Shirley Graham

Headshot of Shirley Graham

Shirley Graham

Director of the Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs; Associate Professor of Practice in International Affairs

Full-time Faculty

Department: Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs, Global Gender Policy Graduate Certificate


Office Phone: 202-994-8233
1957 E St. NW, Office #501K Washington, D.C. 20052

Dr. Shirley Graham is the Director of the Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs (GEIA) and Associate Professor of Practice of International Affairs at GW, Elliott School of International Affairs. She teaches two graduate courses: Global Gender Policy and Gender, War & Peace; and an undergraduate course: Women in Global Politics. Shirley is a member of the Council on Diversity & Inclusion focusing her engagement on inclusive teaching and DEI in the curriculum. She is a faculty mentor to the Leadership & Ethics in Practice Initiative (LEAP) Student Advisory Council. She is also a faculty mentor to the Elliott School’s International Affairs Honor Society Sigma Iota Rho.

Shirley is a Research Fellow affiliated with the Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction at Dublin City University. Her PhD examined gender discourses within the Irish Defence Forces that create and reinforce power hierarchies between women and men, supporting or inhibiting women’s access to peacekeeping missions.

Shirley’s current research interests include: the role of U.S. military gender advisors and gender and peacekeeping. As a practitioner, she is an Executive Committee member of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace & Security (WPS) a coalition of experts serving to inform and educate U.S. Congress, the Administration and civil society on WPS thematic areas and issues. Shirley is leading the creation of the Student Consortium on WPS working with 18 universities in the DC university consortium to promote student research and leadership on the women, peace and security agenda. Their focus is on education and awareness-raising across disciplines and developing innovative approaches to expanding and amplifying the agenda.

Shirley’s previous practitioner work includes: evaluating progress and strategic planning for the Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence (14 humanitarian and development INGOs). Coordinating the Hanna’s House All-Ireland feminist peace project across Ireland/Northern Ireland. Designing and delivering training on women’s political leadership for Women for Election and IMPACT Trade Union. Facilitating dialogue and conducting research for the Women’s Leadership Program at the Glencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation. Shirley conducted the Ireland-wide consultation with grassroots women’s organizations, refugee women and asylum seekers for Ireland’s first National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security on behalf of the  National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI). She also served on the Department of Foreign Affairs Monitoring Group of the Irish NAP on WPS as the NWCI representative. As an activist, Shirley volunteered for Amnesty Ireland creating a series of monologues on the disappearance of Mexican Women in Cuidad Juarez as well as street performances raising awareness of the issue of violence against women in Ireland. 

Government of Ireland Doctoral Scholarship

Gender and International Peacekeeping; Women's Empowerment; Women, Peace & Security

Dr. Graham’s current research interests include women, peace and security, women’s empowerment, and the prevention of gender-based violence.

Global Gender Policy

Gender, War & Peace

Women & Global Politics, Gender, Conflict & Security

Recent Publications

Women as War Criminals: Gender, Agency, and Justice by Izabela Steflja and Jessica Trisko Darden. Book review for Political Science Quarterly (Winter 2021).

How a Feminist Foreign Policy would Change the World (9 March 2021) co-authored opinion piece in The Conversation.

How to Advance a Feminist U.S. Foreign Policy (8 March 2021) co-authored opinion piece for the U.S. Institute of Peace.

As a Super Power the World looks to the U.S. for Leadership on Gender Equity and Foreign Policy Matters (7 March 2021) blog for Women Across Frontiers.

Book Review of THE FIRST POLITICAL ORDER: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide, Valerie M. Hudson, Donna Lee Bowen, & Perpetua Lynne Nielsen, Ethics in International Affairs, January 2021.  

Ireland’s Path to Legalizing Abortion: at a time when the United States might render it illegal (2018) in ‘American Prospect’, July 2018.

A Gender Paradox: Discourses on Women in UN Peacekeeping, Irish Studies in International Affairs, Vol. 27 (2016), pp.165-187.

Women Peacekeepers: Gender Discourses on “Equal but Different” Amongst Irish Peacekeepers, in ‘Gender & Peacebuilding: All Hands Required’, 2015, Eds. Flaherty, M.P., T. Matyok, J. Senehi, S. Byrne, H. Tuso, Lexington Books, New York.

Policy & Conference Papers

Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence Strategic Plan 2017–2020: Leaving no one behind, tackling gender based violence where the needs are greatest.

Roundtable Report, Department of Foreign Affairs Conference on Ireland’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security, Dublin, October 2014.

Equal but Different: Gender Discourses in the Social Relations of Irish Peacekeepers. PSAI Annual Conference, Galway, October 2014.

Submission to DFAT on Ireland’s Second National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325, Women, Peace & Security, August 2014.

National Women’s Council of Ireland Report on Pre-deployment questionnaires to Irish Troops on gender and UNSCR 1325, February 2014.

Women Peacekeepers & Gender Discourses in the Irish Defence Forces. Department of Foreign Affairs Conference on UNSCR 1325 & the Participation and Representation of Women: the successes, gaps and challenges, November 2013.

Feminist Visions of Peace, Justice & Transformation. Hanna’s House Ezine Series editor, 2012.

Women Count for Peace, Consultation Report for Ireland’s National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325, January 2011.

Uniquely Useful: Women and Stereotypes in Peacekeeping Missions. Limerick University, Women’s Memory Work: Gendered Dilemmas of Social Transformation, August 2010.

Equal but Different: Women in the Irish Defence Forces. International Studies Association Conference, San Francisco, March 2009.

Gender and International Peacekeeping: Narratives, voices and meaning. International Studies Association Conference, Chicago, March 2008.

Gender and International Peacekeeping in the Irish Defence Forces. Trinity College Dublin Post-Graduate Seminar, March 2007.

Gender and International Peacekeeping: A Journey towards a Methodology. University College Dublin Post-Graduate Seminar, January 2007.

Women Peacekeepers: Pioneers of Change or Agents of the Patriarchy? Royal Irish Academy Post-Graduate Seminar, November 2006.

Women Soldiers: Revolutionaries or Cogs in the Military Machine? University College Dublin Seminar ‘From Rhetoric to Reality’, October 2006.

Ph.D., National University of Ireland, Maynooth

MA in International Relations, Dublin City University, Ireland