Profile picture

Research Interests

Gender; women’s rights; security, peace and reconciliation


Dr Shirley Graham is a Research Fellow affiliated with the Institute at Dublin City University. Her PhD thesis: ‘Equal but Different: Gender Discourses in the Social Relations of Irish Peacekeepers & Possibilities for Transformation’, June 2013 (external examiner Prof. Annica Kronsell, Lund University, Sweden) examined gender discourses within the Irish Defence Forces that create and reinforce power hierarchies between women and men, supporting and/or inhibiting women’s access to peacekeeping missions. Shirley was a Government of Ireland Scholar (IRCHSS) and completed her PhD at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. In 2004 she completed her Master’s Degree in international affairs at the School of Law & Government, Dublin City University.

Shirley is the Director of the Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs (GEIA), Program Director for the Global Gender Policy Program, and Associate Professor of Practice in International Affairs at George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington D.C. She teaches two graduate courses: Global Gender Policy and Gender, War & Peace; and an undergraduate course: Women and Global Politics.

Shirley is a member of the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace & Security (WPS) a coalition of experts serving to inform and educate U.S. Congress, the Administration, and civil society on WPS thematic areas and issues. In this role, while serving as a member of the Executive Committee, she created the D.C. Student Consortium on WPS with the aim of bringing together students working on gender in international affairs to raise awareness and develop innovative approaches to expanding and amplifying the WPS agenda. This includes adding LGBTQAI+ issues to the agenda, historical and intergenerational trauma, and engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls. Today, the Consortium has over 200 student members and they are actively engaged with U.S. government agencies on the issues.

Shirley is the lead convenor of the GW Reproductive Freedom a cross-disciplinary seminar series on the domestic and international implications of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning of Roe V. Wade. The seminar series brings together gender and public health experts from the School of Public Health, GW Law, GW School of Medicine, and the Elliott School of International Affairs.

Shirley has extensive experience as a practitioner including the coordination of the Hanna’s House All-Ireland Feminist Peace Project (2008-2012); the facilitation of a civil society consultation on Ireland’s first National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 (2010-2011); serving on the Department of Foreign Affairs Monitoring Group of the first Irish National Action Plan on WPS, as the representative for the National Women’s Council of Ireland (2013-2014); and advising the Board of the Glencree Centre for Peace & Reconciliation on its Women’s Peace & Reconciliation Leadership Programme (2014-2017).

Contact Details

Recent Publications:

  • The Irish Defence Forces and the Silencing of a Feminist ResearcherCritical Military Studies (15 December 2022).
  • Gender Advisor Perspectives on Women, Peace & Security in U.S. Security Cooperation, book chapter in The American Way of Women, Peace & Security, (2023) published by the Defense Security Cooperation University, Professional Military Education Publication.
  • Graham, S., (2015) Women Peacekeepers: Gender Discourses on “Equal but Different” Amongst Irish Peacekeepers, in ‘Gender & Peacebuilding: All Hands Required’, Eds. Flaherty, M.P., T. Matyok, J. Senehi, S. Byrne, H. Tuso, Lexington Books, New York,

Policy & Conference Papers

  • Roundtable Report, Department of Foreign Affairs Conference on Ireland’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace & Security, Dublin, October 2014.