Building Inclusive Democracies: Empowering Women in Economic Life

11.14.2018, 2:00PM to 3:30PM

A Briefing Series Inspired by Sustainable Development Goal #5:
“Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls.” 

To watch the livestream of this event, click here! 
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) welcome you to this briefing series exploring each element of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, “Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls Everywhere.” Target 5.A of SDG 5 is focused on undertaking reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources.

When women are empowered economically and have increased financial independence, they are more likely to have the necessary resources (time, money and networks) to participate equally and meaningfully in political and public life. Join us as we hear from practitioners and researchers on how economic empowerment can engage and connect women worldwide; increase political participation; ensure elections and democracies are inclusive; and why these issues should be considered by U.S. policymakers.

This event is hosted by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and moderated by Liz Sidell, IFES’ Senior Congressional Liaison.

Panelists Include:

  • Dr. Müge Kökten Finkel, Assistant Professor of International Development, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), and Co-Director, GIRL@Pitt, University of Pittsburgh
  • Barbara Langley, Director, Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)
  • Robin R. Runge, Senior Gender Specialist, Equality and Inclusion Department, Solidarity Center
  • Rachel Vogelstein, Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

There will be opportunity for Q&A. Register for this event today!

Participant Bios:

  • The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) is serving her twelfth term as a member of the United States House of Representatives. During Congresswoman Jackson Lee’s tenure in Congress she has served on various Committees including the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, and Judiciary. Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is now the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations – the first woman to ever hold that position on the Committee. Congresswoman Jackson Lee serves on numerous caucuses, and is co-Chair of the Children’s Caucus, Nigeria Caucus, and Afghan Caucus. Congresswoman Jackson Lee has served in leadership positions in the Congressional Black Caucus and other affiliated organizations, and is currently the Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
  • Dr. Müge Kökten Finkel, is the Assistant Professor of International Development, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), and Co-Director, GIRL@Pitt, University of Pittsburgh. Prior to her academic appointment in GSPIA, Dr. Müge Kökten Finkel worked as a Social Development Specialist at the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa region, and consulted for the International Food Policy Research Institute. She worked on youth and gender-focused projects in Yemen, Egypt, and Morocco. Dr. Finkel is the faculty co-lead of the Ford Institute for Human Security research group on Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA), a collaborative research effort with UNDP. Her current research focuses on politics of public sector employment and opportunities for women. She was the University of Pittsburgh Global Studies Faculty Fellow for 2017-2018, where she worked to leverage the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a tool for interdisciplinary dialogue across the university. She is the co-founder and co-director of GIRL@Pitt (Gender Inequality Research Lab), a new interdisciplinary research forum for scholars and practitioners to collaborate on policy-relevant research on gender inequality.
  • Barbara Langley serves as the Director for CIPE’s Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment, democratizing opportunity for women by fostering ecosystems for entrepreneurship. In this capacity, she leads CIPE’s strategy to amplify the voice of the private sector through women’s equal participation in free markets and democratic institutions. Throughout her career, Langley has conducted campaign management, communications, coalition building, issues advocacy, good governance and accountability, leadership and strategic planning programs for democratic political and civic activists, business leaders, local elected officials and parliamentary and campaign staff. She has worked extensively with marginalized sectors of society including women, youth, and persons with disabilities. Prior to her position at CIPE, Langley served for nearly 20 years at the International Republican Institute (IRI), holding senior management positions as Executive Director for IRI’s Arab Women’s Leadership Program, Deputy Director for the Institute’s Middle East and North Africa Division, and Deputy Director for IRI’s Women’s Democracy Network.
  • Robin R. Runge is the Senior Gender at the Solidarity Center and a professorial lecturer in law at The George Washington University Law School where she has taught Public Interest Lawyering and Domestic Violence Law since 2004, including in the clinical education program. Prior to joining the staff of the Solidarity Center, Ms. Runge was the Director of Enforcement Policy and Procedures in the Wage and Hour Division and a Senior Policy Advisor in the Civil Rights Center at the U.S. Department of Labor. Since 2003, she has consulted with nonprofit organizations domestically and internationally to prevent and address gender-based violence including the development of programs and policies to address domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual violence in the workplace and on campus. Ms. Runge is one of the pioneers in the field of gender-based violence and the workplace. She is an expert on the development of policies and laws domestically and internationally to address the impact of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking on women and the workplace.
  • Rachel Vogelstein currently serves as the Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations, writing frequently in the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and other leading publications on some of the most important issues facing women globally, from economic empowerment to child marriage. For over a decade, Vogelstein served as a top counselor to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton on domestic and global women’s issues. During the Obama Administration, Vogelstein was a member of the White House Council on Women and Girls and was a top official in the Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State, where she worked closely with former Secretary Clinton to make global women’s issues a pillar of U.S. foreign policy. She also advised Secretary Clinton on her historic 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns, helping her become the first woman ever to win a U.S. presidential nomination and developing a groundbreaking agenda on women’s issues.
  • Anthony “Tony” Banbury is currently the President and CEO of IFES. Prior to this, Branbury worked for the United Nations (UN) for nearly 30 years, serving in a variety of roles both at UN headquarters in New York and in the field. From 2009 through 2016, Banbury was Assistant Secretary-General for the UN’s Department of Field Support. In this capacity, he directed operational support for 36 UN peacekeeping and political missions around the world with a combined budget of more than $9 billion and with more than 170,000 deployed personnel. He was also tasked with special UN assignments between 2001 and 2015. Banbury was also Director for Asia at the UN World Food Programme, where he managed regional operations for the world’s largest humanitarian organization from 2003 through 2009. He started his career with the UN in 1988, holding various humanitarian, political affairs and human rights positions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cambodia and Thailand. Prior to his most senior roles with the UN, Banbury worked in the United States government as Acting Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations at the National Security Council (2000-2003) and Senior Policy Advisor for the Balkans Task Force at the Department of Defense (1998-2000).
  • Liz Sidell is the Senior Congressional Liaison at IFES, a communications specialist working in the areas of Congressional affairs; business
    development; fundraising; and writing and editing. She collaborates across the organization to promote the importance and impact of IFES’ mission on Capitol Hill through meetings, events and Congressional testimony. Sidell also coordinates such development initiatives as email campaigns; fundraising events; and proposals to new and traditional donors. Prior to IFES, Sidell worked at ANH-USA, a 501(c)4 nonprofit that lobbies on behalf of natural health practitioners and consumers, and the Former Members of Congress, where she oversaw the Congress to Campus program and supported current Member briefings and events. Sidell graduated with a B.A. in literature from American University.


This event is hosted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). Since 1987, IFES, a 501(c)3 nonpartisan nonprofit, has worked in over 145 countries to provide electoral technical assistance and promote the political participation of underrepresented communities all over the world—including women, persons with disabilities, LGBT communities and religious and ethnic minorities—through engagement with broader society. IFES initiatives include projects in voter registration, public awareness campaigns, and capacity building for local organizations.




Rayburn House Office Building
45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515