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International Women’s Day

Mar 08 2023
Amaney Jamal, Dean

Dear SPIA community,

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, I want to share a bit about the meaningful work our colleagues in the School of Public and International Affairs are doing daily to learn more about and enhance the lives of the world’s women.

Our contributions include important, relevant research into women’s issues; welcoming compelling, intelligent speakers to campus to offer unique perspectives on these issues; and consultation with state and federal policymakers on the need to better address these issues.

To cite a few examples:

Earlier this year SPIA’s Afghanistan Policy Lab produced the policy paper “Afghanistan Under the Taliban: A State of ‘Gender Apartheid’?,” which spoke with clarity and urgency about the harmful directives issued by Taliban targeting women and girls.

“The United States and other governments must reaffirm that they will honor their commitments in support of women’s empowerment,” wrote APL’s Naheed Farid and her co-author, Rangita de Silva de Alwis. “Women of Afghanistan need statements of support from the highest and most visible stakeholders in the United States and around the world.”

Tanushree Goyal, an assistant professor of politics and international affairs, who joined SPIA just last year, specializes gender and politics, among other topics. She won the American Political Science Association’s 2022 Mancur Olson Best Dissertation Award in the field of political economy for her work “Representation From Below: How Women Mobilize Inside Parties.” In her dissertation, Dr. Goyal offers a novel perspective on how women’s representation enhances democracy and development in low- and middle-income countries, showing that women are more likely than men to recruit women as grassroots party activists, which helps them effect change. 

Closer to home, Stacy Mann and Heather Howard are doing exemplary work to help close the racial divide in maternal-infant health through the SPIA in NJ initiative.

Last fall, I introduced Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, who delivered a keynote address at the University and spoke with our own Andrew Moravcsik. Dr. von der Leyen is the first woman to serve in that role, and we were honored to host her. Just last week, Laurie Adams, the Chief Executive Officer of Women for Women International, shared poignant thoughts in Lewis Auditorium on gender equality and the power of women.

Even as we acknowledge these efforts, it is imperative to note that much work remains. Sexism and abuse continue to plague the United States as well as the rest of the world. Pay equality, pregnancy and maternal care, and reproductive rights are just a few of the issues on which we must do better. And natural disasters such as the earthquakes that recently struck Turkey and Syria have devastating effects on countless families, with women often bearing the brunt.

Let us celebrate women today and all days, while also committing to improving their lives in the years to come.

Amaney Jamal