Monthly Archives: July 2017

Minerva Project and WomanStats Investigator Meeting


On July 10-12, 2017, Professor Valerie Hudson from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, along with Professor Donna Lee Bowen from BYU Political Science, conducted the annual WomanStats “Investigator” meeting at the Kennedy Center.

For two days, scholars and researchers in women’s issues presented findings from their work. Valerie Hudson, Donna Lee Bowen and Lynne Nielsen presented the theory, analytical framework, and preliminary empirical analysis for their book, “The First Political Order: Sex, Governance, and National Security,” which is a product of a three year grant from the prestigious Minerva Initiative sponsored by the Department of Defense.

Other research presentations  included Co-Principal Investigators, Senem Ertan from the Department of Political Science in Ankara Social Sciences University in Ankara, Turkey; Emily Sellars, Department of Political Science, Texas A&M; Rose McDermott, Department of Political Science at Brown University; Mary Caprioli, Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, Duluth; Catalina Monroy, from Sergio Arbloeda University in Bogota, Colombia; and her husband Juan Pablo Vallejo, of the Inter-American Development Bank in Bogota, Columbia; Becca Nielsen from Texas A&M; and Lynne Nielsen from BYU Department of Statistics.

Other scholars participated via virtual connections. Their general findings span the spectrum of women’s political issues around the world, including how the private relationships between men and women help mold society and governance, women’s security issues globally (rape and assault), changes in the South Korean constitution on marriage to counter son preference, patrilineal clannism in India, and a discussion on how change can happen under autocratic rule, and what triggers regression from advances in the equality of women in society. Other scholars from major universities in Germany, Britain, Santa Barbara and Cambridge participated via virtual connections.

Renata Forste, Director of the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies discussed plans for incorporating the women’s studies program under the auspices of the Kennedy Center. Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Professor Emeritus and the former Director of the Women’s Research Institute, also attended.  In 2001 she assisted Valerie Hudson who began WomenStats with nothing but a dream to further research on women. WomanStats has since received  substantial funding and worked at  identifying and documenting women’s issues globally, and  supplying the hard data that helps cause change.

WomanStats is now the largest compilation of data on women in the world.  One of the primary conclusions of much of the research supports WomanStats claim that “The fate of nations is tied to the status of women.” See: