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Kyrgzstan Businesswomen Visit Law School To Learn About Law and Social Change

Women business leaders from Kyrgzstan learned about the formation of the law school’s joint degree program in law and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies when they visited the campus on July 29, 2010. (Kyrgzstan, located in central Asia, is one of six independent Turkic states.)  Professor Verna Williams spoke at this event.

This program, sponsored by the Open World Leadership Program, was an opportunity to share the history of the law and women’s studies program, the history of civil rights in America, as well as how graduates have utilized their knowledge to effect social change. Professor Williams also spoke about how the country’s history has impacted her life as an attorney.

“In my role I get to help create a new cadre of lawyers,” Williams said. “Working at the university and for the center (the new Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice), I get to think about the law, how it works, and how it should work.”

The group also discussed the status of women in Kyrgzstan, particularly in light of the fact that the country has a woman president. Said one visitor through a translator, “There are no regulations to protect women’s rights in real life—less money and advancement opportunity.” There was considerable hope that the situation would get better. 

The Open World Leadership Program, a nonpartisan project of the U.S. Congress, is designed to cultivate mutual understanding between the U.S. and Eurasia. The Cincinnati delegation will focus on accountable governance with a concentration on legal rights of women/women’s rights, small/medium businesses, and women who work or are part of the at-risk demographic. In addition to visiting the law school, they women attended programs with the WE Lead of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Thompson Hine LLP Women’s Initiative, the SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership, and Dress for Success.  The delegation, which included business leaders from a wide range of industries and professions, was in Cincinnati from July 23-31, 2010. They were hosted by the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council.