Women's Health and Human Rights in the Western Hemisphere

Application Due April 1, 2011


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About the Scholarship Program

According to the World Health Organization, "the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being." However, for many women and around the world, the promise of health remains unfulfilled. Gender discrimination, stereotyping and socio-economic vulnerability create barriers to obtaining high quality health services for women.

As a central component of the Women and the Law Program's Project on Gender, Health and Justice, American University Washington College of Law has created a scholarship for LLM students who intend to use their law degrees to promote women's health in the Western Hemisphere. This full-year academic program combines rigorous study with a paid work placement intended to both provide the scholar with relevant work experience and defray part of the remaining tuition or living expenses.

Program Outline

The Women's Health and Human Rights Scholar will receive:

  • A 12-credit tuition scholarship for an LLM (Masters of Law) degree in International Legal Studies, Specialization in Gender and International Law from the American University Washington College of Law. This unique program offers an opportunity to study International Law from a gender perspective—one which places the human rights and health needs of women at the center of the analysis. The Scholar will attend dynamic courses with faculty experts, conduct independent research, and participate in a vibrant community of human rights and gender and law scholars. Courses may include “Women and International Human Rights Law" at the Washington College of Law's Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. This course features intensive study of both international human rights law as well as an exploration of women's rights in the Inter-American System, with two of the foremost experts in the field of gender, health and human rights in the Americas.
  • A paid part-time work placement under the supervision of Women and the Law Program faculty. The scholar will work with the Women and the Law Program in its collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).The Scholar will be responsible for developing training materials and educational modules on the use of international human rights principles and instruments to promote women's health, with a particular emphasis on the prevention of maternal mortality. The Scholar will have the opportunity to work closely with the leading PAHO experts in the field on the protection and promotion of women's right to health.

    The scholar will be compensated at a rate of $21/hour for up to 20 hours per week during each semester and for up to 40 hours per week during the summer months (May, June, and July 2012.) This work placement is intended to help the scholar defray the costs associated with the program. The scholar remains responsible for payment of all applicable income taxes.

Scholarship Recipient Responsibilities

  • Remain in residence at American University Washington College of Law from August 2011 through July 2012.
  • Enroll as a full time student in Washington College of Law's International Legal Studies LLM Program, Gender and International Law Specialization, maintain a satisfactory grade point average and complete all requirements for graduation.
  • Work with the Women and the Law Program to produce a training module and to design and implement a training program for PAHO teams on Women's Health and Human Rights.
  • Pursue employment in the field of women's human rights and/or public health, preferably in Latin America or the Caribbean.
  • Be responsible for remaining tuition costs (12 credits) and fees, the cost of travel to the United States and all additional living expenses (such as housing utilities, food, clothing.) For more information about fees and costs, please visit the ILSP's Financial Information page, The program does not provide a stipend for spouses or dependents. Please note that for visa purposes, candidates must be able to demonstrate to the U.S. Embassy that they have the funds available to cover expenses. The scholar may use funds from the part-time work placement to defray tuition or living expenses or may use personal funds.


J.D. or LL.B (or equivalent law degree) is required.

Professional Experience
Five years of experience in legal work and/or women's rights legal research, with an emphasis on the enjoyment of health and women's human rights; demonstrated familiarity with human rights and public health; knowledge of legislative, judicial and socio-political issues in PAHO Member States. Experience within the Regional and/or Universal Human Rights Systems would be an asset. Strong preference for applicants currently or recently employed with state public health organs or non-governmental organizations addressing women's rights in a public health context.

English fluency is required. Ability to speak, read and write in Spanish is required. Knowledge of French and/or Portuguese would be an asset. Applicants whose first language is not English must take one of two tests for English competency for admission to Washington College of Law's LLM Program (either the TOEFL or the IELTS exam.) For more information regarding language requirements, please consult the International Legal Studies Program website.

Computing Skills
Ability to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point or equivalents is required.

Additional Qualifications
Strong preference will be given to applicants that can demonstrate that they intend to pursue employment with state public health organs, international agencies or non-governmental organizations addressing women's rights in a public health context in the Western Hemisphere after completion of the LLM Program.

Application Instructions

The application for the Scholarship in Women's Health and Human Rights is a three-step process:

  1. Complete an application for admission to American University Washington College of Law's LLM Program in International Legal Studies by April 1, 2011.
  2. Complete the online application for the Scholarship in Women's Health and Human Rights by April 1, 2011.
  3. Finalists must complete a telephone interview with the Women and the Law Program and its collaborating partners.

Applicants will be notified regarding the scholarship by May 2, 2011.

Please Note: No application for the Scholarship will be considered complete unless all documents are received by the International Legal Studies Program Office of Admissions on or before the April 1, 2011 deadline.

Contact Us

  • For questions regarding the Scholarship in Women's Health and Human Rights in the Western Hemisphere, please contact Angie McCarthy, Program Coordinator for the Women and the Law Program at
  • For general information regarding admission to the International Legal Studies LLM Program, please view the ILSP webpage FAQs or contact ILSP program staff at