Hilary Matfess

"Women belong in all places where decisions are being made... It shouldn't be that women are the exception."

I am a PhD student in Yale University's Political Science Department. In 2015, I graduated with an MA in International Economics and African Studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS.  My research is at the intersection of security, gender, and governance, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. I have conducted field work in Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, Uganda, and Ethiopia. My work has been published in International Security, Security Studies, Stability, and African Studies Review; I also have a publication forthcoming in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. 

I have previously worked as a research analyst for the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), the National Defense University, and the Institute for Defense Analyses. As a freelance journalist, I have been published by Newsweek, IRIN, and Foreign Affairs, among others. My first book, Women and the War on Boko Haram, was published in 2017 with Zed Publishers.

My current research focuses on gender and rebel-to-party transitions in sub-Saharan Africa. 


This project seeks to understand how women's participation in rebel groups effects the likelihood of a successful transition to a political party. It also addresses how women's wartime activities shapes their post-conflict political representation.

- Ruth Bader Ginsburg