While Interning in Washington, D.C., Student Publishes Article on Gender Apartheid in ‘Ms. Magazine’

Emma Hall’s spring semester internship focused on researching and writing about gender apartheid in Afghanistan and Iran.

By Triniti Brown ’26
Emma Hall, her co-workers, and FMF President Eleanor Smeal at the Biden Restore Roe Campaign Rally.
Emma Hall, a junior Political Science and Philosophy double major, pictured center, with her co-workers and Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal at the Biden Restore Roe Campaign Rally.

WASHINGTON – While RWU students get the opportunity to intern at an organization or government agency that aligns with their interests through the university’s Washington Institute Internship Program, not many can say they got the chance to advocate for their organization’s cause on a national platform.Junior Political Science and Philosophy double major Emma Hall, who spent the spring semester interning for the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), did just that, publishing an essay in the prestigious Ms. Magazine on Feb. 14. 

Through a semester-long internship with the nonprofit, which is “dedicated to advocating for women's legal, social, and political equality and countering opposition to women's advancement through research and action,” Hall has researched a range of issues and legislation to address some of the challenges facing women in the U.S. and globally. The Concord, N.H. resident says the work has helped her gain a better scope of issues she is passionate about.

One of her assignments was to research and write an article on the state of girls’ and women’s rights in Afghanistan for the FMF website. Little did she expect her article – “As British Parliament Inquiries Into Gender Apartheid, Afghan Women Know All Too Well That It’s Already Here” – to appear on Ms. Magazine’s website.

In her piece, Hall writes about the alarming rise of gender apartheid – systematic oppression and violence “that deliberately violates women and girls’ rights only on the basis of their gender” in Afghanistan and Iran. Her article sheds light on the multifaceted challenges faced by women in these countries and calls for the urgent need for international attention and action. Hall points out that the British Parliament's inquiry into Afghan and Iranian women’s rights signifies a crucial step toward addressing the issue, but she criticizes that the government’s investigation lacks language including gender as a basis for apartheid, not just race, which she argues would be critical in resulting movement on this issue. She writes that “the statute fails to specify gender in its distinct definitions, and fails to provide a definition of apartheid to its greatest scope, neglecting previous U.N. work.” Through compelling analysis and arguments, Hall calls for sustained efforts to combat discrimination and promote gender equality on a global scale.

“This is the first time I'm writing work that's out there for everyone to see, and it's been a really wonderful experience. It's cool to see your writing when you look up your name on the internet, and it's really important to me that the topics I'm writing about are getting put out there for people to learn,” Hall said. “Putting work toward an end to gender apartheid in Afghanistan is important to me, especially that I could write on that subject.”

Emma Hall with three of her co-workers at a table selling pink and black feminist t-shirts
Emma Hall and her co-workers at the Young Feminist Conference merchandise table.

In addition to writing articles, Hall has created content for social media and informational materials for conferences and events. The FMF interns also attended Biden's Restore Row rally in Manassas, Va., where they advocated for women's rights. When not working at FMF, Hall resides in the courthouse district, a small neighborhood in Arlington, two metro stops away from D.C., and attends an internship preparation course.

At RWU, Hall has had the chance to dive in and explore her interests in advocacy and politics. “I took a political theory class where we read a lot of feminist literature, which was interesting to me, and it inspired me to want to pursue this kind of work,” she said. “You're always encouraged to write about something that you're passionate about.”

She also has participated in RWU’s Model United Nations, which is spearheaded by Professor of Politics and International Relations Joseph Roberts, whom Hall credits as a mentor who has guided her on her academic journey.

Hall’s work with FMF is enabling her to hone her advocacy skills on a project she believes in, said Roberts.

“Emma’s recent article in Ms. Magazine is a great example of both what a great student Emma is and how dedicated she is to the cause of women’s justice worldwide,” Roberts said. “I also love that the article Emma chose to write is about international relations. As a past president of the International Relations Organization, this article shows how powerful this student organization is in helping students find their interests and develop arguments that can have a real impact on the lives of others.”

After completing her senior year next year, Hall plans to continue her work to end gender apartheid post-graduation by going to law school and becoming an attorney, to use the legal system to make a change. “Being here has inspired me to stay with the movement. No matter what, I'll always be a feminist. No matter what, I'll always continue to progress with feminism and be involved in the movement and be involved in sticking up for women.”