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School of Public Policy Womxn's Network

Promoting and facilitating gender equality in public policy

Established in 2018, the School of Public Policy’s (SPP) Womxn’s Network is a student run organisation focused on the advancement and empowerment of those within the SPP, and broader LSE community, marginalised by the intersectionalities of gender and/or sexuality. The Network aims to further encourage the inclusion of marginalised voices within policymaking through various events and forums designed to promote learning and open discussion.

The foundation of the Network is in understanding and challenging the barriers and inequalities within policy that are rooted in gender and sexual disparities. The Network strives to create an environment in which all students feel welcomed to join the conversation around improving policymaking for all women, gender non-binary, and LGBTQIA+ individuals.

The Network functions through three main pillars: Advocacy, Events, and Professional Development. Through these pillars the Network encourages students and alumni to collaborate in discussing ways in which intersectional and inclusive policy can be further implemented and barriers within policy careers can be eradicated. Through events and engagement with practitioners, academics, and advocates, the Network amplifies innovators in gender-based policymaking and exposes students to the importance of this underrepresented area of public policy, as well as potential career opportunities.

Many of the existing gaps within policy can be attributed to the lack of adequate representation within policymaking. Therefore, the Network’s primary goal remains understanding reasons for such policy gaps, promoting further representation within policymaking, and creating a safe space for such discussions to occur.


Our three pillars

Advocacy

Drives the network’s advocacy agenda by pressing for change on gender issues within the SPP, LSE community, and beyond. The objective of the Advocacy Committee is to challenge and change the political, economic, and social systems, institutions and practices that create inequitable conditions for womxn and other marginalised populations.

Please reach out to Lydia Smith (l.smith10@lse.ac.uk) for more information.


Events

Organises and hosts events led by policy professionals, academics, practitioners and students. The objective of the Events Committee is to enable learning, discussion and action to address the challenges facing womxn personally and professionally both within the School of Public Policy and in the broader intersection between gender and policy.

Please reach out to Grace Joel (G.J.Joel@lse.ac.uk) for more information.


Professional Development

Provides opportunities for students from the School of Public Policy to build connections with and learn from SPP alumni, policy practitioners, academics, speakers, and fellow students. The objective of the Professional Development pillar is to advance gender balanced leadership both within the SPP as well as in professional settings by providing resources like mentoring and professional and interpersonal skills workshops. Our aim is to help womxn find solutions to barriers they may face professionally and ultimately support them in achieving their career goals.

Please reach out to Anushay Afnan (A.Afnan@lse.ac.uk) for more information.

Terms of Reference 

1.     Purpose

1.1.  To give space for the voices, concerns, and experiences of womxn at the School of Public Policy and beyond.

1.2.  To ensure the previous, current, and future experiences of all womxn are integrated into policy design and practice in the School of Public Policy and beyond.

1.3.  To ensure that policy debate and legislation within the School of Public Policy are not gender neutral and instead take a necessary intersectional and gendered perspective.

2.     Membership

2.1.  The Womxn’s Network holds open membership and encourages all individuals to join and play an active role in the organisation.

2.2.  It is expected that all members of The Womxn’s Network support the principles of inclusion, diversity, democracy, women’s rights, human rights, equality and social and economic justice for all.

3.     Function

3.1.  To act as an independent sounding board for LSE students and staff to raise gender specific matters for consideration.

3.2.  To share information that represents womxn’s intersectional perspectives on political, social, economic and cultural matters.

3.3.  To influence School of Public Policy staff in building a more inclusive environment and curriculum that represents all womxn and their experiences.

3.4.  To serve as a liaison between School of Public Policy staff and students on gender specific initiatives, including complaints and situations of bias as they occur.

3.5.  Committees

      3.5.1.     Advocacy: Drives the network’s advocacy agenda by pressing for change on gender issues within the SPP, LSE community, and beyond. The objective of the Advocacy Committee is to challenge and change the political, economic, and social systems, institutions and practices that create inequitable conditions for womxn and other marginalised populations.

      3.5.2.     Professional Development: Provides opportunities for students from the School of Public Policy to build connections with and learn from SPP alumni, policy practitioners, academics, speakers, and fellow students. The objective of the Professional Development pillar is to advance gender balanced leadership both within the SPP as well as in professional settings by providing resources like mentoring and professional and interpersonal skills workshops. Our aim is to help womxn find solutions to barriers they may face professionally and ultimately support them in achieving their career goals.

      3.5.3.     Events: Organises and hosts events led by policy professionals, academics, practitioners and students. The objective of the Events Committee is to enable learning, discussion and action to address the challenges facing womxn personally and professionally both within the School of Public Policy and in the broader intersection between gender and policy.

4.   Organisational Structure

4.1 Commits to being non-hierarchical in structure and function, encouraging the free expression of thought and ideas.

wxmens network

Meet our committee

Awele

Chair: Awele Ajufo

Pronouns: She/Her/They

Awele [Ah-well-Ay] is second year Master in Public Administration candidate at the LSE. Her areas of focus include gender disparities and inequalities within human mobility and health care, and the challenges they pose in the region of Africa.

During her first year at LSE, Awele was involved in the Womxn’s Network Advocacy committee, where she worked alongside a devoted team to create a Gender Balance Report. This report assessed the current gender balance of the readings and teaching staff within the SPP with an aim to further express and encourage the need for increased representation. Alongside this work, Awele was also an LSE Student Representative, advocating for her cohort of MPA students to ensure issues were successfully raised and addressed with administration.

Prior to joining LSE, Awele worked in Management Consulting where she improved organizational outcomes for clients ranging from Fortune 100 financial institutions to inner city education non-profit organizations. She holds a B.S in Health Policy and Administration, with minors in Business and Global Health from The Pennsylvania State University.

Born and raised in the United States by Nigerian parents, Awele has long been interested in the intersectionalities of lived experiences and the gaps within policy to adequately represent and support them. Through the Womxn’s Network, Awele hopes to shed light on the importance of representation and intersectionality within the LSE School of Public Policy, ensuring it remains a priority for the school and the next generation of policymakers. Awele aims to ensure that all students feel welcome in the Womxn’s Network and supported as contributing members within the school. Awele is honored to act as one of the many student voices advocating for increased representation and inclusivity within the School of Public Policy and the larger LSE community.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to her if you have any ideas, questions, or concerns.


Lydia

Head of Advocacy: Lydia Smith

Pronouns: She/Her

Lydia is a second year Master in Public Administration candidate at the LSE. She is interested in how public institutions interact with the communities they serve and how systems can be reimagined with greater emphasis on engagement, inclusion and social parity.

Lydia has a wide range of work experience with government institutions, nonprofits, think tanks, and the private sector. Most recently she worked as a project manager and consultant for a start-up focusing on digitization and business transformation strategy. She also worked as a policy analyst and researcher for the U.S. Government. For the past ten years, Lydia spent her free time working with resettled refugee and foreign-born immigrant populations as a volunteer teacher of English, the citizenship test, and vocational skills. She is also involved in advocacy work, specifically on topics of social justice and civic engagement. Lydia holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Russian Studies from Brown University.

Through the Womxn’s Network, Lydia believes we can create a more representative, equitable and welcome learning environment for LSE students and the community at large. She believes in the power of ideas, optimism and collaboration to address the many inequities womxn and marginalized populations face. Through the Womxn’s Network’s targeted efforts to challenge current institutional practices and advocate for practical solutions, students can create change and become better policymakers.

Lydia is honored and excited to serve as head of the Advocacy Committee this year and would love to hear your thoughts!


Grace

Head of Events: Grace Joel

Pronouns: She/Her/They

Grace is a second year Master of Public Administration candidate at the LSE, passionate about using inclusive economic policy to tackle sustainable development challenges and improve womxn’s economic mobility. She is originally from Australia and moved to the UK in 2016 to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford. Grace’s recent experience includes interning with the Asian Development Bank and working with WONDER Foundation, a womxn’s-led development charity based in London.

Grace was involved with the Womxn’s Network in her first year, including organising the Gender & Policy Conference, and is eager to make a positive impact on the School of Public Policy and its students as the Head of Events in 2020/21. Gender diversity and inclusivity starts from the top, so it is critical public policy students have an opportunity to engage with pressing issues and learn practical solutions to the barriers womxn face in their personal and professional lives.

Grace’s goals for the WN events include gender theory classes, alumni panels, gender budgeting workshops and policy design seminars. Through hosting professionals, academics, practitioners and leaders, she hopes to create spaces where students and staff can engage in the important conversations that currently do not get the attention they need or deserve.

Grace would love to hear your thoughts and ideas to strengthen the impact of WN events – so please get in touch!


Anushay

Head of Professional Development: Anushay Afnan

Pronouns: She/Her

Anushay is a second year MPA candidate at the LSE, hoping to specialize in Social Impact, and is also interested in the creation and implementation of intersectional and equitable climate and health policy. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College and has previously worked in development finance in Indonesia and Mongolia. Most recently, Anushay interned at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supporting health related projects in the Middle East and Pakistan.

Last year, Anushay was involved with the Womxn’s Network mentoring program and helped match SPP students with alumni and skilled professionals. This year, she hopes to continue strengthening this program while also focusing on organizing professional development workshops and events. According to several studies, a significant reason for gender imbalance in leadership positions is due to the fact that women don’t typically receive on-the-job development and are not provided mentorship opportunities that are beneficial for personal and professional growth. She hopes that by offering some of these resources to womxn within the SPP, that the Network will be able to support fellow students in reaching their career aspirations.

Anushay is so excited to be a part of the Women’s Network board this year as she truly believes in the immense value of inclusive and safe spaces in fostering a supportive and respectful environment for all those at the LSE.

Please feel free to reach out if you are interested in getting involved or hearing more about what we have in store with regards to Professional Development in the coming months!


Megha De

Partnership and Engagement Lead: Megha De

Pronouns: She/Her

Megha is a second year Master of Public Administration candidate at the LSE. She is interested in policies to eradicate poverty and its manifold consequences such as malnutrition, access to quality education. Hailing from India, she is hoping to specialize in Economic Policy and work for the development of the marginal societies of the world, especially for poor womxn facing double marginalization.

Megha has worked at ground level with an NGO working for indigenous tribal groups of eastern states of India. She has predominantly worked for the “Ho” tribe and has been encouraged by the hardwork and passion of that community in varied fields of sports and agriculture. She wants to bring forward the local community workers’ work to the wider population, especially of the women health workers in villages that Megha has personally experienced. She has implemented projects on action against malnutrition of 0 to 3-year-old children and prevention of gender-based violence.

She believes that more and more advocacy of the efforts of womxn leaders and activists from varied fields of academia to frontline workers, play a crucial role in the fight against an unequal society and puts pressure on the policymakers to make more sensitive and inclusive policies.

By being a Partnership and Engagement Lead, Megha looks forward to connecting with womxn working in varied fields and draw from their rich experiences. She hopes that WN can collaborate more with womxn of colour and womxn from developing and least developed countries who are working passionately in their respective fields and disseminate their work.

Kindly feel free to reach out to her with as many ideas and feedback possible to make WN widely beneficial to the society.


Michelle Vogelzang

Digital Content Lead: Michelle Vogelzang

Pronouns: She/ Her

Michelle is in her second year of the Master’s in Public Administration at LSE where she focuses on digital health policy and digital transformation in the UK. She has expertise in public health and health economics through her MSc Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

Prior to starting at LSE, Michelle was a Policy Manager at J-PAL Africa, a firm focused on ensuring that social policy is informed by rigorous scientific evidence. She was also a regional lead on J-PAL’s Gender Working Group where she worked with an international team to refine the company’s gender lens training and hosted a workshop on practical tips for measuring women’s empowerment.

She’s really excited to be on the SPP Womxn’s Network Board and is looking forward to expanding its online reach and engagement in the age of COVID-19.

Michelle has a Bachelor’s degree in both Biological Sciences and Peace and Justice Studies from Wellesley College in Massachusetts, USA. Although she was born in South Africa, she considers herself a citizen of the world, having lived in several countries.

 

Contact us

If you have any queries, please contact us via email. <spp.womens.network@lse.ac.uk>