Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011 Host Amy Jester Discusses War and Men with Author and Human Rights Activist Kathleen Barry


Professor Emerita, Penn State University

Kathleen Barry holds two doctorates – in sociology and in education – from the University of California, Berkeley. A university professor for twenty years, she was on the faculty of Brandeis University and is Professor Emerita of Penn State University. A Distinguished Visiting Professor at several universities, she was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to Ireland and an invited scholar at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences) in Paris. The author of five books and an internationally recognized feminist-human rights activist, she lectures widely in the U.S. and abroad.

Sociologist Kathleen Barry first broke new ground with her landmark book FEMALE SEXUAL SLAVERY (1979) which has been translated into six languages. This book launched a new global movement against trafficking in human beings. She reframed prostitution as a violation of human rights which led to the formation of the United Nations Non-Governmental Organization, The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women which she co-founded. Her book and activism earned her the Wonder Woman Award and she is featured in the famous Canadian film on pornography, Not a Love Story.

Her book, PROSTITUTION OF SEXUALITY: Global Exploitation of Women (New York University Press), presents the new international law against sexual exploitation she developed in collaboration with UNESCO. The law that makes sexual exploitation a violation of human rights has been adopted as state law on prostitution in Sweden and Iceland among other countries. For this work, she was named by Marie-Claire as one of the hundred women who most changed the world for women and she received an International Achievement Award from Penn State University.

She brought her feminist activism together with her empathetic writing as a biographer and the author of SUSAN B. ANTHONY: A Biography of a Singular Feminist. She is featured in the movie for television “One Woman, One Vote” and in Ken Burns’s PBS special “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.”

Kathleen Barry’s international work led her to Vietnam in 1991 where she began a collaboration with Vietnamese women in the Women’s Research Program. Her edited volume, VIETNAMESE WOMEN IN TRANSITION captures an extraordinary moment of change, for better and for worse, in the condition of women as Vietnam. This book issued in Vietnamese through the Institute of Social Science in Ho Chi Minh City is recognized in Vietnam as the first published social science collaboration between the Americans and Vietnamese since the US war there.

Kathleen Barry’s new book is UNMAKING WAR, REMAKING MEN: How Empathy Can Reshape our Politics, Our Soldiers and Ourselves. Introducing new concepts such as core masculinity and expendable lives, this book exposes how masculinity and the military prepare men for killing and introduces new approaches to world peace and a new masculinity that is already in the making.

She is completing a new book on single women and spontaneity, THE SPONTANEOUS SELF, Women, Identity and Spirit. Her study of three generations of women in the Troubles in Northern Ireland is the subject of her next book.


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