Guide to the Sisterhood is Global Institute Records, 1963-2010 and undated, bulk 1980-2002
In response to Robin Morgan's book, Sisterhood is Global, the Sisterhood is Global Institute was founded in 1984 with Karen Berry as its first director. Its purpose was to mobilize international support on women’s rights issues and educate various communities around the world on women's rights and human rights issues. The records of the Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI) span the years from 1965 to 2005, with the bulk of the material ranging from 1980 to 2002. Materials such as correspondence, administrative files, publications drafts, manuals, newsletters, flyers, photographs, videos, and sound recordings provide a record of the work and the organizational structure of SIGI from its inception to its present activities at the beginning of the 21st century. The documents in the collection illustrate SIGI's efforts to discuss, debate, and act on a variety of women's issues around the world, including voting rights and political representation; reproductive rights; violence against women; education for women; and the socio-economic status of women.
- Collection Number
- Sisterhood is Global Institute records
- 1963-2010 and undated, bulk 1980-2002
- Sisterhood is Global Institute
- 121.5 Linear Feet, 72,532 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
- Correspondence Series, 1984-2003
- Administrative Files Series, 1975-2004 and undated
- Project Files Series, 1990-2003 and undated
- Publications Series, 1981-2003 and undated, bulk 1993-2001
- Conferences and Programs Series, 1980-2005
- Photographic Materials Series, 1989-2002 and undated
- Subject Files Series, 1980-2001 and undated
- Organizations Series, 1978-2002 and undated, bulk 1990s-2001
- Geographical Files Series, 1963-2001 and undated
- Audiovisual Materials Series, 1987-2005 and undated
- Memorabilia Series, 1996-1997 and undated
- Electronic Formats Series, 1996-2001 and undated
- Oversize Materials
- Accession (2009-0070), 1985-2003
- Accession (2015-0148), 1982-2010
The records of the Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI) span the years from 1965 to 2005, with the bulk of the material documenting the Institute's activities and administration from 1980 to 2002. Through correspondence, administrative files, subject files, drafts of publications, newsletter, manuals, reports, photographs, videos, and sound recordings, the collection provides an in-depth record of the work and the organizational structure of SIGI from its inception in 1984 to its present activities at the beginning of the 21st century, and documents its efforts to discuss, debate, and act on a variety of women's issues around the world, including voting rights and political representation; reproductive rights; violence against women; education for women; and the socio-economic status of women. Subject files created by SIGI researchers provide additional materials on prostitution, rape, the status of women in developing countries and rural areas, the legal status of women, and the concept of human rights. In the 1990s particular emphasis was paid to women's issues in Muslim societies. Much of the Institute's role is an educational one, as evidenced by the many folders of manuals, newsletters, news alerts, workshops, and conferences on women's issues, including materials on two U.N. World Conferences on Women. The collection offers many documents relating to SIGI publications, including the book Sisterhood is Global; and editions in various languages of In Our Own Words, Safe and Secure, and Claiming Our Rights. In addition to documenting SIGI's activism on behalf of women, the collection also provides a record of the Institute's organizational structure and functioning; although there is very little from the earliest years, there are many records for the 1990s, particularly for the years 1999-2002, during Greta Hofmann Nemiroff's tenure as President. Other individuals whose active roles in the development of Sisterhood is Global Institute are documented through correspondence and writings include Marilyn Waring, Robin Morgan, and Tatiana Mamonova. Many smaller files of correspondence and writings from individual members offer a profile of SIGI's international constituency drawn from over 70 countries.
One of the smallest folder groups, the Correspondence Series offers a sampling of routine requests and expressions of interest from individuals writing to the Sisterhood is Global Institute. Several folders house petitions and protest letters initiated by SIGI. There is also a group of exchanges related to the New Zealand "girlcott" organized in part by Marilyn Waring, president of SIGI at the time.
The largest series in the collection, the Administrative Files Series is divided into five subseries: Membership Files, Greta Hofmann Nemiroff, Financial Papers, Funding Files, and Other Records. The series offers an extensive profile of SIGI’s international constituency which in 2002 included members from over 70 countries worldwide. More extensive records are available for some eminent international figures such as Robin Morgan and Tatyana Mamonova, as well as for Marilyn Waring who acted as Executive Director of SIGI in New Zealand. The files of Greta Hofmann Nemiroff, the Financial Files, and the Other Records Subseries provide a record of the administrative management of SIGI’s resources, with the most detailed records dating from the period between 1996 and 2002. The funding history of SIGI, together with the documentation of grants and donors, is located in the Funding Files subseries, which also contains correspondence and financial reports on SIGI’s core projects like the Human Rights Education Program (HRE) and the Project on Eliminating the Violence Against Women (VAW).
The Project Files Series documents the stages and implementation of the HRE Program and the development of new projects, among which VAW, the Learning Partnership Projects, and the Building Local Leaders Initiative. The HRE Program, a reflection of the continuous work of SIGI on the issue of women’s human rights, is a series of 12 workshops whose aim is to promote the concept of women’s rights in Islamic cultures and provide women strategies and networking skills for the assertion of these rights. The series contains reports and correspondence with facilitators from nine countries where these workshops have been conducted, as well as materials on other countries considered for the extension of the project. Included in the series is also a record of SIGI Urgent Action Alerts, a system of immediate alerts and global calls for actions in response to discriminatory practices and cases of abuse in different regions of the world.
The Publications Series contains drafts, editions, and translations of workshop manuals, part of SIGI programs, as well as records related to anthologies edited by SIGI members, such as the volumes Muslim Women and the Politics of Participation and Strategizing for Safety. A large portion of the series is comprised of various translations of Claiming Our Rights, a manual containing definitions and learning exercises designed to illustrate the concept of women’s rights in different social contexts and to stimulate discussions on the status of women in Muslim societies. Other publications presented in the series include Safe and Secure, a manual designed for SIGI workshops on violence against women, and In Our Own Words, a companion guide with strategies for workshop facilitators. The series also contains all the issues of SIGI News, a biannual newsletter covering SIGI’s activities and providing a venue for announcements of different events.
The Conferences and Programs Series is divided into SIGI and Other Events subseries and contains records of the preparation and logistics for conferences organized by SIGI, as well as materials from major international meetings on subjects related to women’s rights. SIGI’s two conferences “Religion, Culture, and Women’s Rights in the Muslim World” (1994) and “Beijing and Beyond” (1996) were specifically organized in connection to the 4th World Conference on Women which took place in Beijing, which is also covered in the series. Other SIGI conferences extensively represented in the series include “Rights of Passage” (1997) and the Expert Group Meeting on Eliminating Violence against Girls and Women (1998) which evolved from the preparation for a conference with the same title, initially scheduled to take place in Jordan. Materials on the two World Conferences on Women, in Nairobi and Beijing, as well as other global events such as the UN conference on human rights in 1993 and the World March of Women in 2000, is found in the Other Events Subseries.
The Photographic Materials Series depicts moments from conferences attended or organized by SIGI, visits, and some of the workshops conducted by SIGI in different countries.
The Subject Files Series contains materials collected by SIGI on a wide range of subjects related to women, from reproductive rights and motherhood to the consequences of armed conflicts. A large section of papers and studies in the series, mostly dating from the late 1980s and early 1990s, is devoted to the socio-economic status of women and their situation in developing countries and rural areas. Another large group of materials, whose time range extends beyond the 1990s, reflects on SIGI’s development of new projects, and the materials focus increasingly on the legal status of women, the concept of women’s human rights, and the subject of violence against women which includes extensive collection of reports and article on domestic violence, prostitution, rape, and war crimes.
The Organizations Series contains information gathered by SIGI staff about numerous international and regional organizations and networks working in the sphere of women’s and human rights, development, and law. Highlighted organizations include the Association of Women in Development, the Canadian Council for Refugees, Equality Now, Feminist Majority, Isis International, the International Women's Health Coalition, the National Council for Research on Women, the Women's Environment and Development Organization, and the United Nations. There is some correspondence with former First Lady Hilary Clinton.
Like the Subject Files Series, the Geographic Files Series also functions as a vertical file created by SIGI staff for internal use, containing informative articles, clippings, reports, many newsletters, and other materials on women's issues in over 100 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Countries with the most materials are Pakistan, Phillippines, and Malaysia.
The Audiovisual Materials Series contains over 20 videocassettes and audio recordings of SIGI events or programs originating in other countries. Topics and events include a forum on "feminist family values," conferences on women's issues, women's rights in Muslim societies, domestic violence, politics and power in the Phillippines and in other countries, and educational programming on money and job training. Use copies are available for most of these items; otherwise Technical Services staff will need to arrange to have use copies made. Please contact reference staff before coming to use this series.
Finally, the boxes in the Memorabilia Series house several large and small protest banners.
The collection includes some financial records, webpage content, and translations of published material in electronic form, found listed in the Electronic Formats Series under the appropriate series. The documents are maintained on the electronic records server. Consult a reference archivist for access to them.
Addition (2009-0070) (5850 items; 7.8 lin. ft.; dated 1985-2003) contains administrative records and correspondence, financial reports and documents, legal documents, membership information, annual reports, and publicity files. Also included are 20 cassette tapes recording the Sisterhood is Global Strategy Meeting (1984), founding the Institute, and 11 floppy discs that have been transferred to Duke's Electronic Records server. This addition has not been processed; materials have been reboxed but not incorporated into the remainder of the collection. Please see a reference archivist if you have questions.
Addition (2015-01480) (1500 items; 3 lin. ft.; dated 1982-2010) contains administrative records and correspondence.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
In addition, original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Some use copies are available in the collection. Otherwise, Technical Services staff need to produce use copies before contents can be accessed.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Sisterhood is Global Institute Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Consists primarily of routine correspondence with individuals and organizations who have expressed interest in Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI) and its publications. The general correspondence and the “signed-on letters” folders contain numerous petitions and protest letters. The highlight of the series is the extended material on the New Zealand “Girlcott Initiative” launched by Marilyn Waring in 1985. Organized chronologically by year, then alphabetically by folder name.
The Administrative Files Series is divided into five subseries: Membership Files Subseries, Greta Hofmann Nemiroff Subseries, Financial Papers Subseries, Financial Papers Subseries, and Other Records Subseries which are described below. The series contains a wide range of organizational records, predominantly personnel files and correspondence with members, financial records, annual reports and meeting minutes, and documentation on grants, projects, and donors. The materials represent best the period when SIGI was based in Maryland and Canada, the 1990s and onward, while records from SIGI's inception in New York and the years in New Zealand are sparse.
Contains correspondence, biographies of current and former members, membership forms, and published work and articles about members or their work. Includes more extensive material on international feminists and prominent SIGI members such as Tatyana Mamonova, Robin Morgan, and Marilyn Waring. The series provides a close view of SIGI’s inner structure, constituency, and growth through the 1990s. Organized alphabetically by category, then by last name.
These record files, created by Greta Hofmann Nemiroff, a long-standing member of SIGI who was appointed president in 1999, contain correspondence to and from Nemiroff, as well as administrative and personnel records from the late 1990s and on and materials related to SIGI’s activities after its move to Canada in 1999. Some of the documents gathered by Nemiroff predate her tenure as a president of SIGI. The subseries is organized alphabetically by category and therein alphabetically by folder title.
Annual reports, accounting documentation, tax records, external audit reports, and other records of SIGI's financial transactions. The documents include bills, receipts, ledgers, and account books. Highlights of the subseries include the annual reports, which provide summaries of SIGI’s activities and ongoing projects such as Human Rights Education (HRE), Violence against Women (VAW), and the Knowledge Partnership Program (KPP). Miscellaneous, unsorted documents are filed under “Routine transactions,” and can include records of administrative expenses, reimbursement, and invoices.
Organized chronologically by year, then alphabetically by category within each year. Documentation from 2002 onward is sparse. Some folders contain data from preceding or subsequent years; this is indicated by the date span following the folder title. (Five electronic disks originally located in the records from 1996 and 1999 can now be found in the Electronic Formats Series.)
The general administrative section in the series contains documents on the funding history of SIGI, together with correspondence, lists of potential sources, and guides on funding and proposal writing. Some correspondence and official statements date back to the founding and early history of SIGI in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The rest of the series contains project proposals submitted by SIGI and a large amount of brochures and print material related to individual foundations. Extensive documentation with correspondence and grant reports is available for major SIGI donors such as the Global Fund for Women, the Institute for the Study of Natural and Cultural Resources, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for Democracy, The Shaler Adams Foundation, and UNIFEM. The subseries is organized alphabetically by name of organization, then chronologically.
[Disk 007 removed to Electronic Formats Series.]
Documents related to the maintenance of SIGI’s office and website, mailing lists, records of SIGI’s move to Canada and the closure of the Maryland office, as well as an overview of SIGI’s institutional records, mainly comprised of annual and financial reports. The Publicity section contains interviews and articles about SIGI’s HRE workshops in the Middle East, and a review of SIGI's manual Claiming Our Rights.
Organized alphabetically. (Six disks originally located with these materials can now be found in the Electronic Formats Series.)
The series is arranged in two subseries, HRE (Human Rights Education), a major SIGI program, and Other Projects, both of which are further divided into groups. The series contains correspondence with field coordinators, financial records, narrative reports with detailed descriptions of workshop sessions, evaluations, photographs from sessions and meetings, as well as newspaper articles reporting on SIGI's projects in different countries. Material pertaining to SIGI/Jordan, an affiliate center in Amman established to provide computer training and resources on women's rights, can be found in the groups of folders related to Jordan in both subsersies. A large number of workshop evaluations and some of the newspaper clippings are in Arabic. The bulk of the series is organized by geographic location, then by name of SIGI coordinator or project partner.
The HRE Subseries contains primarily administrative materials (correspondence, contracts and other financial documents, reports, and evaluations) from the late 1990s that pertain to SIGI’s major core program, the Human Rights Education Project, a series of 12 workshops aimed at empowering women in Muslim societies to define and reclaim their human rights. Countries most frequently represented in the subseries include Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Syria, and Uzbekistan. There is also extensive material from Jordan and Lebanon, where the HRE Project, in cooperation with the Learning and Partnership Project, incorporated computer and office training. Materials from Jordan and Lebanon are accompanied by a large number of photographs. Finally, there are documents related to SIGI’s HRE radio projects. (Please note that eight audiocassettes originally located together with HRE ratio projects materials can now be found in the Audiovisual Materials Series.)
The subseries is organized alphabetically by country or region; materials within each group are in original alphabetical order. At the end of each country/region group, there are materials related to the more recent extension of the HRE Project, Expanding HRE, as well as HRE Reports that were originally filed together.
[Removed to Oversize Materials.]
[Eight audiocassettes removed to Audiovisual Materials Series.]
The Other Projects Subseries is divided into six groups. The Country Projects group consists of administrative materials that relate to the continuation of the HRE Project in various countries, as well as documents pertaining to new programs, including the KPP (Knowledge Partnership Program) and Building Local Leaders Initiative. SIGI members project coordinators and partners. The subseries also contains some administrative materials related to SIGI’s proposed projects and potential partners. Other folders contain SIGI alerts on violations of women's human rights which have been issued between the years 1990 and 2003. Some reports and correspondence are available for another major SIGI program, Violence against Women (VAW). Finally, there are materials on SIGI’s research project on the effect of the demise of fisheries on the women who work in them in five key areas of the world. This last group of materials also includes notes and the final essay, Of Fish and Women by Lise Moisan. All materials in the Other Projects Subseries are in original alphabetical order, with the exception of the Alerts, which are organized chronologically.
Contains administrative records most of SIGI publications, chiefly copyright documentation and distribution lists, as well as drafts, translations, and published versions for each individual publication. Also included are translation contracts and occasional correspondence with editors and translators. SIGI manual, Claiming Our Rights, with its translations, constitutes the largest group in the series. Numerous drafts and translations are also available for In Our Own Words and Safe and Secure. The series contains 14 issues and the edited proofs of SIGI News. Records related to Muslim Women and the Politics of Participation, Sisterhood Is Global Book, and Strategizing on Safety are sparse. No materials related to Faith and Freedom: Women's Human Rights in the Muslim World are available in the series.
Organized alphabetically by subject and publication, then alphabetically within, except for SIGI News, which is organized chronologically by year and issue. A large amount of documents are translations into Arabic, Azeri, Bangla, French, Hindi, Malay, Persian (Farsi), Russian, Urdu, and Uzbek. (Electronic disks 014-056, mostly translations and drafts, have been removed from the series.)
[Disks 019-021 removed to Electronic Formats Series.]
[Disk 022 removed to Electronic Formats Series.]
[Disk 024 removed to the Electronic Formats Series.]
[Disk 036 removed to Electronic Formats Series.]
[Disk 037 removed to Electronic Formats Series.]
[Disk 039 removed to Electronic Formats Serie>.]
[Disks 042-043 removed to Electronic Formats Series.]
[Removed for separate housing and cataloging in Rare Books stacks]
[Disk 048 removed to Electronic Formats Series.]
[Disk 054 removed to Electronic Formats Series.]