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Our blog provides an international platform to promote women’s political empowerment. Mina's List believes in fostering a sense of solidarity as we support women's increased political representation around the globe. Submit a blog post about you or your organization's projects.

Mina’s List One Year Anniversary


When Craig Newmark asked us about what kind of traction we are getting for Mina’s List during an interview published in the Huffington Post, it got us thinking about what we’ve accomplished in ML’s first year– and we realized we have accomplished A LOT. 

Since its inception in June 2014, we have built an impressive Board of Directors and Advisory Board comprised of parliamentarians, academics, and civil society leaders. We have attracted support from global business partners such as UBS Investment Bank and the Global Partnerships Forum. We created a dynamic website and active social media accounts (our Facebook page averages 300-500 new likes per month). Through online donations and high-level donors we raised enough to fund our first project in Afghanistan. And we have already had requests for Mina’s List services in several other countries across the globe. 

Most importantly, we have established strong partnerships with the Afghan Women’s Network and the Afghan Women’s Educational Center to implement our Afghan Pilot Project, which will prepare 15 aspiring women political leaders for the next parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. The initial Listening Session took place in early June and was incredibly successful. 

The following are some of the other major Mina’s List first year successes: 

     –Mina’s List hosted its official launch in Cambridge, MA
     –Filmmaker Abigail Disney hosted an ML launch party in her NYC home 
     –Mina’s List launched its full website on International Women’s Day 
     –Global Partnerships Forum posted about ML on its website and Facebook
     –ML’s founder participated in the WILPF Centennial at the Hague 
     –ML’s founder was invited to speak at MIT, Bentley, Clark & Tufts University
     –ML’s founder spoke about Mina’s List as MXCC commencement speaker
     –Mina’s List presented its Afghan Pilot Project on a WDN educational call
     –Mina’s List finished in the top 25 of 90 for the Women’s Startup Challenge
     –UBS included a news item about Mina’s List in their newsletter
     –Mina’s List was featured in Soka Gakkai International Magazine
     –Craig Newmark published an interview with ML in The Huffington Post 

It really has been a great first year. Mina’s List has experienced an extraordinary response from stakeholders and the general public. We couldn’t have done it without you… so thanks!! 

167 Years After the #BadAssWomen of Seneca Falls

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by Nissa Marie Koerner, Communications Intern, Mina’s List

In honor of the 167th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention today, Mina’s List is highlighting modern-day #BadAssWomen fighting for women’s equality in politics. But it is also important to take a look back at the #BadAssWomen who were present at Seneca Falls. I wonder what they would say about why we need women’s equal and substantive political representation in national government?

“The history of the past is but one long struggle upward to equality.” - Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!” - Sojourner Truth

“The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation, because in the degradation of women, the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.” - Lucretia Mott

Mina’s List hopes to continue honoring these women and their work that has led the way for women’s political empowerment!

Mina’s List Profiled in The Huffington Post

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Mina’s List was profiled in The Huffington Post by Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects.org. Click here to read the article!

Madeleine Rees on Her Battle to #EndVAW

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by Devin Cowick, Executive Assistant, Mina’s List 

Mina’s List Advisory Board Member Madeleine Rees has long been a powerful agent of change in the battle to end violence against women. As a UN official in Bosnia, she helped uncover the connection between UN peacekeepers and sex trafficking in the country. In collaboration with William Hague and Angelina Jolie-Pitt, Rees helped launch the high-profile End Sexual Violence in Conflict conference to raise awareness and garner support around the issue. 

Madeleine Rees, who is currently Secretary-General of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), explains that sexual violence is so prevalent in situations of conflict because it is such an effective tool of oppression. Rees states that “rape works because of patriarchy and the objectification of women.” But Madeleine has hope that these attitudes and structures can change. 

What better way to change attitudes about women and break up patriarchal structures than to get more empowered women in political leadership positions? That’s why Mina’s List is committed to achieving women’s equal and substantive representation in national governments worldwide.   

Read more about Madeleine Rees’ compelling work in The Independent

Catcalling in Latin America

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by Nissa Marie Koerner, Communications Intern, Mina’s List

Given the dramatic increases in women’s political participation over the past 25 years, Latin America has recently been hailed as a haven for female political leaders, yet many countries are facing an epidemic of street harassment. In a culture with heavy machismo influences, catcalls–or piropos–can range from kissing noises to more aggressive comments. Many men believe that this harassment is a compliment, as seen in a comment made by Argentinian Presidential candidate Mauricio Macri, saying “secretly, all women like it when you catcall them.” He later apologized for the statement, but it still begs the question: why is Latin America having such a hard time with women’s rights?

Recent research has shown exactly how common and unsettling catcalling is for Latin American women; 72% of Argentinian women reported being recently catcalled, and 60% felt uncomfortable or threatened by the advances. All of this is happening during the tenure of the first directly elected female President of Argentina, showing the necessity of substantive female representation.

In the past few years, women throughout Latin America have begun to push back against these practices, in an attempt to change the social norms that enable the culture of piropos. Several artists have created comics illustrating the violation and disgust women feel when catcalled. Graffiti artists have also taken up the mantel to further disseminate the message that catcalls aren’t respectful or compliments–they’re harassment.

Many Parliamentarians are also paving the way to stop catcalling. There is a wave of legislation being introduced across Latin America to prevent street harassment. Peru passed legislation that outlaws street harassment in March of 2014, which was revised earlier this year to make punishment more severe; Panama, Argentina, and Chile are debating several bills on the subject; Bolivia has had a law in place since 2012, which outlaws the harassment of politicians.

The biggest concern in many countries is the enforcement of targeted women’s rights laws. One key example is Brazil; in 2006, Brazil was praised for passing the progressice Maria de Penha law, which placed harsh punishments on domestic violence. However, the law has since been crippled by lack of adequate funding for hotlines and crisis centers. It is worth nothing that Brazil has the lowest percentage of female parliamentarians of all Latin American countries at 9.9%.

Enforcement problems are largely due to the lack of support garnered by women in parliament in Latin American countries. Despite having more female parliamentarians than the global average–26.8% compared to 22.4%–many women in politics struggle to advance a feminist agenda. It is not uncommon for female politicians in Bolivia to resign after one term due to the severe, daily harassment they face. Additionally, poor leadership by one female politician can undermine the credibility of all women leaders in the minds of many people in Latin America. As a result, women leaders in Latin American countries are often unwilling or unable to advocate for women’s interests, otherwise known as substantive representation.

Women in Latin America should feel just as comfortable walking down the street or leading debate in Parliament as any man does. The only way to ensure that this happens is by making sure there are enough women in government to represent women’s rights and fight for equality. Current efforts to eliminate catcalls from Latin American culture are a reassuring indication of change, but there is still much more to be done. For all these reasons, Mina’s List is dedicated to empowering and advancing women in politics who are committed to promoting women’s rights.

Wise words from a former #FemalePoliticalLeader

Listening Session for the Afghan Pilot Project

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by Sana Johnson, Communications Intern, Mina’s List

Earlier this month, Mina’s List invited eight Afghan women Parliamentarians and six Afghan women’s rights activists (collectively representing each of the major ethnic/religious groups and eleven different regions) to participate in the Listening Session for our Afghan Pilot Project. In collaboration with our civil society partner organizations, Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) and Afghan Women’s Educational Center (AWEC), Mina’s List hosted the Listening Session to gather information on the unique and specific barriers that prevent Afghan women’s equal and substantive political participation in Parliament. The Listening Session was the first step to empowering Afghan women who are committed to advancing a women’s rights agenda as political leaders.

During the two-day session, the participants engaged in thoughtful and honest discussion about women’s participation in Afghan politics. The MPs and civil society representatives displayed a deep commitment to women’s rights and to advancing a women’s rights agenda in Afghanistan. The empowered leaders inspired each other as well as the Mina’s List team with their stories of perseverance, sacrifice, and courage. One of the most exciting developments to come from the Listening Session was the establishment of the Mina’s List Mentorship Program. The MPs expressed overwhelming enthusiasm for the opportunity to serve as mentors to the aspiring women political leaders– and all eight Members of Parliament in attendance agreed to take part in the program! We feel so thankful for the MPs and our partner organizations AWN and AWEC for their contributions to the Listening Session, and for working to make the session a success.

Feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive and reaffirmed the importance of the Mina’s List’s collaborative model. At the end of the first day’s program, Afghan women’s rights activist Mary Akrami, who was one of the first recipients of the U.S. State Department’s International Women of Courage Award, said that the Listening Session was the first time she had the opportunity to hear what women parliamentarians need from civil society to fully advance women’s rights through legislative action. Akrami added that after connecting with the women MPs though this program, she now feels they could build a coalition together and work in unity to advance women’s rights. Similarly, the Hon. Shinkai Karokhail noted that the Listening Session was the first time in her tenure that women MPs and civil society activists fully dialogued on how to support each other and unite to achieve their shared goal of advancing women’s equal and substantive political participation in Afghanistan. 

Outcomes from the Listening Session’s strategy session include the following notes:


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Mina’s List is now working hard to implement the next two phases of the Afghan Pilot Project, the Empowerment Workshops and Mentorship Program. Our next step is to take all the information gathered from our in-country partners during the Listening Session and develop a country-specific and culturally relevant curriculum to prepare aspiring women political leaders to run in Afghanistan’s next parliamentary elections!

As we reflect on our first year, we could not be more proud of the progress we have made or more excited for what is to come. Thank you all for your continued support. We hope you are as excited as we are for the future of Mina’s List.

What Women Really Need From Men


This is why Mina’s List works hard to help prepare aspiring women candidates to run for national government – the policies which address issues affecting women need to come from women. Increasing the political representation of women in national governments around the globe is crucial to achieving women’s equal rights.

Read more of Angelina Jolie Pitt’s speech at the biannual African Union Summit here.

Women Startup Competition

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by Tanya Henderson, Founder & Executive Director, Mina’s List

I am so excited to let you know that Mina’s List has made it through the first round of a Women Startup Competition sponsored by Crowdrise. We have already started building momentum with this campaign, and if we stay in the top 25 for overall funds raised, we’ll be invited to compete for the grand prize of $50,000. This would be huge for Mina’s List and our work. It would mean we could expand programming beyond our Afghanistan Pilot Project to other regions of the world. We have already had requests for Mina’s List services in several countries across the globe.  

Mina’s List needs your help. Every dollar you donate or help us raise will get us closer to our goal. It’s quick and easy and there are two ways to help.

If you can donate, it takes 1 minute. Go to the Mina’s List Crowdrise page and give what you can. Thank you in advance!

If you want to ask your friends and family to donate, it takes 3 minutes to set up a team member page, and then all you need to do is send an email similar to this one (personalized of course) to all your friends and family who might give to a cause that you care about. Just visit the Mina’s List Crowdrise page and then click “Fundraise for This Startup.” In minutes, you can share your enthusiasm and the link to the Mina’s List Crowd Rise page with everyone you know. Imagine the impact we can all have together if you get your colleagues, friends, and family to contribute to Mina’s List. Thank you for taking this extra step to help spread the word.

Every contribution makes a big difference, no matter how small.

Please read our ‘Story’ on the Mina’s List Crowdrise home page– it’s short and could be helpful if you want to explain our work to others.

We are super excited about this competition and we know you are a fan of our work. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us to bring our expertise, training model, and resources to the women who will change the world.  

Nepal: Why We Need Women Leaders in Times of Crisis

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by Devin Cowick, Executive Assistant, Mina’s List  

The Mina’s List team would like to send our condolences to the people of Nepal. The number of deaths has now risen above 6,000 and it continues to climb. People’s lives, homes, and sacred structures have been destroyed. In the wake of this unimaginable tragedy, our thoughts are with you. 

Natural disasters are among the biggest threats to humanity, and there is little we can do to prevent them. However, there is plenty more we can do to better respond to them. 

It must be acknowledged that women are uniquely, and disproportionately affected by humanitarian and natural disasters. Women are largely responsible for care giving, food production, and community networks. When such structures are destroyed, it falls to the women to rebuild them. Furthermore, the disorder and displacement caused by natural disasters can put women in an extremely vulnerable position. After Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2013, women and girls faced an increased risk of violence, sexual exploitation, and trafficking. 

Women have unique needs in times of crisis, and deserve to have female representatives who understand and advocate for those needs. It is crucial that countries have women in policy and decision-making roles (like positions in National Government) so that we may better prepare for and respond to disasters such as the one occurring in Nepal. 

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Mina's List
PO Box 390185
Cambridge, MA 02139
Call + 1 (617) 945-2194