Women Creating Change utilizes the expertise of Columbia’s many distinguished feminist scholars to focus on how contemporary global problems affect women and the role women play in addressing those problems. In the era of globalization, power and resources are unequally distributed, with certain populations marginalized and dispossessed. Women face particular forms of vulnerability: limited control over reproduction; inequitable access to health care, education, and political participation; sexual exploitation, including rape as a recognized tactic of war; gender-based forms of labor exploitation, including forced domestic service; and the double burden of domestic and paid labor. And yet, women and other marginalized groups have also devised innovative forms of activism and resistance in the face of these socially imposed vulnerabilities. Women Creating Change develops strategies for political, social and cultural change by creating global networks of engaged scholars and activists who use local knowledge and advanced research methods in the service of social justice.
Leading this initiative are faculty from Columbia and Barnard who are internationally recognized for their work on such topics as the impact of globalization on the everyday lives of urban women; the global politics of reproductive rights and maternal health; the sources and impact of women’s religious activism; and the impact of migration on women’s networks and social power. They have formed working groups of scholars and activists from the New York tri-state area and the regions where Columbia’s global centers are located. Collectively, they are developing frameworks for thinking about social vulnerabilities and for imagining creative and sustainable forms of redress. Such work is necessarily interdisciplinary as well as comparative and transnational and benefits from the rich resources and global perspective afforded by CSSD and Columbia University’s Global Centers.
There are currently five Women Creating Change working groups: "Gender & the Global Slum," convened by Saidiya Hartman, Neferti Tadiar, and Anupama Rao; "Gender, Religion & Law in Muslim Societies," directed by Lila Abu-Lughod and Anupama Rao"; "Women Mobilizing Memory," headed by Marianne Hirsch and Jean Howard; "Re-thinking Vulnerability: Feminism & Social Change," led by Judith Butler; and "Social Rights After the Welfare State," directed by Alice Kessler-Harris.