Focus areas: Globalization, gender equality, and human rights

Yasmine Ergas is Director of the Specialization on Gender and Public Policy and Senior Lecturer in Discipline in International and Public Affairs. She also directs the program in Gender and Human Rights of Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, is a member of the Executive Committee of the University’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, and is the co-convener of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Council at Columbia University. 

A lawyer and sociologist, she has worked on issues regarding gender and women’s rights as a policy analyst and advisor, scholar and advocate. She has served as a consultant to international and domestic policy organizations, including the OECD, UNESCO, the Millennium Villages Project, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and CENSIS, a major applied social research institute in Italy, and been on the staff of the Social Science Research Council. Her recent work has focused on the emergence of an international market in reproductive services, the transformations of ‘motherhood’ and the impacts of human rights programs and policies. Previous relevant work centered on feminist movements and their interactions with public policies; the implications of the concept of ‘gender’ for feminist politics; child care policies in international and comparative perspective; educational policies and the social implications of HIV/AIDS.  

A graduate of the Universities of Sussex and Rome and Columbia Law School, Ergas is a former member of the School of Social Science of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton; visiting scholar at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University; and a Pembroke Fellow of Brown University. Among other honors, she has been awarded fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation and the Italian Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerca. She was recognized by SIPA for teaching a “top 5” course (out of approximately 200) in Spring 2012. She co-led a working group of the Committee on International Trade of the New York City Bar Association on child labor and international trade and practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, and Studio Legale Pedersoli. Ergas has served as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Social Sector of the Millennium Cities Initiative, the editorial board of the Journal of Human Rights Practice, the editorial board of, the Human Rights Program Education and Information Resources Working Group of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the board of New York City Global Partners, among others. Her work has been published widely, including in Italian, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese.

Research & Publications

October 2017|Reassembling Motherhood|Yasmine Ergas
October 2017|Columbia University Press|Yasmine Ergas, Sonya Michel , Jane Jenson
September 2017|Present and Future Memory: Holocaust Studies at the Italian Academy (2008-2016)|Yasmine Ergas, Barbara Faedda

Women’s Rights and Women’s Freedoms: A View from the Present

September 2017|Reassembling Motherhood: Procreation and Care in a Globalized World|Yasmine Ergas
January 2017|Ingenere|Yasmine Ergas
September 2016|UN Women|Yasmine Ergas

Memorandum for UN Women Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

March 2016|Cosmopolitan Club|Yasmine Ergas

Rethinking Equality and Motherhood: What are the connections and why they matter

January 2016|Columbia Journal of Gender and Law |Yasmine Ergas

The Laws of Others: Mandating “rights through travel” between discrimination, moral hazard and irrationality