Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn


Transgender advocate and activist


Speech Title: “ Jessica Lynn’s Transgender Journey, Who Writes the Rules? ”

Jessica Lynn is a world-renowned transgender advocate and activist. Her experiences as a transgender woman and parent led her to dedicate her life to spreading awareness and acceptance for gender non-conforming communities around the world. Over the last several years, Jessica has crisscrossed the globe sharing the story of her journey over 700 times in 24 different countries and is now internationally considered one of the foremost transgender speakers due to her dynamic, refreshingly honest speaking style and signature ask-me-anything Q&A sessions.

Fortunately, Jessica’s travels and presentations have caught the attention of several prestigious institutions. On behalf of both the University of Oxford and the National Institute for Health Research, Ms. Lynn has been appointed to an advisory position on a project aimed towards improving health services for gender diverse youth in Great Britain. She has been serving as a Kinsey Institute Global Ambassador at Indiana University for over a year now. And, after spending a great amount of time speaking in the UK, she is now a Stonewall School Role Model and a speaker to the medical community by request of the National Health Service England.

Jessica has had the privilege of meeting people of many nationalities and identities all over the gender spectrum, and learning of their experiences. All the while, she embraces the belief that friendly, non-judgmental conversations about the gender spectrum are the most powerful tool in the fight for awareness and acceptance. That is what drives Jessica to continue her work and serves as the cornerstone of the social movement that is The Butterfly Project. A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies serve as the symbols of this belief, acting as conversation starters that will pass on gender narratives and create communities that are, as a whole, more aware and accepting of the entire gender spectrum.


Dr. Sharifa Al Yahyai

Former Minister of Social Development, Sultanate of Oman
Academic Specialist in Women’s Studies
Board Member of Arab Women Foundation
Member of Advisory Board in University of Business & Technology- Jeddah

Speech title : “Rethinking Women in politics- sharing a life story”


As a researcher, writer, and motivational speaker, Dr Al Yahyai is an academic expert in women rights in both the Sultanate of Oman and GCC. She played a significant role in improving national polices related to women rights in Oman during her position as a Minister of Social Development from 2004 to 2011.

During her role as a Minister of Social Development, Dr Al Yahyai had an important role in the history of Omani Women which resulted in designating October 17th as the Omani Women’s Day by His Majesty, the Sultan of Oman.

Since her appointment as Minister of Social Development in 2004, Dr Al Yahyai has been participating actively in a number of national and international conventions related women’s empowerment, child rights, civil society and the overall social development in Oman. She presented a number of papers on women’s empowerment, leadership and examining legislation and practice in Oman in national and international conferences. On the policy-making level in Oman, she was appointed as a board member in a number of national councils such as the Higher Education Council, The Research Council and headed the National Committee of Family Affairs, and the UN CEDAW Committee. Most importantly, in Nov 2005, Dr Al Yahyai has received Civil Ordinance of Oman- Class II by HM The Sultan Qaboos. In 2008, Dr Al Yahyai has awarded the Arab Woman distinguished Award from Arab Women Foundation in social Work.  In Dec 2018, Dr. al Yahyai received the Arab Women Award of Year 2018 by London Arabia Foundation and Regent London University.

During her academic role in Sultan Qaboos University prior to being a Minister of Social Development, she published a number of studies relevant to gulf literature, Omani poems and women’s social and cultural values. From 2001 – 2004 she was a Professor in the Department of Arabic Literature in Sultan Qaboos University and currently a visiting lecturer in College of Arts & Social Sciences.

Dr Al Yahyai holds PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from University of Leeds, UK and MA in Modern Arabic Literature from Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman.


Jennie A. Williams

Jennie A. Williams

Independent Consultant:
Trafficking and Gender Specialist
PhD Candidate at Mahidol University

Speech Title – “Empowering the Genders: understanding harmful masculinities and consent”


Jennie Williams is a UK lawyer of 15 years, and been based on SE Asia for 10 years as a consultant and researcher. Completing a Masters thesis in 2017, researching trafficking and consent of female migrants, specifically sex workers’ human rights, she is now a PhD candidate at Mahidol University, researching female migrants, gender based violence and peace and security. Jennie has been consulting with UN agencies on regional projects on violence against women and girls; drafted the gender training of ASEAN law enforcement officers and conducted workshops raising awareness of harmful masculinities and empowerment of women. Jennie has written several regional UN reports and papers on these issues.

Dr. Rita Bencivenga

TCGEL – Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership, Trinity College, Ireland

Speech Title- “Gender/Sexuality in the workplace: IT companies and Higher Education Departments” ?


Rita Bencivenga’s general research interests are in gender studies, adult non formal and informal education, gender in higher education, and gender and technology. Rita studied as an undergraduate at the University of Genoa, Italy. After a successful career in the private and non profit sectors as manager of international projects on adult education, with a focus on technology, she completed her PhD at the University of Paris x, Nanterre, France, under the supervision of Cendrine Marro and Nicole Mosconi. Before joining the TCGEL, Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership, in September 2018, she has been Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy of the Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. In France, she is a member of LEGS – Laboratoire d’études de genre et de sexualité. CNRS/Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis et Université Paris Ouest. From 2015 to 2018, she taught undergraduate, graduate and master courses at ISPEF, Institut des Sciences et Pratiques d’Éducation et de Formation, Université Lumière Lyon 2, France. Since 1993 she has been appointed regularly as expert in Project reviews, assessments and evaluations for the European Commission. Her articles have appeared in Studies in the Education of Adults, European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, International Journal of Public and Private Management, AIDAinformazioni. Rivista di Scienze dell’informazione, Pratiques de formation/analyses, and Educação, Formação & Tecnologias. Her current research activities at TCGEL focus on Feminist Institutionalism and Gender Equality in Higher Education and ICT Companies.