SOAS University of London

SOAS celebrates International Women’s Day with programme of events on women in Africa, Palestine and women in diplomacy

8 March 2019
Valerie and Graca
SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos CH with SOAS President Graca Machel
  • SOAS marks International Women’s Day with event on African Women’s political agency
  • Centre of Palestine Studies to host event on Palestine’s ‘Gender Violence Problem’
  • Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy hosts event on women in diplomacy
  • SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos CH marks day with open letter calling for gender equality

SOAS University of London is marking International Women’s Day with a series of events including an event on the political agency of African women, violence against women in Palestine and an event on women in diplomacy.

SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos CH has also signed an open letter, with other women leaders, calling for gender equality.

International Womens Day

Held by the SOAS African Development Forum, ‘In Conversation: The Evolution of African Women's Political Agency’ will feature Dr Moudpe Irele, Nigeria's first ambassador to France, and Funmi Olonisakin, Vice President/Principal (International) of King's College London and Professor of Leadership, Peace and Conflict. The speakers will be exploring the ways in which African women are taking a more active role on the continent and throughout the World. Despite visible progress, they will also discuss some of the issues and barriers that still exist. 

The event will be held from 18.30 on 8 March. To find out more, visit the event website.

The Centre for Palestine Studies will also be hosting their annual lecture: Unpacking Palestine’s ‘Gender Violence Problem’: Global Governmentality and the Antimonies of the Global Violence Against Women Agenda in Occupied Palestine’ on International Women’s Day with speaker Rema Hammami from the Institute of Women's Studies, Birzeit University, Ramallah.

This lecture will discuss how global actors, including the aid industry, have produced domestic violence as a huge and ever growing problem in Palestine -- through forms of "best practice" measurement (only used in Third World countries); normative knowledge production and through the funding streams and other forms of symbolic power and expertise they wield in our context.

The event will be held from 19.00 on 8 March. To find out more, visit the event website.

SOAS’s Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) will be hosting their annual lecture on women in diplomacy. Professor Ann Towns, PI of the Gender and Diplomacy (GenDip) Program in political science at the University of Gothenburg will explore the role of women in diplomacy, the ways diplomatic practices are gendered and how women diplomats experience and navigate the gendered terrain of diplomacy. Professor Towns is the winner of the 2018 Bertha Lutz Prize for research on women in diplomacy and her research centres around questions of norms, hierarchies and resistance in international politics.

The event will be held from 17.30 on 11 March. To find out more, visit the event website.

In addition, the Department of Economics at SOAS has partnered with OMFIF, an independent think tank for central banking, economic policy and public investment by launching the Gender Balance Index 2019 which promotes gender balance across financial institutions. This report tracks the presence of men and women in senior positions at central banks, sovereign funds and public pension funds. SOAS’s Dr Hannah Bargawi has published an article in the report, ‘The Missing women of finance’ which examines how the sector can bring in fresh voices.

Dr Bargawi’s article and the full report can be found here on the OMFIF website.

In addition, SOAS students will also be holding a series of events including:

  • SOAS India Society will host a to a celebration of Women in Resistance, Jashn-e-Sangharsh on 8 March from 17.00
  • Stalls and film screenings will be held in the JCR

To mark International Women’s Day, SOAS student Rachel Bali has been celebrated for her work as a feminist activist by the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. Read more on Rachel’s work here.