James Pantefedwyn Foundation

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Megan Isherwood

I am immensely grateful to the Pantyfedwen Foundation for financially supporting me to pursue an MSc in Gender, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics and Political Science. My desire to pursue this Master’s degree stemmed from an awareness of the imperative need to deploy a gender lens within traditional peace and security frameworks to ensure that gendered dynamics and the unique experiences and needs of underrepresented groups such as women and people from non-conforming gender identities are accounted for. The course has transformed the way I look at the world, introducing me different perspectives, scholarship, and methodologies from transnational, decolonial, intersectional, queer, and postcolonial theories. Many of the topics we covered have been extremely topical to the events unfolding around the world including the plight of Palestinian women in the Israeli- occupied territories and the need to decolonise Western representations of Afghan Muslim women as requiring ‘saviour’.  

My dissertation conducted a feminist and anti-racist investigation of the representation of Shamima Begum in British political discourse and its implications for broader understandings and practices of British citizenship. My research revealed and challenged the underlying gendered and racist narratives used to frame Muslim women and women involved in terrorism and the discriminatory and conditional logics underpinning notions of British identity, belonging and citizenship. I believe that my research provides important contributions to discussions surrounding British citizenship considering the polarising and Islamophobic rhetoric that pervades contemporary society.

I met the most amazing group of people at LSE this year, and despite the challenges of the pandemic, we managed to foster a great sense of community and solidarity. I learnt so much from such a diverse group of people from across the world and was inspired by their dedication to transformative feminist goals.

This course has prepared me for a career in conflict and post-conflict work, humanitarian assistance and peace governance with a vital gender lens. I hope to find a job in a non-governmental organisation, think tank or charity soon to practically apply the skills I have cultivated during my studies. I could not have pursued this Master’s degree without the support of the Pantyfedwen Foundation. I am hugely grateful for their assistance and belief in me.