The Risk Element: Safeguarding Women in Politics
October 22, 2018
NYU Washington, DC and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) hosted the launch of NDI's Women’s Political Participation Risk Index, and a safety planning tool to help women who are or intend to become politically-active, to mitigate the threat of violence that they face.
As more women step forward and engage in political activity, there is a rising backlash against their equal participation. This is an abuse of human and civic rights, and the exclusion of women undermines the quality of democracy.
Speakers for the evening included Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, NDI Chairman and Former Secretary of State, Farida Bemba Nabourema, Executive Director at Togolese Civil League, Sandra Pepera, Director for Gender, Women and Democracy at NDI, Dr. Mona Lena Krook, Professor at Rutgers University, Geoff Hughes, Director for Global Security and Operations at NDI, and Shari Bryan, Vice President at NDI.
Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, Former Secretary of State, NDI Chairman
Dr. Madeleine K. Albright is chair of Albright Stonebridge Group and chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets.
Dr. Albright was the 64th secretary of state of the United States. In 1997, she was named the first female secretary of state and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. As secretary of state, Dr. Albright reinforced America's alliances, advocated democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade and business, labor and environmental standards abroad. From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Albright served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and as a member of the president's Cabinet. From 1989 to 1992, she served as president of the Center for National Policy. Previously she was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff from 1978 to 1981, and from 1976 to 1978, she served as chief legislative assistant to Sen. Edmund S. Muskie.
Dr. Albright is a professor in the practice of diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She chairs both NDI and the Pew Global Attitudes Project, and serves as president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. Dr. Albright serves on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations and the board of trustees for the Aspen Institute. In 2009, Dr. Albright was asked by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to chair a group of experts on NATO's New Strategic Concept.
Dr. Albright received a B.A. with honors from Wellesley College, and master’s and doctorate degrees from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government, as well as a certificate from its Russian Institute. Dr. Albright is the author of five New York Times best-sellers starting with the most recent Fascism: A Warning, published in 2018. Her autobiography, Madam Secretary: A Memoir, was published in 2003. In 2006, Dr. Albright published The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs. Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership was published in 2008. Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box was published in 2009. Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, was published in 2012.
Shari Bryan, Vice President, National Democratic Institute
Shari Bryan is NDI's Vice President. She joined NDI in 1998 and served as senior associate and regional director of the Institute's democratic programs in Southern and East Africa from 2001 through early 2008.
Ms. Bryan has been actively involved in law, international development and foreign affairs since 1988 and has traveled extensively throughout the world. She has conducted assessments or missions to more than 30 countries during her tenure at NDI, and played a key role promoting democratic assistance programs in Africa; conceptualizing and organizing projects on political party finance; governance and HIV/AIDS; and increasing the role of legislatures in overseeing the extractive industries.
Ms. Bryan is a guest and commentator for many major news outlets including CNN and the BBC, has testified before the U.S. Congress, and has presented papers before a variety of organizations including the National Intelligence Council, the UNDP, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID). She has has co-authored Money in Politics – A Study of Party Financing Practices in 22 Countries, published in 2005, andTransparency and Accountability in Africa’s Extractive Industries: The Role of the Legislature, published in 2007.
Geoff Hughes, Director for Global Security and Operations, National Democratic Institute
Geoff Hughes serves as the Director for Global Security and Operations at the National Democratic Institute.
Dr. Mona Lena Krook, Professor, Rutgers University
Dr. Mona Lena Krook's research includes gender and electoral politics, electoral gender quotas, candidate selection, political representation, political parties, and qualitative methods.
Farida Bemba Nabourema, Executive Director, Togolese Civil League
Farida Nabourema is a prolific social activist and writer, recently emerging as the unequivocal voice of Togo’s pro-democracy movement. Farida has been a fearless advocate for democracy and human rights in Togo since she was a teenager. Through over 300 articles written on her blog and other sites, Farida denounces corruption, dictatorship and promotes a form of progressive Pan Africanism. In 2014, Farida published a book in French titled “La Pression de oppression” (The Pressure of Oppression) in which she discussed the different forms of oppression that people face throughout Africa and highlighted the need for youth and women to be politically engaged.
Farida is also the Executive Director of the Togolese Civil League, an NGO that promotes democracy and human rights in Togo through grassroots organizing, civic education and advocacy. Prior to taking that position, Farida founded the Faure Must Go movement in 2011 where she organized thousands of Togolese youths to stand against the dictatorial regime of Faure Gnassingbe. Faure Must Go has become the slogan for the civil resistance movement in Togo of which Farida is one of the most well-known leaders.
Sandra Pepera, Director for Gender, Women and Democracy, NDI
Sandra Pepera is a career diplomat and international development professional. Before joining NDI as its director for Gender, Women and Democracy in 2014, she spent thirteen years as a senior officer at the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), including leading programs in the Caribbean, Rwanda-Burundi and Sudan. Prior to joining DFID, Sandra spent time in British domestic politics; lecturing in political science and international relations at the University of Ghana; and as a political analyst in the Political Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat. She has a portfolio of skills and experience which include strategy development, political and risk analysis, diplomacy, general management and corporate governance. Much of Sandra’s career has been spent working in or on transitional economies, focusing on the building of resilient and inclusive institutions. She led work on women and politics at the University of Ghana and in outreach public policy during the period of intense and unstable political transition in the early 1990s. This included participating in a program that supported the ANC Women’s League during South Africa’s transition from apartheid to majority democratic rule in 1993. Sandra is a member of the Cambridge Sustainability Leaders Network, the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Global Board Ready Women initiative, and the International Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Journal for International Affairs (the Round Table). She holds the Financial Times Diploma for Non-Executive Directors, and serves as a trustee for the pension fund of an intergovernmental organization.