The History of IAWM

Women’s museums have evolved independently of each other, and often knew nothing about each other. It was a deliberate decision not to contend for a place in traditional museums. Museum operators were much more interested in creating their own niche in which full and exclusive attention could be dedicated to women’s culture, history, and/or art of the past and present.

Women’s museums are important for women’s education, empowerment and self-confidence. They provide awareness training, possibilities for independent actions and tools to overcome discrimination. A common discussion on women and museums has arisen in the last decade, with the establishment of the network womeninmuseum.

Today the IAWM is a strong network with over 60 member-museums worldwide that are pursuing their collective goals. An international congress is traditionally held every four years on a different continent where museums meet for exchange and support. The last conference took place in Hittisau, Austria in 2021.



IAWM is led by a Board representing our member regions. Our current board members are listed below.

Click the photograph to learn more about each person.

Gaby Franger
Chair, Germany

Studies: Social Sciences, History, Pedagogy; PHD: Women’s every-day-lives and women cultures as starting point of intercultural communication – A methodical contribution for intercultural-adults-education. Since 1997 teaching and researching, community work, regional women's history, women's art, and feminist pedagogy. My professional work started with community work with migrant women and their newborn babies. From 1986 to 1989 I worked with victims of the civil war in Peru.  These experiences had a deep impact on my further professional and personal life as an activist for human rights. 1989 I was a founding member of Women in One World. which runs since 2006 the Museum Women's Cultures Regional - International.  

Mona Holm
Vice-chair, Norway

Mona studied Art History, Language studies, and Pedagogy. She currently has a PHD-project called, “Dreams about «Nylænde» Transatlantic connections among women’s rights leaders and suffragists in Norway and the USA 1880-1925”. She has worked as a curator at various museums/cultural institutions, and since 1999 at the Women’s Museum of Norway, Kvinnemuseet. Academic director at the Women’s Museum from 2013 to 2021. Mona is co-founded IAWM in 2012, and since then has been a member of IAWM’s executive board and vice chairwoman, serving as chairwoman since 2016. Photo: Bård Løken/Anno museum

Elsa Ballauri
Board member, Albania

I live in Tirana, Albania. My university education is literature, journalism and human rights and master’s in journalism and cultural heritage. I have been engaged in human and women's rights since 1990. I have been leading the Albanian Human Rights Group, an important human rights organization in Albania since 1996, director of the Academy of Human Rights, part-time professor at the University of Tirana teaching Media & Minority Rights. Author of two books of poetry, journalist in several Albanian and foreign media. My hobby is the collection of old objects. In 2009 I received the Women's Torch Award from Danish Government which led me to the commitment to establish MiG – The Women’s Museum in Albania in 2018.

Glenda Hecksher
Board member, Mexico

Glenda Hecksher masters various techniques and materials in sculpture and painting. She has public and private work in various Mexican cities in streets, avenues and parks. Also in national and foreign institutions, eg: Vatican City, UNHCR, UNICEF and GWI. Her themes: Peace and equality; a fusion of Mexican and Western culture; women; maternities and loving couples, among others. She has made logos, portraits in bronze and in oil painting, medals, awards for outstanding enterprises and people. Her work is in books, magazines, postage stamps and lottery tickets. Glenda has received several recognitions. She is an NGO representative, GWI Vice President. international Vice-president of the Mexican Federation of University Women, one of the four non-governmental members of the Committee of Monuments and Works of Art in public spaces in Mexico City, as well as part of the council of the Society for the Defense of the Artistic Treasure of Mexico.

Ki Kye-Hyeong
Board Member, Korea

Kyehyeong Ki is a museum director, historian, and curator. She is a former director of the National Women’s History Exhibition Hall, the first women’s history museum in South Korea. She has currently founded the Gender Museum Korea in 2020, which is a virtual museum, dedicated to developing content on the history and culture of Korean women, exhibiting collaborations with local and global women's museums, and active cooperation on global women's issues. Kyehyeong received her PhD. from the Seoul National University in 2003 and have written numerous books and articles. She has held several exhibitions on the theme of Korean women's history and the Korean women's movement. Kyehyeong's upcoming book is "The Birth of the Women's Museum around the World," which covers the various women's museums from different continents of the world that she has visited (2022, Geulhangari). She is exploring various alternatives to strengthen the networking of the Asian Women's Museum.

Gabriela Martínez
Board member, Chile

Gabriela Martínez Cañete represent to the Museo de Mujeres- Chile. She is a history teacher with a degree in Education at Universidad de Concepción, Chile, and undergraduate in Critical Museology at Universidad de Santiago, Chile. Her studies focused on gender, feminism, issues related to sexuality and sexual dissidence. As student, she joined in different feminist collectives, which main concern was comprehensive sexual education. Recently, she works at Liceo Técnico Femenino located in Concepción and takes the diploma of Violence and Gender at Universidad de Chile. She defines herself as an intersectional transfeminist, which position guides her intellectual and political work.

Sinéad McCoole
Board member, Ireland

Dr Sinéad McCoole created A Pop-Up Women’s Museum – 100 years of Women in Politics and Public Life on behalf of the Department of Culture, Heritage, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media. Specially adapted versions toured every Irish province in 2019 and 2020. The exhibition is now in the 17th-century landmark building, The Main Guard, Clonmel, County Tipperary. A member of the Expert Advisory Group on the Government of Ireland Decade of Centenaries Programme since 2012 and an Ex-Officio member of Vótáil100. Currently, she is curating the website. This is an online resource for podcasts, films, webinars, seminars and articles relating to the role of women, part of the Irish Government's Decade of Centenaries Programme. She is the author of several books on Modern Irish history focusing on the role of Irish women. In 2019 she was awarded her D Litt (National University of Ireland).

Sigrid Prader
Board member, Italy

Teacher 1977-2000; Manager of the Women’s Museum Merano since 2005
Planning and coordination of the museum processes; Project management of exhibition projects
Administration, finances, fundraising; Curatorial work for exhibitions
Educational-and Project management; Support of the Executive Board and management of the museum’s association of South Tyrol
Academically Trained Adult Educator and Educational Manager (2001) University of Innsbruck (A); 4 years co-operation with civil society organizations
Communicative abilities in the field of development cooperation, also on international and inter-cultural level, which I gained during many visits abroad

Ashley Remer
Board member, USA/New Zealand

Ashley wears many hats—as a museum director, art historian, curator, writer, editor, and creative producer. She is the founder and Head Girl of the USA based non-profit Girl Museum, the first and only museum in the world dedicated to girlhood, that produces exhibitions, multimedia projects and publications celebrating girlhood and advocating for girls’ rights. Ashley recently co-authored Exploring American Girls’ History through 50 Historic Treasures with Rowman & Littlefield publishers. Currently based in New Zealand, she is researching representations of girls in fine art and how they are interpreted in public museums for a PhD at the Australian National University.

Stefania Pitscheider Soraperra
Board member, Austria

Stefania Pitscheider Soraperra is an Italian art historian and museologist living in Austria. She belongs to the Raetho-Romanic minority in the Dolomites. Since 2009, she is the director of the Women's Museum Hittisau. Her museum recently got the “Special commendation” at EMYA 2021 / European Museum of the Year Award as well as the Austrian Federal Museum Award 2017. She has worked at the Austrian museums Kunsthalle Wien, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and Shedhalle St. Pölten as well as at Luxemburg socio-cultural center Coopérations. As a founding member of the artists' group WochenKlausur she realized several artistic-sociopolitical projects in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Germany as well as Japan and was invited to the Venice Biennale (Italy). She is married and has a son.

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