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Nimmi Gowrinathan

"Why do women rebel? It depends on which woman you mean. For love, for nationalism, for health care. The diversity of motives is kryptonite to consensus-building policy formulations. The better question was rarely asked: What made violence vital to protecting their internal and external existence?"

Acclaimed activist and scholar Nimmi Gowrinathan is a leading voice on the subject of gender and violence. As the Founder and Director of the Politics of Sexual Violence Initiative  of New York’s Colin Powell School for Civics and Global Leadership, she has studied women in extremist movements, with a focus with the role of sexual violence in political radicalization. Within the initiative, the Beyond Identity Fellowship trains undergraduate students to develop their voice beyond traditional “identity politics” and has successfully created a model to train scholar-activists to approach activism with rigor and insight that goes beyond Twitter hashtags. She is also the founder and publisher of Adi Magazine, which explores current events and policies through narrative journalism, experimental essays, commentary and art. Her most recent book, Radicalizing Her: Why Women Choose Violence was described by Kirkus Reviews as “A captivating, essential perspective on a neglected conversation.” 

A sought after public speaker, Gowrinathan is a natural storyteller who bridges the academic and the political with the personal. Though she has worked with governments, the United Nations, and International NGOs, she remains deeply committed to the power of the critical narrative voice, and believes that using this voice is a political act. She has brought these voices to a wider audience as the producer of Vice News’ Women in/at War Series and as the creator and editor of the “Female Fighter” series featured in Guernica magazine. She is also a contributor to CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, the BBC, Harper's, Foreign Affairs, Guernica, and Freeman’s among others. Her work, and writings, can be found at 

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