Past Events & News

Information on events that occurred within the past year is available under Events & News: Recent Events.

Past Events & News

Thursday, October 22, 2020

See the press release in the UMass Boston Daily News.

Purchase the book at an indepedent bookstore.

Carol Cohn, founding director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights at UMass Boston, was one of 28 scholars worldwide who collaborated to produce the newly released book, Language in the Trump Era: Scandals and Emergencies.
The book explores how President Donald Trump’s language shapes political discourse and influences popular opinion, making it a must-read in the lead up to the November 2020 election. According to the book's authors, Trump’s speech style has sown conflict even as it has powered his meteoric rise; it has repeatedly alarmed people around the world, while exciting his fan-base with his unprecedented rhetorical style, shock-tweeting, and weaponized words.
Cohn’s chapter, “‘Cocked and Loaded’: Trump and the Gendered Discourse of National Security,” builds on her New York Times op-ed, “The Perils of Mixing Masculinity and Missiles.” Cohn argues that ideas about gender shape and distort Trump’s own thinking about national security policy, even while he employs gendered metaphors to gain political assent to those policies. But Cohn also warns that despite Trump’s rhetorical crudeness and his bald need to be seen as a “manly man,” it would be a grievous mistake to comfort ourselves with the thought that he is exceptional.
Instead, she argues, he has merely brought to the surface something that has long been a part of national security thinking among both political elites and the wider public: “the gendered discourse embedded in the ways we talk about war and weapons of mass destruction powerfully influence our understanding of them, or lack thereof.” In other words, the ideas about masculinity and femininity that are embedded in international politics and national security policy matter.
“They mattered before Trump, they matter now, and they will matter after Trump,” she writes.
Language in the Trump Era: Scandals and Emergencies was edited by Janet McIntosh (Brandeis University) and Norma Mendoza-Denton (University of California, Los Angeles) and published by Cambridge University Press.

Stockholm, Sweden
Sunday, May 17, 2020 to Wednesday, May 20, 2020

This three-day, invitation-only workshop, organized with support from the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, will be centered on climate. It will ask, how is it possible to build gender-just sustainable peace in a world facing growing climate and ecological disruption? And why, in face of the urgent need to focus efforts directly on stemming the tide of climate catastrophe, might it be productive to focus our thoughts around gender-just peacebuilding?

We note that many feminists working on climate change and biodiversity loss outline the sorts of radical solutions that the crises demand, proposing fundamental shifts in the dominant global economic model in order to arrest and address climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse. But very few are thinking about these things in relation to post-war peacebuilding, and the specific challenges and opportunities characterizing war-affected countries as they strive to create sustainable peace. While post-war needs for repair and rebuilding – and thus some kind of economic growth – are great, the economic recovery prescriptions imposed by international financial actors are based in the same extractive economic development model that has long fostered inequalities and environmental destruction. However, the post-war moment, while brief, is also a time of greater fluidity, greater opportunity for the restructuring of political, economic and social life than is otherwise feasible in countries that have not been at war. The workshop will ask if it is possible to take advantage of this window of opportunity to build peace that is gender-just and politically and environmentally sustainable? Can the transformative feminist solutions to the climate and biodiversity emergencies be made applicable to post-war settings, and become a key part of that gender-just peacebuilding? And might the opportunity to apply them in post-war settings contribute to their wider uptake?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Check out a new article, "Whose Recovery? IFI Prescriptions for Postwar Recovery," written by CGSHR Director, Dr. Carol Cohn, and senior research fellow, Dr. Claire Duncanson and published in a Special Issue on Feminist International Political Economy (IPE) and Post-Conflict of the Review of International Political Economy.

This article outlines the disjunction between a country’s economic recovery from war and the IFIs’ focus on the recovery of the economic system. Cohn and Duncanson locate the conceptual underpinnings of this chasm in the profoundly gendered assumptions of neoclassical economics. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, as the IMF, World Bank and other IFIs are rolling out emergency financing, the implications of - and feminist alternatives to - investing in an economic system rather than in human security are more important to examine than ever. 

The rest of the Special Issue deals with international financial institutions and gendered circuits of violence in post-conflict, ranging from gender budgeting to austerity measures to the role of microfinance. 

Swedish Defence University, Drottning Kristinas väg 37, Stockholm
Thursday, March 12, 2020 to Friday, March 13, 2020

Concept: In general, the versions of "gender" that make their way into policy discourse and practice look, to many feminist academics, quite impoverished. All too often, gender becomes a substitute for women, or sometimes gender equality, and, increasingly for "men too." This may be understandable, in part because the more complex insights and understandings of gender from feminist theory can see difficult to translate into policy terms. This workshop bring together feminist academics who wish to try to tackle this problem, to figure out what it would mean to concretize in policy some more complex ideas – including those that take us beyond gender.

Participants: Elin Bjarnegård, Carol Cohn (organizer), Claire Duncanson (organizer), Roberta Guerrina (tbc), Toni Haastrup, Annica Kronsell, Swati Parashar, Caitlyn Ryan, Georgian Waylen, Annick Wibben (organizer), Hannah Wright

The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden
Monday, March 9, 2020

On April 3rd, Consortium Director Carol Cohn presented "WPS and the Climate Crisis – Inextricable Links" at the Nordic Africa Institute's workshop on Gendering Peace and Security – African Perspectives on the 20th Anniversary of UNSCR 1325

"WPS and the Climate Crisis – Inextricable Links" argues that if the goals of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda are understood as ensuring women’s human security, ending and preventing wars, and building gender-just, sustainable peace, confronting the climate crisis must be understood as both practically and conceptually integral to the realization of the WPS agenda.

Read a written version of the talk here: "The Women, Peace and Security Agenda and the Climate Crisis: Inextricable Links"

Bogotá, Colombia
Monday, December 9, 2019 to Tuesday, December 10, 2019
We're excited to be collaborating with the Universidad del Rosario and the London School of Economics Centre for Women, Peace and Security on a workshop on Gender, Peace and the Environment to be held in Bogotá this December.
Below please find more information about the workshop and the call for papers. Please note that the deadline for abstracts is September 9th. We'd be grateful if you share this information with your networks:
Gender, Peace and the Environment
Dates: Monday, December 9 - Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Location:  Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá (Colombia)
Deadline for Abstracts: September 9th, 2019 and participants selected will be informed by September 26th, 2019. Please send abstracts to, and include in the subject heading “Abstract Workshop Gender, Peace and the Environment.”
Please find the complete call for papers here.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

In the debut episode of Ploughshares Fund's new podcast, Press the Button, host Joe Cirincione sits down for an in-depth conversation with Dr. Carol Cohn, founding director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights. Dr. Cohn explores the distinction between gendered ideas and gendered people – and discusses how vulnerability is an inevitable part of the human condition. Our “In The Silo” segment takes you behind the scenes of the annual setting of the Doomsday Clock and shows how Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists brief leading members of congress on Capitol Hill. Plus: Early Warning – nuclear news analysis from Ploughshares Fund Program Director Michelle Dover and Roger L. Hale Fellow Catherine Killough.

An engaging and dynamic look at one of the most critical issues of our time, Press the Button offers the latest news, insider interviews and in-depth perspectives on nuclear policy and national security. Hosted by Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione, Press the Button will feature exclusive interviews with grantees, experts, former and current elected officials, and influential voices working to build a safer, more secure world.

Press the Button is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music and Soundcloud.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 1779 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest Root Room Washington, DC 20036
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
A conference featuring women leaders with practical steps for smart, effective national security strategy
Carol Cohn, University of Massachusetts Boston
Marissa Conway, Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy
Maggie Feldman-Piltch, NatSecGirlSquad
Ambassador Laura Holgate, Nuclear Threat Initiative
Heather Hurlburt, New America
Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation
Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Women in International Security
Cecili Thompson Williams, Beyond the Bomb
Read the newly released report, "A New Vision: Gender. Justice. National Security.," including Dr. Carol Cohn's article "Gender and National Security," here:
Read Dr. Carol Cohn's article, "Gender and National Security," here

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Panel: Knowledge Production on and about Gender in Peacebuilding and Transitional Justice
Dr. Cohn and co-author Dr. Claire Duncanson (University of Edinburgh) are presenting: "Building Gender‐Equitable Peace After War: Knowledge Production Across Siloes."

Vartan Hall, The Armenian Convention Center, 630 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Read the event summary here: Linking Feminist Peace, Sustainable Development, and Postwar Infrastructure Reconstruction.

Linking Feminist Peace, Sustainable Development, and Postwar Infrastructure Reconstruction is a parallel event cosponsored by the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights (CGSHR) and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) at the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) which will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11 to 22 March 2019.

CSW63 Themes:

  • Priority theme: Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;
  • Review theme: Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development (agreed conclusions of the sixtieth session).


Infrastructure reconstruction in post-war and post-disaster contexts has the potential to support the transformation of gendered inequalities and the empowerment of marginalized groups, and to lay a physical foundation for peace and development that are truly sustainable. Unfortunately, however, that is not how it usually works. Instead, infrastructure reconstruction too often exacerbates a country’s pre-existing gendered inequalities and facilitates an extractive form of development which is unsustainable for both people and the planet.
This interactive panel discussion will bring together women civil society leaders and scholars to show why WPS advocates, if they are to achieve their goals, must focus on and incorporate feminist analysis of physical infrastructure, examining a myriad of questions such as:
  • What are the political and economic processes that determine how, and what kinds of, infrastructure will be built, by whom?
  • Where does the decision making take place, and what are the values and assumptions shaping those decisions?
  • Who benefits from the projects and who is harmed by them? What effects do they have on the pre-existing inequalities that undergird the outbreak of violent conflict?
  • What are their environmental impacts, and are they built in ways that are environmentally and socially sustainable?
  • Who has access to, responsibility for and control over infrastructure projects once they are constructed?
And the panel will show how policymaking on issues such as roads, public transportation, water and energy infrastructure and urban planning can work to empower women, enhance gender equality and foster sustainable peace and development.

Our emphasis will be on decentralized and environmentally appropriate infrastructure solutions that are informed by women’s knowledge and needs; solutions that can foster sustainable livelihoods and can be locally maintained and controlled.  At the same time, we will focus on how to create the enabling international policy environment to support those solutions, by bringing civil society perspectives to bear on developing a framework of engagement with the international financial institutions, international development organizations and governmental and intergovernmental institutions that shape postwar and post-disaster infrastructure development. The workshop also aims to support and further develop the network of activists who see sustainable, gender-equitable infrastructure reconstruction as essential to their work integrating peacebuilding, gender equality and sustainable development.
The panel will feature:
  • Carol Cohn, Director, Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights
  • Joy Onyesoh, President, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
  • Madeleine Rees, Secretary-General, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
  • Nina Potarska, Ukraine Programme Coordinator, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
This workshop is part of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights’ Feminist Roadmap for Sustainable Peace (FRSP) project. An international collaborative knowledge-building project, the FRSP focuses on the transnational economic actors and dynamics which overwhelmingly shape the contours of postwar societies. Using feminist political economic analysis, we examine the impacts of those transnational forces on the pre-existing marginalizations, inequalities and exclusions that underlie armed conflict, and we design feminist policy alternatives to transform, rather than deepen, those inequalities, with the goal of building gender-equitable, sustainable peace.  Topics addressed in the FRSP include, inter alia: the economic recovery policy prescriptions of international financial institutions; extractives; land rights, large scale land acquisition and land grabbing; infrastructure reconstruction; environmental disasters and climate disruption. WILPF applies political economy analysis to reframe the dynamics of post-conflict power structures, focusing on transformative justice and the realization of ESCRs. It examines the role of IFIs and development policies from a gender perspective, focusing on the need for local participation and design.
Please RSVP to


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