Women Creating Change

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Women Creating Change

Women Creating Change

Women Creating Change (WCC) draws together distinguished feminist scholars from across Columbia to focus on contemporary global problems affecting women and on women’s roles in addressing those problems. At the heart of WCC are working groups – scholars, students, practitioners, and socially engaged artists (filmmakers, dramatists, photographers) who meet in New York and at Columbia’s Global Centers with partners from across the world. Promoting networks of experts and activists that cross national and disciplinary borders, WCC envisions ethical and viable solutions to urgent problems concerning women, gender, and inequality. It also engages with other global networks and groups working to raise awareness of these problems, on campus and beyond, and is committed to the pursuit of social justice and a democratic future. WCC pursues research, teaching, writing and collaborative work that is necessarily interdisciplinary as well as comparative and transnational and that benefits from the rich resources and global perspective afforded by the Center for the Study of Social Difference (CSSD) and by Columbia University’s Global Centers.

Silvina der Meduerditchian

Current Projects

Religious traditions and institutions are regularly linked to gender violence (whether as explanations or solutions), yet there is very little examination of the terms under which those linkages occur. Why, when, and by whom is “religion” invoked in global responses to gender-based violence (GBV)? What roles are attributed to religion in these dynamic processes? What categories of the religious become seen as credible and acceptable, and are empowered as anti-GBV actors? What falls out in the international agenda governing violence against women/gender-based violence? This collaborative project explores the role of religion in naming, framing, and governing gendered violence. The three-year initiative, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, will mobilize the collective experience, expertise, and creativity of an international group of critical feminist scholars, practitioners, activists, and journalists, with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia.

This project, which represents the workshop phase of an interdisciplinary, regional, consortial, Africa-led research endeavor, studies the rural-urban interface in Ghana and in Kenya, concentrating on the experience of women, youth, and men who inhabit this social and physical space. The research group includes colleagues at the Universities of Ghana-Legon and Nairobi as well as at Columbia and other New York-area institutions. The rural-urban interface or continuum extends from the rural to the towns and cities of the African continent. It is quite variegated and is characterized by a complex nexus of sites, including primary and secondary sites in relationships of gain and loss, dominance and subordination, associated in different ways with rural-to-urban migration.

Silvina der MeduerditchianWomen Creating Change engages distinguished feminist scholars across Columbia’s many schools to focus on how contemporary global problems affect women and the role women play in addressing those problems. There are currently five Women Creating Change working groups: "Religion and the Global Framing of Gender Violence," "Reframing Gendered Violence," "Gender & the Global Slum," "The Rural-Urban Interface: Gender and Poverty in Kenya and Ghana, Statistics and Stories," and "Women Mobilizing Memory." Each working group uses the resources of Columbia’s Global Centers to develop international networks of scholars and activists working on pressing problems of gendered inequity.

How are gender relations impacted by material impoverishment and social segregation? Why do women suffer disproportionately from the social hazards of urban informality? This project addresses the global slum as the product of a complex interplay between the political economy of urban space, and the spatialization of social difference, especially gender/sexuality. Our project is especially interested in querying new aspirations around gender and consumption, the gender of poverty, new formations of informal labor and sex work, and emergent sites of violent conflict as these are remaking gendered relations of power.