Comfort Ero’s Top Media Picks for International Women’s Day
Comfort Ero’s Top Media Picks for International Women’s Day
Comfort Ero at Crisis Group’s EU Watch List event in Brussels. January 2024.
Comfort Ero at Crisis Group’s EU Watch List event in Brussels. January 2024. CRISIS GROUP / Michelle Malaney
Special Coverage / Gender and Conflict 3 minutes

Comfort Ero’s Top Media Picks for International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day, Crisis Group President and CEO Comfort Ero shares a list of ten media products, including books, articles and podcasts, that shed light on women’s roles in global leadership, peacekeeping, conflict and more.

1. Strengthening the Response to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

In anticipation of the UN Security Council’s annual debate on conflict-related sexual violence in July 2023, Cristal Downing and Floor Keuleers discussed the challenges survivors of such violence face in terms of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. They outline how the Council and the UN more broadly can step up efforts to address these challenges. 

Maiduguri, Nigeria, December 2018. CRISIS GROUP / Jorge Gutierrez Lucena

2. The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide

Valerie M. Hudson, Donna Lee Bowen, and Perpetua Lynne Nielsen examine how women’s rights, including their access to key resources such as land and employment, are connected to national political stability and security. Drawing on comprehensive empirical data and analysis, they demonstrate that tackling gender inequality should be a priority to those seeking to establish national security, political stability and economic prosperity.

2. Absorbing Climate Shocks and Easing Conflict in Kenya’s Rift Valley

In Kenya’s Rift Valley, a record-breaking drought is impacting women’s livelihoods and leading young men to take up arms in competition over livestock and grazing land. Among other efforts, Kenyan authorities should ensure the participation of women and youth in peace talks and decision-making in order to de-escalate tensions and prevent further violence. 

Laikipia, Kenya, June 2022. CRISIS GROUP / Nicolas Delaunay

4. Twelve Feminist Lessons of War

Feminist political theorist Cynthia Enloe draws on narratives collected throughout her career to highlight women’s roles in conflict across different moments in time and geographies. She reflects on how patriarchal power structures, such as laws about marriage and inheritance, influence men’s and women’s experiences of war and how they seek to resolve it. Enloe demonstrates that understanding conflict through a feminist lens is crucial if we are to prevent and shorten wars and create sustainable peace. 

5. War & Peace Season 4, Episode 18: Ukraine’s Male Travel Ban and the Protection of Civilians in Wartime

Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson speak with podcast guest Charli Carpenter, director of the Human Security Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, about the gendered impacts of war, essentialist notions regarding men’s and women’s roles in armed conflict, and how this plays out in the war in Ukraine. 

Downtown Lviv, Ukraine, June 2022. CRISIS GROUP / Jorge Gutierrez Lucena

6. Choosing the Hero: My Improbable Journey and the Rise of Africa’s First Woman President

In 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became President of Liberia, making her the first woman to be elected to lead an African country. K Riva Levinson, who lobbied internationally on Sirleaf’s behalf, traces the story leading up to that historic milestone, and the tireless efforts by women from very different backgrounds that made it possible.

7. Partners in Crime: The Rise of Women in Mexico’s Illegal Groups

The prospect of acquiring income, protection and dignity is increasingly driving Mexican women to join criminal organisations, where they carry out various tasks across these organisations’ ranks. Their participation further embeds crime within Mexican society. Addressing women’s involvement in organised crime requires alternative job and educational opportunities for women, as well as tailored demobilisation and reintegration support.

Northern Mexico, August 2022. CRISIS GROUP / Angelica Ospina

8. Leading Our Way: How Women are Re-Defining Leadership

Renowned executive Gaia van der Esch shares inspiring stories through in-depth discussions with seven trailblazing women in leadership positions across various industries. In so doing, Leading Our Way explores new strategies and leadership models to inspire action and help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

9. Why Women Fight: Gender Dynamics in Insurgencies and Armies

Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson welcome podcast guest Jessica Trisko Darden, Associate Professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University, to discuss why the roles that women and men take on in war often differ, whether gender shapes how we define combat, and why public opinion matters. 

War & Peace hosts Olga Oliker and Elisa Jobson, 2022. CRISIS GROUP

10. An African History of Africa

Lastly, a book to look forward to: SOAS President Zeinab Badawi’s soon to be published journey through Africa’s rich history, which weaves together the personal and the global in a deeply-researched account that puts African perspectives front and centre.

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