Tag Archives: womenstats

WomenStats’ most improved countries award goes to…

Papua New Guinea wedding: Photo by Timothy Allen, BBC Photographer. http://www.humanplanet.com

Papua New Guinea wedding: Photo by Timothy Allen, BBC Photographer. http://www.humanplanet.com

The idea for the WomanStats Awards was first created at the 2014 Summer Co-PI meeting in an effort to help our data reach a larger audience. We wanted to inform, educate, and acknowledge our readers about countries and individuals who made strides, or a lack thereof, in the field of women’s rights throughout the year. All nominations and categories were provided by our coders over a period of 6 months. All final decisions were made by a panel of our co-principal investigators. These awards will be publicized across all forms of WomanStats social media, and also submitted to several online news media platforms for potential publication.

Click WomanStats Annual Report 2014 to for more interesting international facts.


Morocco: The Moroccan Parliament repealed a controversial amendment of Article 475 of the Penal Code, which allowed a rapist to escape prosecution if he married his victim.

Philippines: In defiance of the Catholic Church, the Supreme Court in the Philippines upheld a law that requires free contraception to be available at government health centers. This law also mandates after-abortion care for women and reproductive health education in government schools.

Papua New Guinea: In July 2014, Papua New Guinea outlawed polygamy. Under an amendment to the Civil Registration Act, all marriage must now be registered, including customary marriages. Any person who practices a polygamous relationship is guilty of an offence.

Bizarre fact:

India: An 18 year old woman marries a stray dog at the behest of her parents in an effort to ward off an evil spirit. Village elders believed that the woman possessed bad luck and this was the only solution available. According to the custom, the evil spirit will be passed to the dog, leaving the woman free to marry later on life without divorcing the dog.

BYU students representing The WomenStats Project make an impact at UN last week

BYU students represent WomenStats

BYU students represent WomenStats at this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women

BYU students represent WomenStats

WomenStats booth at the UN

BYU students representing WomenStats

At the lobby of the General Assembly Building, we obtained badges that allow us to float between the official proceedings, nation-level events, and NGO-level events.

BYU student with womens's rights activist

This woman leads a 35,000-woman federation of professional women across Europe and Africa. She helped obtain the equal pay law in Germany. She allowed us to interview her for our database!​

Brigham Young University (BYU) students and alumni representing The WomenStats Project participated in the March 2015 UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, meeting with members of non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), diplomats across the world, and UN staff to create a more extensive network for their research.

The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is an event held for discussion on violence against women and prevention, prosecution, punishment, etc.  Many internationally recognized women’s rights leaders meet to join resources for greater impact in their communities.

“Some [of the delegates] have even dropped their jaw when they heard that we represent the most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women on the planet,” said Natalie Wright Romeri-Lewis, senior project associate for WomenStats, international development adjunct professor and international consultant and attorney. “The NGOs love that fact that it’s free because many cannot afford the luxury of good data.”

The students and alumni successfully expanded the Expert Bank of The WomanStats Project by 1200 percent.  The Expert Bank is a network of professionals who can help WomenStats with more detailed international research. Some of the new additions to this bank include the President of the International Women’s Health Coalition, several Ministers of Women for countries across the world, the Head of Violence Against Women’s Commission in Mexico, and several other high ranking representatives, including royalty.

In addition to the Expert Bank, the number of people who have signed up to join the WomanStats Listserve increased over the course of the 2 week-long event.  The President of Croatia, Former President Bill Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton walked out of an event holding copies of their brochure.

“We hope [this] will help name recognition and more use of the [WomenStats] site,” said Dr. Donna Lee Bowen, professor of political science at BYU and member of WomenStats’ Board of Directors. “We’ve put much work into our data collection and would like it to be used widely.”

When explaining why the WomenStats project is an important international resource, Wright Romeri-Lewis declared that, “Last, although a government might speak at an official meeting, it may not allow for questions or might prevent civil society from joining the panel.  Audiences see these types of presentations as biased.  The ‘official declaration’ is not the word on the street. We have to look behind the statements and stats the government produces  and remember that they can be biased when collecting or reporting data.”

BYU’s David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies and the Department of Political Science were the key foundational support to help students and alumni participate in the Commission.

The WomenStats website can be found here.

All photos copyright of Natalie Wright Romeri-Lewis. Used with permission.