Past Events

Gendered Dimensions of the Pandemic: Implications of COVID-19

April 17, 2020

A webinar attended by participants from Central Asia, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America, East Asia, the United States, Canada, and Europe examined the intersections of gender and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yasmine Ergas, director of SIPA’s specialization in Gender and Public Policy, recently worked with Jazgul Kochkorova MIA '20, Aizhan Kamidola MPA '21, and Michele Bornstein MIA '15 to organize an webinar on “The Gendered Dimensions of the Pandemic: The Implications of Covid-19.” Participants focused on two issues: governance, civil liberties, and gender rights; and the socioeconomic impacts of both the pandemic and the policies implemented in response to its development.
The webinar took place April 17, 2020. The WGGA worked with Columbia Global Centers—including the Centers in  Nairobi, Rio, Istanbul, and Tunis—and the Institute for the Study of Human Rights. 
In her introduction, Ergas noted that, while public-health measures taken under emergency rule are essential to protect the public good, the temporary restriction of civil liberties can permanently alter “real constitutions,” tighten the margin for activism, and quash gender-based movements that can only thrive in the political open air. At the same time, intersectionally inflected gender-based inequalities have deepened as labor market, health, educational, financial, and infrastructural policies implemented to address the pandemic have failed to correct for them. She stressed that “there is no such thing as the benign neglect of gender inequality.” Nonetheless, the pandemic may also constitute an opportunity for advocates, academics, and policy-makers to help promote fairer social arrangements.
Speakers from Central Asia, Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Africa, and Japan discussed issues ranging from the dangers associated with authoritarian instrumentalization of the pandemic to the importance of adopting gender-based perspectives in disaster prevention, from the limits of militaristic understandings of the crisis and the specific vulnerabilities of female employment in the current recession in a variety of settings, including in developing countries.
  • Governance, Civil Liberties and Gender Rights 
  • Aigerim Kamidola, Legal Advocacy Officer, Kazakhstan Feminist Initiative "Feminita," Kazakhstan
  • Syinat Sultanalieva, Ph.D. candidate, University of Tsukuba 
  • Anne Marie Goetz, Clinical Professor, Center for Global Affairs, New York University, New York 
  • Elisabeth Pruegl, Professor of International Relations, Director, Gender Center, Graduate Institute, Geneva
  • Margaret Wanjiku Ngunjiri, Founder and Lead Consultant, Sabio Policy Consulting, Nairobi
  • Marilisa D'Amico, Professor of Constitutional Law, Vice Rector for Equality,  University of Milan
  • Lina Cuellar, Ph.D. Co-founder and Director, Sentiido, Columbia
  • Jackie F. Steele, Sophia University and enjoi D&I Consulting
  • Socioeconomic Impacts
  • Hélène Périvier, Économiste, OFCE, Director of the gender studies program of Sciences Po, Paris
  • Christina Ewig, Professor and Faculty Director, Center on Women, Gender and Public Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
  • Marcella Corsi, Professor of Economics and Co-founder, Minerva – Laboratory on Diversity and Gender Inequality, Sapienza University, Rome
  • Paula Herrera-Idarraga, Assistant Professor of Economics, Pontifica Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá
  • Sonia Laszlo, Associate Professor of Economics, McGill University, Montreal
Click here to view a recording of the event. 



Gender in our times: A workshop for scholars and practitioners

October 12, 2018

Participants from 23 countries gathered at the Columbia Global Center in Paris on October 5 and 6 as part of a workshop of the Women and Gender in Global Affairs Network (WGGA) convened by Yasmine Ergas, director of the Gender and Public Policy specialization at Columbia SIPA.
The workshop connected academics and researchers from nations including Kazakhstan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Belgium, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Estonia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Turkey. Participants discussed the challenges and opportunities of the current moment. They explored teaching and research in relation to gender and global affairs, and approaches linking academia and practice. Discussion also centered on the power of networks. Possible future activities, strategies through which the space for academic work on gender can be reinforced, and the importance of continuing to educate future generations were highlighted.
Michele Bornstein MIA ’15 and then-current students Jenise Ogle MPA ’19 and Anna Larsson MIA ’19 provided invaluable assistance.
“This was truly an invigorating event,” said Justine Shaw of the Global Dialogues in Women’s Empowerment in Eurasian Contexts Feminist Mentoring (WEF) Programme at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. “The breadth and variety of experiences discussed and displayed was stimulating and rich. I see multiple practicable and actionable ways in which I can contribute towards the network and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help build what promises to be an excellent resource.”
Building on this event’s momentum, WGGA will continue exploring key issues through webinars, meetings, and exchanges of resources.


Gender under Threat: Crisis and Possibility? 

February 26, 2020

“Are we witnessing two contradictory trends? The widespread attack on gender equality and the "gender academy" is a global phenomenon. Illiberal/authoritarian forces are reshaping the politics of gender equality, narrowing the scope for gender-related teaching and scholarship as well as policy and advocacy. Gender studies are dismissed and referred to as an ideology; in some instances, gender curricula have been effectively banned. But these authoritarian trends have catalyzed counter-mobilizations and may be fostering new intellectual and policy agendas. How can these counter efforts be nurtured? Can they succeed, and what would success mean in this context?
But, at the same time that authoritarian governments are reducing the scope for gender equality, some countries may be moving in a different direction, perhaps opening new prospects for research and teaching as well as for policy practice and advocacy. Mexico may be a case in point. How will gender equality be incorporated into governmental policies? What scope will there be for critical discussion of gender issues? And how will these efforts be sustained?  
This panel and webinar explored the difficult, and conflicting, trends that characterize this moment. Brief presentations were followed by a discussion that span regions – Europe (broadly defined) and Latin America.”
  • Marianna Muravyeva, University of Helsinki
  • Etuna Nogaideli, Kvinna till Kvinna
  • Gabriela Cano, Colegio de México, Columbia University
  • Vladimir Tlali, Columbia University
Click here to view a recording of the event. 



The Politics of Language and the Issue of ‘Gender’

December 13, 2018
“Members have expressed a need for mapping the different ways in which illiberal/authoritarian forces in our respective contexts are pushing back against the gender field - academically and/or practically, and what different methods we, as gender advocates, deploy in standing up against this pushback.”


  • Tamar Sabedashvili, UN Women and Tbilisi State University
  • Enriketa Papa-Pandelejmoni, University of Tirana
  • Katerina Kolozova, Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Elisabeth Marteu, International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Zehra Arat, University of Connecticut

Click here to view a recording of the event.