:

Shattering the Glass-Ceiling: Women in Politics

The 71st Session of the General Assembly of United Nations (UNGA) in 2016 witnessed less than 10% of national statements delivered by women. Domestically, Hillary Clinton, who was expected to break through the highest glass-ceiling faced a shocking defeat in one of the most pivotal presidential elections. In this light, the panel will uncover the following questions:                                

  • How different are expectations on/of women running for office?
  • How does media play a role in shaping expectations and responsibilities of women leaders?
  • How can more women be represented in politics? Why is this important?

Defeating the War: The Role of Women in Armed Conflicts

Despite the various roles women have played in wars, and violent conflicts as aggressors, victims, facilitators and peace-makers, their roles have been understood narrowly. This panel aims to discuss:

  • How can women play a crucial role in countering violent extremism (CVE) and radicalism?
  • Why there is a need to move beyond ‘women as victims of war’ rhetoric?
  • How does active involvement of women change nature of violent conflicts?


The Problem with being Saved

Developmental organizations are increasingly shifting towards assisting women in international contexts through a bottom-up approach. In this context, this panel brings to the discussion the following:

  • How do different conceptions of liberation, empowerment and freedom guide development work in foreign communities?
  • What does being gender equality mean in different parts of the world? Where does this understanding converge and diverge?
  • Are there Western and Eastern notions of feminism which should be accounted for while planning and implementing interventions?


Stories from the Trenches: Daily Life on the Steady Battle

This panel will consist of SAIS Alumna working in Politics, Peacebuilding/Defense and NGO/Development sectors, who will offer practical insights on countering gender injustice based on their own experiences in the workforce. Panelists will discuss a wide range of practical topics like building effective networks, dealing with bosses, adapting to different organizational structures and maintaining family-life balance.