SOAS University of London

2020 Bertha Lutz Prize for research on Women in Diplomacy announced

8 March 2020

SOAS's Centre for International Studies & Diplomacy, and the Diplomatic section of the International Studies Association are pleased to announce two winners this year: Dr Torild Skard and Dr Katherine Marino.

Dr Torild Skard is uniquely qualified for the Bertha Lutz Prize. Skard’s “foundational” research “rediscovered in the academy” Bertha Lutz’s role in signing the UN Charter. Like Lutz, Skard has combined research and scholarly writing with political and diplomatic positions to promote the equality of women. The experience and knowledge gained through these positions has given Skard’s research and writings special meaning and insights.

As a social scientist and feminist, Skard entered politics to promote a more woman-friendly society. At the time, politics was even more male-dominated worldwide than it is today. Throughout her career Skard obtained high positions no woman held before, and used these positions for the advancement of women. In doing so she gained essential knowledge about the status of women and used this knowledge to promote gender equality through action and writing.

Skard was a pioneer in women’s studies conducting research on women in decision-making positions in the Nordic countries in the 1970s and 80s. She later did ground-breaking work analyzing the role of women internationally and the promotion of women and gender issues. Her recent research covers women heads of state and government worldwide since the end of World War II. The resulting volume, Women in Power, was recognized in 2015 as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice, the U.S. library journal for its overall excellence in presentation and scholarship.

Speaking about the award, Dr Skard said: "I am very happy to receive the prize – both for the importance it attaches to women’s contributions to politics and women’s research in the area, and the professional appreciation it reflects of my own writing and research. It is a special pleasure to receive a prize related to Bertha Lutz, with whom you know I have acquired a very particular relationship."

Dr Katherine Marino also conducts research on Bertha Lutz, such as "Transnational Pan-American Feminism: The Friendship of Bertha Lutz and Mary Wilhelmine Williams", as well as her wider work on U.S. and Latin American histories of women, gender, sexuality and race in the Americas. In 2015 she was awarded the Judith Lee Ridge Article Prize for her article "Marta Vergara, Popular-Front Pan-American Feminism, and the Transnational Struggle for Working Women’s Rights in the 1930s."

CISD Director Dr Dan Plesch said: "We thank women, and particularly women from Latin America that we have gender equality in the United Nations Charter. Bertha Lutz led the world in achieving gender equality, and CISD honours this leadership with a prize in her name with the International Studies Association. We are delighted to announce that this year's winners are Dr Torild Skard and Dr Katherine Marino - both of who have extensively researched Bertha Lutz."

The Bertha Lutz Prize was set up by CISD and the The Diplomatic Studies Section (DPLST) of the International Studies Association (ISA) to honour the legacy of Dr Bertha Lutz, a leading Pan America feminist and instrumental figure in securing the inclusion of Article 8 in the UN Charter.

In 1945 Dr. Berta Lutz of Brazil was instrumental in the inclusion of Article 8 in the UN Charter which provides the legal basis for gender equality in the UN system and was central to other mentions of gender equality in the Charter.

For more information on the prize, and how to apply, please see the International Studies Association website.

For further information, contact:

cisd@soas.ac.uk