Global Development

Women and International Affairs

U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman sits after arriving for a trilateral meeting with UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and Russia's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Gennady Gatilov during the second round of negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland (REUTERS/KEYSTONE/Valentin Flauraud).

Blog Post

The Absence of Women from Middle East Policy Debates: An Update

January 23, 2015, Tamara Cofman Wittes and Marc Lynch

Earlier this week, Tamara Cofman Wittes and Marc Lynch shed light on a troubling feature of Beltway debates about Middle East policy: the relative exclusion of women from public events at some of D.C.’s leading think tanks (Brookings, sadly, included). The lack of female speakers at think-tank events is notable because the field of Middle East policy boasts a large number of prominent women experts, officials and former officials. The article reignited the debate on gender balance in the policy making world. Now, Wittes and Lynch offer some further thoughts on diversity in our public policy discussion, and provide the data underlying their claim that 65% of the events they tracked last year featured no women speakers at all.

  • In the News

    While international agencies are becoming increasingly aware of gender issues in the distribution of relief items, there are still cases where aid is distributed only to male heads of families, relief items are too heavy for women to carry, or where aid is distributed to women but they are vulnerable to being robbed on their way home.

    November 15, 2013, Elizabeth Ferris, Devex
  • In the News

    The bottom line is, the women's situation [in Japan] is not going to improve until you address more fundamental equity issues.

    September 10, 2013, Mireya Solís, Los Angeles Times
  • In the News

    It's pretty clear that at the last minute, a lot of women made a decision that Obama really understood what their economic concerns were. Yes, they want control over their own body...but decisions over health care can limit their ability to control economics as well.

    November 9, 2012, Elisabeth Jacobs, CBS News
  • In the News

    I have no doubt the next president will decide what happens to Roe v. Wade by his appointments to the Supreme Court.

    October 3, 2012, Elisabeth Jacobs, Glamour