Lara Golesorkhi addresses discrimination against Muslim women in employment

The Muslim veil is not only a garment demonstrating religious faith, but also a highly politicized symbol, as seen by the proliferation of policies that regulate its visibility. In Germany, for example, the “veil has been perceived as a tool for gender segregation … and most notably a marker of cultural dissociation,” writes Lara Golesorkhi, a doctoral student in Politics at The New School for Social Research, in her recent piece published on the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s website.

This summer, Golesorkhi was one of ten winners in an international competition, co-sponsored by the United Nations’ Academic Impact initiative and the UnHate Foundation, part of the Benetton Group, for her proposal addressing Muslim women’s employment rights in Germany. Winners were chosen based on proposals that aimed to end various forms of intolerance, and each will receive 20,000 euros for the implementation of projects over the coming months.

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In addition to raising awareness of the challenges that Muslim women face in securing jobs in Germany’s employment sectors, Golesorkhi’s proposal is “to promote tolerance, equality, and respect, in the workplace, and to increase the number of Muslim women in the German labor market.” The project, linked here, has several components: a program to prepare Muslim women for the German job market; a launch of two initiatives, the iPledge Campaign and the WithorWithout (WoW) Campaign; and a fellowship program to recruit leaders for the project.

The Initiative
Golesorkhi’s proposed initiative stems from her goal for Muslim women to become “the face of the solution we’re seeking.” The aim is to give Muslim women the opportunity to gain work experience, and to develop leadership and communications skills. The program’s “Job Ready” program will provide formal preparation for the German job market through a series of professional development workshops and trainings.
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Miriam Steele: Breaking Cycles of Neglect Using Attachment Research

“I never get to see myself from the outside, I’m always judging myself from the inside,” reports a parent participating in a New School-Albert Einstein Medical Center clinical research collaboration directed by New School for Social Research psychologist Miriam Steele and her colleagues. Steele suggests that stepping outside of the interaction prompts reflective functioning, a theoretical framework she developed with her collaborator and husband Howard Steele over a decades-long examination of parent-child attachment. They have used the lens of attachment research to examine everything from the intergenerational links in parent-child relationships, intervention approaches to address child maltreatment, adoption, and the development of body image. She describes her work as bridging “the world of psychoanalytic thinking and clinical practice with contemporary research in child development.” In the course of our recent conversation it became clear that, for Steele, to research is to learn, to teach, and to help people – and to discover the next big question.

Group Attachment-Based Intervention

Steele’s focus is a psychological intervention called Group Attachment-Based Intervention (GABI), and she assesses its impact in a randomly controlled trial, federally funded by the Human Resources Services Administration.  The research team – comprised of faculty and graduate students at NSSR, as well as clinicians and researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine – brings together parents and young children from the Bronx for a thrice-weekly session of a group-based clinical treatment. As described in her co-authored article, Looking from the outside in: the use of video in attachment-based interventions (Attachment & Human Development, 2014), GABI is designed “to reach parents with histories of multiple adverse childhood experiences and ongoing exposure to poverty, domestic and neighborhood violence and risk of child maltreatment.”  This intervention grew out of a community-based intervention, setting it apart from interventions conceptualized in an academic setting and then delivered to patients.

The project started with one fundamental assertion, said Steele: “We know from neurobiology that well-nurtured brains look different from those that are not. That’s been well documented. The question is, how can we bring about change ?” Steele thinks that such a transformation in a parent could be brought on in part by an important aspect of the intervention: a parent watching video footage of her interactions with her child and being asked to reflect on what she sees while also hearing the reflections from her peers in the group.

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