The Women's and Gender Studies Department is pleased to announce the 2011 winners of the inaugural WAGS Prize
Department of Political Science Honors Thesis
Women, Peace, and Security
Abstract: Approximately ten years ago, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325; an international document that responded to what the drafters believed was the changing nature of modern warfare. As the 20th century closed, it became undeniable that conflict was increasingly reaping gender-specific consequences upon the world’s women. While troublesome in itself, the Resolution called to attention something deeply problematic about the growing ways in which women have been devastated by state-orchestrated wars: women’s absence from the decision-making bodies prompting these conflicts. The Resolution suggested that altering the gender dynamic of the state has the potential to mitigate, or even eradicate, the effects of contemporary conflict. This paper explores the interrelated notions upon which Resolution 1325 was founded through an examination of the conflicts and post-conflict states of Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina. First establishing that these conflicts fit 1325’s assessment of modern war, this paper then analyzes the gender composition of the states that emerged after the conflict and the effects these states had upon the lives of children, the rights provided to women, and the maintenance of peace. Ultimately, in comparing Rwanda, a state in which women rose to positions of power in parliament, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, a state in which women were virtually excluded from formal political participation, this paper’s findings support the Resolution’s theoretical underpinnings.
Department of Sociology Honors Thesis
Women of the Baltimore Upper Class
Abstract: Women of the Baltimore Upper Class is a sociological examination of the lives of contemporary upper-class women living in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. This study was inspired by Susan Ostrander’s 1984 book Women of the Upper Class, and it seeks to both update and expand Ostrander’s study by investigating how the lives of upper-class women have changed, and how they have remained the same, in the thirty years since the original study. Through thirteen in-depth interviews with upper-class women aged 50 to 73, the author examines how these women talk about their lives as wives, mothers, paid workers, volunteers, and club members. The author discusses how the interacting influences of gender, class status, and generation have impacted their lives, and particularly focuses on how the contemporary “egalitarian ethos” affects these women’s choices and how they talk about their choices. Contemporary upper-class women lead lives that are what the author calls “neo-traditional”—lives that have adjusted to fit with the more egalitarian time period, yet are rooted in both gender and class traditions.