News & Events

Past Events

The Power of "Rethinking Power" Webinar - A Program to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls in Haiti

Flyer for Advocating for Victims' Rights in the United Nations: A Conversation with Jane Connors

In 2016, with the support of the NoVo Foundation/Tides, American Jewish World Service, Imago Dei Fund, and

individual donor support, Beyond Borders began implementing the Rethinking Power program encompassing both an adapted SASA! methodology and Power to Girls. The program aimed to reduce social acceptance of gender inequality and VAWG; decrease experiences and perpetrations of VAWG; increase girls’ sense of safety and freedom to make decisions; and decrease HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) risk behaviors. In 2019, an additional, separately funded component, Safe and Capable, was added to address these areas among women and girls with disabilities. 

This webinar was hosted by the Global Women's Institute and Beyond Borders. In this recording, program staff and researchers discuss research results of an impact study of SASA!, Power to Girls and Safe and Capable in Haiti. Impacts include cutting rates of physical and sexual partner violence in half between baseline and endline at a community level, among others––despite insecurity, deteriorating conditions, and COVID-19.

Watch the full webinar here. 

Additionally, find a webinar hosted in Creole by Beyond Borders covering similar themes here.  (password: H2cY.q5f)


Advocating for Victims' Rights in the United Nations: A Conversation with Jane Connors

Flyer for Advocating for Victims' Rights in the United Nations: A Conversation with Jane Connors

Moderated by GW’s Alina Potts, Global Women’s Institute, & Ramin Asgary, Humanitarian Health Program, with

a student-led Q&A

The Global Women’s Institute and GWU Humanitarian Health Program at the Milken Institute School of Public Health hosted the United Nation’s first Victim’s Rights Advocate Jane Connors in a conversation on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse in the humanitarian sector and centering victim’s rights in its approach. The Question & Answer portion was hosted by students from the George Washington University, engaging Ms. Connors on challenges, solutions, and next steps for her role and office. 

The Global Women’s Institute is a Research Institute at the George Washington University that seeks to advance gender equality through research, education and action to bring about change. GWI is currently leading a multi-year, multi-country research project entitled Empowered Aid: Transforming Gender & Power Dynamics in the Delivery of Humanitarian Aid, that seeks to mitigate the risk of exploitation and abuse in aid distributions. The Global Women’s Institute frequently partners with the Humanitarian Health Program within the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, to educate students on research, policy, and practice on gender equality and gender-based violence in conflict and humanitarian settings.

For the speakers bios and more information, click here.

You can watch the recording of the webinar here.


GenderPro Credential Launch Webinar

Flyer for GenderPro Credential Launch webinar

GWI held a webinar to celebrate the launch of the GenderPro Credential Exam! The webinar was an opprtunity

to learn more about the GenderPro Initiative and hear from past course participants, instructors and GenderPro Alliance members about the importance of building professional capacity around gender in international development.

Speakers included: 

Lauren Rumble, Principle Advisor, UNICEF Gender Equality Section
Ritah Akankwasa, Technical Manager, Violence Against Women Prevention, Raising Voices
Marissa Pledger, Project Manager, Panzi Foundation DRC
Mary Ellsberg, Director, Global Women's Institute

You can find the webinar recording here.

GWI is also now accepting applications for our GenderPro Capacity Building Programme. You can find more information at



Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls in Nicaragua: Lessons Learnt from 30 years of Research and Activism

20 years ago, the study Candies in Hell was carried out in León, Nicaragua, and revealed that 1 out of every 2 women had experienced physical violence by an intimate partner. 

In 2016, a new follow up study, Candies in Hell+20, was carried out in León using the same methods to see if the prevalence of violence against women had changed. The results showed enormous reductions in physical and emotional violence by partners, whereas sexual violence by partners stayed the same. The study also found a very high prevalence of sexual violence by non-partners.  

On Wednesday, October 28th, the Global Women's Institute held a webinar presentation and discussion of the results from Candies In Hell+20 and lessons learnt from 30 years of research and activism, including reflections from the women's movement. 

You can find the webinar recording here.

We will update the link in the coming days to include Spanish translations. Once available, please be sure to change the closed captions to access them.

Speakers included:
Mary Ellsberg, Director, Global Women's Institute
William Ugarte, Medical Epidemiologist and Lecturer, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health at Uppsala University, Sweden
Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Head of the Unit for Addressing Vulnerable Populations, Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research, WHO
Violeta Delgado, Feminist Activist
Maryce Mejia, National Liaison, National Network of Women against Violence, Nicaragua.

Additional Resources:

Webinar PowerPoint Presentation: Candies in Hell +20 Click here to view the PowerPoint in Spanish

Webinar Chat Text

Long-term change in the prevalence of intimate partner violence: a 20-year follow-up study in Leon, Nicaragua, 1995-2016


Candies in Hell original study 

Blog: Candies in Hell: 20 Years Later by Mary Ellsberg (also available in Spanish)

Blog: Research on gender-based violence, a life-changing experience that does not come with guidelines! by William Ugarte (also avaliable in Spanish)



Ending Cycle of Violence: Support for Women’s Civil Society Organizations 

Ending Cycle of Violence Flyer

The South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network in collaboration with the Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University and with support from Kroc Institute for Justice & Peace at the University of San Diego, held a virtual event that brought together women peacemakers from South Sudan, Pakistan, Israel, the United States, as well as international peace funders and institutions that are working on women's peace and security, to discuss how to build and strengthen partnership relationships to address violence against women.  

Keynote speakers included Hon. Aya Benjamin Warille, South Sudan's Minister of Gender, Child and Social Development, Dr. Mary Ellsberg, Executive and Founding Director of the Global Women's Institute at the George Washington University, Dr. Patricia T. Morris – Director of Gender and Inclusive Development at EnCompass, LLC and Dr. Andrew Blum, Executive Director, Institute for Peace and Justice, Professor of Practice, as well as women peacemakers from Pakistan, Israel and the United States.  

You can watch the webinar here.


2019 Sexual Violence Research Initiative ( SVRI ) Forum

GWI at SVRI, October 21-25 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa

GWI and partners will be attended the 2019 Sexual Violence Research Initiative ( SVRI ) Forum. The SVRI Forum is the world’s key research conference on violence against women and other forms of violence driven by gender inequality in low and middle-income countries.

GWI participated in a number of panels, sharing our latest findings and research. Our Institute also had an exhibition booth for our GenderPro Capacity Building and Credentialing Program.

You can find the schedule here which details many of the events we participated in and/or attended.


Arts for Gender Justice

image of three women on stage in a play speaking

The Global Women’s Institute (GWI) believes art has the power to speak to our humanity in ways we don’t often experience in everyday life. Art inspires us to reflect beyond logic and awaken our most genuine selves.  

Arts for Gender Justice is an initiative designed to create awareness to promote social justice and gender equality by cultivating artistic expression to address issues of women’s empowerment and to challenge harmful norms and beliefs about women. When we see a powerful image, watch a play, or hear a song, we may relate to another person’s experience in a more profound way.  

GWI Affiliated Faculty member and Professor Emeritus Leslie Jacobson of the Theater and Dance Department curated Arts for Gender Justice. Among its noteworthy initiatives: annual workshops and performances with GW students and members of the Bokamoso Youth Centre from Winterveldt, South Africa; two original plays entitled DC Seven and This is my Calling, both written and directed by Leslie Jacobson with performances by GW students and women community activists; and several film screenings with presentations and facilitated discussion.  

"Human beings are hungry for story – it is the way we understand each other; the way we transfer experience; and through it we can practice the very human art of empathizing with another person. This process of storytelling requires only two elements: the teller and the listener. With an audience bearing witness, a performance becomes a transformative experience for everyone – and can inspire us to make positive societal change."

-Leslie Jacobson


World Bank Group's Development Marketplace 2018

Group photo at the Development Marketplace
Mary Ellsberg and Manuel Contreras are top row, far right.

On April 17, 2018, GWI was honored on to be among 11 winners of the award under the theme, Innovations in Addressing Gender-based Violence for a gender equality in nutrition intervention done in collaboration with Send a Cow. 





Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Calendar of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2018 events

During the month of April, GW  joined the country in recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).  GW's Title IX Office, Victim Services, the Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (CSAPR) and GW Students Against Sexual Assault organized events to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault and its impact on campus as well as promote healthy relationships. The month will included the following highlighted events





We publish a newsletter every Thursday. Sign-up to keep up to date with all of our events and more!




April 2020

4/24/2020: GW Today, "New GW Study: Violence against Women and Girls Is Preventable"


November 2019

11/27/2019: The New Humanitarian, "Q&A: Why does so little aid money go to preventing violence against women and girls?"


July 2019

07/19/2019: GW Today, "First GenderPro Cohort Begins Summit"


February 2019

02/27/2019: ReliefWeb, "Gender-based Violence in South Sudan: Prevention for Peacebuilding"


May 2018

05/07/2018: The Hill, "Domestic violence survivors seeking asylum in US deserve our protection", by Mary Ellsberg


December 2017

12/15/2017: HuffPost blog post, "Peace in South Sudan is Not Possible Until Violence Against Women and Girls is Addressed"

12/5/2017: Medical Xpress, "Levels of Violence Against Women and Girls Among the Highest in the World"

12/1/2017: GW Today, "Women, Girls in South Sudan Face Staggering Rates of Violence"


November 2017

11/30/2017: African Indy, "Violence Against South Sudanese Females Among the Highest Globally"

11/30/2017: Sudan Tribune, "Violence Against Women in South Sudan Among the Highest the World Over: report"

11/30/2017: Xinhuanet, "Violence against women in South Sudan among highest in the world: survey"

11/29/2017: The Washington Post, "South Sudan Violence Against Women is Twice the Global Average"

11/29/2017: Thomson Reuters Foundation, "South Sudan War Seeps into Homes, Spurring Domestic Violence"

11/29/2017: ABC News, "South Sudan Violence Against Women is Twice the Global Average"

11/29/2017: Europa Press, "El conflicto en Sudán del Sur dispara la violencia física y sexual contra las mujeres"

11/29/2017: Times Live, "South Sudan War Seeps into Homes, Spurring Domestic Violence"

11/29/2017: Independent UK, "Violence Against Women in South Sudan is Occurring at Twice the Global Average Rate"


October 2017

10/4/2017: The Asia Foundation, "Four Takeaways from Global Forum on Preventing Violence Against Women"


January 2017

1/26/2017: The Guardian, "'Global Gag Rule' Could Have Dire Impact in Latin America, Activists Warn"


Other Media 

Hidden Heroes podcast cover in blue and red tones with two women standing facing forward

Hidden Heroes Podcast and Feature

Hidden Heroes is a podcast from UNICEF about women and girls who are innovating, organizing and saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Join host Beth Murphy to celebrate solutions to gender injustice and strengthen your resolve to fight it with intimate, on-the-ground reporting from around the world.

Episode 4 features GWI Director Mary Ellsberg discussing the most pervasive and under-reported human rights abuse in the world: violence against women and girls. 


woman smiling with flyer text for the What Works to Prevent Violence Webinar, Debating the future of global VAWG prevention: Violence is preventable, but what will it take?

GWI Research Scientist Alina Potts participates in webinar series 

On May 6th, 2020, GWI Research Scientist Alina Potts participated in a webinar panel: Children of Puerto Rico and COVID-19: Strategies to address domestic violence and child abuse during remote learning, school closures, and compounding household economic stressors. The moderator of the session was Yesenia Delgado and speakers included Gilda F. Rodríguez Díaz, Carlos Albizu University – San Juan Campus and Jodie Roure, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.

You can access the recording of that session and the powerpoints under Session 5 as well as the other webinars from the series.



Picture of a woman smiling with flyer text for the What Works to Prevent Violence Webinar, Debating the future of global VAWG prevention: Violence is Preventable but what will it take?

Mary Ellsberg Keynote at What Works to Prevent VAWG webinar

As part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, GWI Director Mary Ellsberg participated in a webinar to present the endline results of the DFID funded inititative What Works to Prevent VAWG webinar where she presented findings from the research on Violence against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Settings,  developed jointly with IRC, CARE and LSHTM.

Mary Ellsberg Smiling

Mary Ellsberg Keynote at the 9th Annual Stanford Women's Health Forum

GWI Director Mary Ellsberg presented the keynote address at the 9th Annual Stanford Women’s Health Forum, on June 5, 2019. The event featured a number of speakers who contribute to and presented on different topics within the field of global women’s health.

Dr. Ellsberg discussed her work on violence against women in Nicaragua and the importance of activism and research to advance women’s global health and support. 


Book Launch Image

Using Small Sample Size Surveys in GBV Programs

In partnership with ELHRA and Institut de Formation du Sud (IFOS), GWI is piloting the use of small sample size surveys to measure population-based GBV indicators in humanitarian settings.

Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) is a rapid, population–based sampling methodology often used in the health sector. During this project, GWI plans to adapt the LQAS methodology for use by humanitarian agencies implementing GBV programmes. If it proves successful, a small sample size approach may reduce some of the common barriers for collecting population-based data on GBV in humanitarian settings and improve the international community’s ability to measure the impact of their programmes. You can learn more about the research by following the link above.


Book Launch Image

Book Launch: Violence Against Women at the Frontiers of Globalization, February 2019

GWI Director Mary Ellsberg participated on a panel with the Women in Public Service Project at the Wilson Center. This book event featured Dr. Alison Brysk, author of The Struggle for Freedom from Fear: Contesting Violence against Women at the Frontiers of Globalization, as she shared her findings on the profound impact of gender violence as a worldwide problem.



Podcast screen shot

Women's Protection & Empowerment (podcast), November 2017

Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University, the International Rescue Committee, and CARE International UK collaborated on the first large-scale research study of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in several areas of South Sudan impacted by war and conflict. In this episode, Dr. Mary Ellsberg, Founding Director of the Global Women’s Institute of the George Washington University discussed the key findings from the research: the pervasive rates of VAWG, common forms of violence, and the relationship between experiences of conflict and VAWG.



Screen shot of panel talk

Facebook Live, November 29, 2017

As part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls program, funded by the UK Department for International Development, this project is the first of its kind to capture population-based prevalence data on violence against women and girls in a conflict setting. The findings from this groundbreaking study will be used to inform international policy and priorities. The research findings and report were released on November 29, 2017 at George Washington University. 


Umeå University, Sweden
October 2017

In October 2017, Dr. Ellsberg visited Umeå University to talk about the work of GWI and her experiences researching gender-based violence.


May 2015

"Ending violence against women with numbers and stories."


May 2014

Affiliated Faculty member, Joan Meier, on bias against women alleging abuse in the family law courts.



TED Talk
February 2014

Leadership Council member, Esta Soler, "How we turned the tide on domestic violence (Hint: the Polaroid helped)"