Every year, we accept two applications from a large number of applicants for the Women's Empowerment Programme (WEF). Our WEF fellows have much in common; their gender-critical research, their public engagement in women's empowerment, and passionate engagement in their country’s future. However, each WEF fellow is an exceptional and unique scholar, with her own critical objectives, research questions and search for the most meaningful application of her work.
The academic provisions for their course of study, therefore, are designed to provide gender-sensitive, critical learning on thematic issues that connect with, and expand upon, each fellow's established expertise. For example, our course in Gender Violence and Institutional Transformations offers multi-regional case studies that the fellows are invited to analyse and interpret, using insights to reference comparisons with their home region.
Our tutors, guest speakers, and mentors come from a background of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary feminist scholarship and include such noteworthy names in gender and development as: Dr Peace Medie, Dr Fenella Porter, and Dr Khin Mar Mar Kyi. Tutors are encouraged to develop innovative teaching techniques, which can include field visits, experimental writing workshops, and use of the classroom as a site of conversations between colleagues, intent on dialogue and mutual learning, rather than as a hierarchical teacher-student arrangement. For example, in the second half of the WEF programme, we host fellow-directed seminars designed and run by the fellows themselves.
In addition to these taught courses, the WEF fellows take ownership of their own research objectives, conducting independent study on topics ranging from forced migration to women's autobiographies to transnational labour. Each fellow chooses a mentor to provide support for her independent research which will be disseminated in open-access journals, in video-recorded events, and in public events at the University of Oxford and beyond.