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RTI International launches global gender center to address gender inequities

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – RTI International has formed the RTI Global Gender Center to address gender inequities and disparities worldwide.

"Millions of women around the world are still facing inequality, injustice, and victimization while holding down the burden of everyday life," said Wendee Wechsberg, Ph.D., director of the RTI Global Gender Center. "There is a movement underway to focus on gender at multiple levels, including education, health, policy, and research. But this movement is in its nascence and is still fragmented and territorial among institutions. We formed this center to offer a united global front to address gender inequities."

The goal of the center is to foster collaboration by building a network of multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary scientists, program evaluators, and technical assistance staff whose work has focused on gender-based issues and interventions. 

The RTI Global Gender Center brings together more than 100 RTI experts from across numerous disciplines including health policy; substance abuse; HIV, sexual and reproductive health; education and economic development; and gender-based violence.

The center also includes a global network of prestigious external affiliates who are internationally known gender scientists and leaders of institutes for women. Affiliates include Sally Stevens, director of the Southwest Institute for Research on Women at the University of Arizona; Mary Ellsberg, director of the Global Institute on Women at George Washington University; Nabila El Bassel, director of the Social Intervention Group at Columbia University School of Social Work; Steffanie Strathdee, associate dean of Global Health Sciences at University of California, San Diego; Hortensia Amaro, associate vice provost for Community Research Initiatives at the University of Southern California, School of Social Work; Vickie Mays, director for the Brite Center for Science, Research and Policy at University of California Los Angeles; Jennifer Johnson, associate professor, Brown University; and Bronwyn Myers, senior scientist at the South Africa’s Medical Research Council and University of Cape Town.

Through its global network, the center aims to cross-pollinate expertise and build collaborations that will foster new research with the potential to significantly influence practice and policy to improve gender inequities globally.

To date, RTI experts have successfully led more than 40 projects with gender-specific activities in North America, Africa, Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe.

“With the formation of the RTI Global Gender Center and working with experts from around the world through this center, we can extend the reach and impact of those projects,” Wechsberg said. “As professionals and world citizens, we have the responsibility to apply our energy and expertise to reach vulnerable populations of women and girls and to make a real difference in their lives. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘together we are stronger.’ We must build our global gender goals collaboratively to encompass and address multiple domains.”

“Redressing entrenched gender inequalities, including widely prevalent violence against women, is going to require an array of programmatic and policy strategies,” said Suneeta Krishnan, associate director of the center who lives in Bangalore, India. “By marshalling our internal resources and reaching out to leaders across the world, we hope that the RTI Global Gender Center will promote a comprehensive and nuanced response to this global challenge.”