champions, standing up and leading the way

All over the world, people are standing up to say that, yes, SheDecides. Champions are individuals - some representing countries and organisations - who act alone and together to propel us toward a reality where every girl and every woman has power over her body. Without question.

Champions of the SheDecides movement support the manifesto that shows our values. They work tirelessly to make sure that laws and policies are changed for the better, resources are unlocked and harmful attitudes are put to an end. They educate, they advocate and they carve paths for others to join the movement. 

On 22 May, 2018, the Guiding Group of Champions met for the first time and selected its first Chair: Tikhala Itaye (from Malawi) and Vice-Chair: Lilianne Ploumen MP (founder of the movement when she was Minister in the Netherlands). The other  members of the Guiding Group are Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi (South Africa), Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen (Finland), Jona Turalde (Philippines), Lina Abirafeh (Lebanon), Malayah Harper (World YWCA), Victoria Fuentes (Mexico) and Kate Hampton (CIFF, current host of the SheDecides Support Unit).

Below is our growing list of Champions who are being bold in the push for real change. Hover over their image for bio.

SheDecides Guiding Group of Champions

   Tikhala Itaye, President of the African Youth and Adolescent Network (AfriYAN)  - CHAIR  Tikhala is a lawyer by profession, a global youth health advocate who is passionate about social justice and development. She is a co-founder of a youth led organisation called Her Liberty. She is President of the African Youth and Adolescent Network (AfriYAN) that co-ordinates youth-led networks and organisations in East and Southern Africa. She is also a board member for the Global Partnership on Maternal, Newborn and Child health, a TV Presenter in Malawi, hosting her own Youth TV Talk show called the  21st Generation  and has produced a TV Drama series on HIV and GBV targeting young people.

Tikhala Itaye, President of the African Youth and Adolescent Network (AfriYAN) - CHAIR
Tikhala is a lawyer by profession, a global youth health advocate who is passionate about social justice and development. She is a co-founder of a youth led organisation called Her Liberty. She is President of the African Youth and Adolescent Network (AfriYAN) that co-ordinates youth-led networks and organisations in East and Southern Africa. She is also a board member for the Global Partnership on Maternal, Newborn and Child health, a TV Presenter in Malawi, hosting her own Youth TV Talk show called the 21st Generation and has produced a TV Drama series on HIV and GBV targeting young people.

   Lilianne Ploumen,   Member of Parliament for the Dutch Labour Party in the Kingdom of the Netherlands   - VICE-CHAIR   Lilianne is an MP for the Dutch Labour party since March 2017. Prior to that she was the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation from 2012 to 2017. In that capacity, she launched the She Decides initiative in January 2017 to support the rights of girls and women to decide freely whether, when, with whom and how many children they have. Prior to that Lilianne was a director at Cordaid and MamaCash. From 2007 until 2012 she was president of the Dutch Labour Party.

Lilianne Ploumen, Member of Parliament for the Dutch Labour Party in the Kingdom of the Netherlands -VICE-CHAIR

Lilianne is an MP for the Dutch Labour party since March 2017. Prior to that she was the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation from 2012 to 2017. In that capacity, she launched the She Decides initiative in January 2017 to support the rights of girls and women to decide freely whether, when, with whom and how many children they have. Prior to that Lilianne was a director at Cordaid and MamaCash. From 2007 until 2012 she was president of the Dutch Labour Party.

   Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Heath, Republic of South Africa    Dr Motsoaledi served on the Limpopo Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC for 19 years before being elected to the ANC National Executive Committee where he serves today. His current positions include: Minister of Health; ANC Member of Parliament; Member of the ANC National Executive Committee. Dr Motsoaledi matriculated at Setotolwane High School and completed his pre-medicine course at the University of the North at Turfloop. He obtained his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) from the University of Natal in 1983.

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Heath, Republic of South Africa

Dr Motsoaledi served on the Limpopo Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC for 19 years before being elected to the ANC National Executive Committee where he serves today. His current positions include: Minister of Health; ANC Member of Parliament; Member of the ANC National Executive Committee.
Dr Motsoaledi matriculated at Setotolwane High School and completed his pre-medicine course at the University of the North at Turfloop. He obtained his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) from the University of Natal in 1983.

  Anne-Mari Virolainen  , Finland

Anne-Mari Virolainen, Finland

   Jona Claire S. Turalde    Jona Claire Turalde is an incoming junior student under the BA Anthropology program of University of the Philippines Diliman. Fresh from high school then, she started to become a Global Goals campaigner during her involvement with the International Youth Council Pilipinas, a youth civil society organization for civic engagement and a member of ACT! 2030 Philippine Alliance.  Currently, she’s an advocate for the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples of the Philippines. Also she’s pursuing advocacy initiatives for young people’s rights and development, especially on the issues of SRHR. She was a volunteer of the UNFPA Philippines during the World Population Day celebration in 2016, and she is one of the proponents to create a UN Youth Advisory Board, a space for young peoples’ voice and representation in the UN Philippines.

Jona Claire S. Turalde

Jona Claire Turalde is an incoming junior student under the BA Anthropology program of University of the Philippines Diliman. Fresh from high school then, she started to become a Global Goals campaigner during her involvement with the International Youth Council Pilipinas, a youth civil society organization for civic engagement and a member of ACT! 2030 Philippine Alliance.

Currently, she’s an advocate for the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples of the Philippines. Also she’s pursuing advocacy initiatives for young people’s rights and development, especially on the issues of SRHR. She was a volunteer of the UNFPA Philippines during the World Population Day celebration in 2016, and she is one of the proponents to create a UN Youth Advisory Board, a space for young peoples’ voice and representation in the UN Philippines.

   Lina Abirafeh, Director of the Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World at Lebanese American University   Lina Abirafeh works to advance women's empowerment and gender equality through education, research, development programs, and outreach in the Arab region.  Lina worked for 20 years promoting gender equality and addressing gender-based violence in development and humanitarian contexts worldwide with various UN agencies. Her 2015  TEDx  talk elaborates on her experience. Lina obtained her PhD from the London School of Economics and published her research in “ Gender and International Aid in Afghanistan: The Politics and Effects of Intervention ”.   

Lina Abirafeh, Director of the Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World at Lebanese American University
Lina Abirafeh works to advance women's empowerment and gender equality through education, research, development programs, and outreach in the Arab region.

Lina worked for 20 years promoting gender equality and addressing gender-based violence in development and humanitarian contexts worldwide with various UN agencies. Her 2015 TEDx talk elaborates on her experience. Lina obtained her PhD from the London School of Economics and published her research in “Gender and International Aid in Afghanistan: The Politics and Effects of Intervention”.

 

  Malayah Harper, General Secretary World YWCA  Malayah Harper is the General Secretary of the World YWCA, a global movement working for the empowerment, leadership and rights of women, young women and girls in 100 countries and 20,000 communities.  She has significant representational and diplomatic experience – a history in social movement building and a track record for establishing innovative partnerships. She has a deep commitment to ensure that no woman or girl is left behind as we make progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women. 

Malayah Harper, General Secretary World YWCA
Malayah Harper is the General Secretary of the World YWCA, a global movement working for the empowerment, leadership and rights of women, young women and girls in 100 countries and 20,000 communities.

She has significant representational and diplomatic experience – a history in social movement building and a track record for establishing innovative partnerships. She has a deep commitment to ensure that no woman or girl is left behind as we make progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women. 

   Victoria Fuentes, MEXFAM Executive Director    Victoria is a Mexican/American citizen with a BA in International Relations (Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal) and a post-graduate degree in Strategic Studies. Her work experience includes: the National Autonomous University of Mexico; IPPF's Resident Coordinator in Mexico; the Senior Programme Officer for UNFPA and is currently the Executive Director of MEXFAM. 

Victoria Fuentes, MEXFAM Executive Director

Victoria is a Mexican/American citizen with a BA in International Relations (Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal) and a post-graduate degree in Strategic Studies. Her work experience includes: the National Autonomous University of Mexico; IPPF's Resident Coordinator in Mexico; the Senior Programme Officer for UNFPA and is currently the Executive Director of MEXFAM. 

  Kate Hampton, CEO of the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF - Host of the  SheDecides  Support Unit)   Kate’s career spans roles in government, finance, consulting, a think tank and NGO’s. Before joining CIFF she was Head of Policy at Climate Change Capital. She has also advised policy makers in a number of roles, as well as being Head of the Climate Change Campaign for Friends of the Earth International. At Green Alliance, she managed the Green Globe Network. Earlier in her career, she worked at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. and Environmental Resources Management.  In 2008, Kate was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She holds a BSc. from the London School of Economics and a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Fulbright Scholar.  Kate is a member of the FP2020 Reference Group.

Kate Hampton, CEO of the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF - Host of the SheDecides Support Unit)

Kate’s career spans roles in government, finance, consulting, a think tank and NGO’s. Before joining CIFF she was Head of Policy at Climate Change Capital. She has also advised policy makers in a number of roles, as well as being Head of the Climate Change Campaign for Friends of the Earth International. At Green Alliance, she managed the Green Globe Network. Earlier in her career, she worked at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. and Environmental Resources Management.

In 2008, Kate was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She holds a BSc. from the London School of Economics and a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Fulbright Scholar.

Kate is a member of the FP2020 Reference Group.

 

SheDecides Champions

  Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister (Belgium)   Alexander De Croo graduated in Business Engineering and completed an MBA at Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University, Chicago, IL). He was political leader of the Liberal Democrats in Flanders (Belgium). Currently, he is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda and Telecom. Before, he worked as a strategy consultant at The Boston Consulting Group and founded his own company in the field ofintellectual property rights. Alexander De Croo is a staunch promotor of women’s rights and organised the first She Decides-conference in Brussels (March, 2017). He sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Europe and was selected Young Global Leader in 2015.

Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister (Belgium)

Alexander De Croo graduated in Business Engineering and completed an MBA at Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University, Chicago, IL). He was political leader of the Liberal Democrats in Flanders (Belgium). Currently, he is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda and Telecom. Before, he worked as a strategy consultant at The Boston Consulting Group and founded his own company in the field ofintellectual property rights. Alexander De Croo is a staunch promotor of women’s rights and organised the first She Decides-conference in Brussels (March, 2017). He sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Europe and was selected Young Global Leader in 2015.

  Aminatou Sar, PATH Senegal Country Representative   Journalist by profession, Mrs. Aminatou Sar has worked many years in newspapers and Senegalese radio stations before joining the NGOs’ world. She worked 10 years at Plan International regional Office for West and central Africa child media programs coordinator promoting child rights through radio in 10 countries. She was also the head of the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in West Africa for 6 years at the same time as Director of the Africa Human Rights Education Programme covering 13 countries in West, Eastern, Central and southern Africa regions. In January 2016, she joined the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) as senior regional advisor for the Forum for the Contraceptive Security in Francophone Africa (SECONAF) and is now serving as PATH Senegal Country Representative. She is Senegalese and French by nationality and is based in Dakar, Senegal.

Aminatou Sar, PATH Senegal Country Representative

Journalist by profession, Mrs. Aminatou Sar has worked many years in newspapers and Senegalese radio stations before joining the NGOs’ world. She worked 10 years at Plan International regional Office for West and central Africa child media programs coordinator promoting child rights through radio in 10 countries. She was also the head of the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in West Africa for 6 years at the same time as Director of the Africa Human Rights Education Programme covering 13 countries in West, Eastern, Central and southern Africa regions. In January 2016, she joined the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) as senior regional advisor for the Forum for the Contraceptive Security in Francophone Africa (SECONAF) and is now serving as PATH Senegal Country Representative. She is Senegalese and French by nationality and is based in Dakar, Senegal.

  Dr. Anita Asiimwe,   Former Minister of Public Health, Rwanda   Dr. Asiimwe specializes in Public Health Strategies tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other diseases’ conditions. A Medical Doctor by profession, she holds a Masters degree in Public Health. She has served in various health sector governance and management responsibilities for the government of Rwanda and has participated at regional and international levels too in health. Dr. Asiimwe served as the Minister of State in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care for the Government of Rwanda. She also served as the Board member of the Global Fund representing the East and Southern Africa Constituency, and at the same time, served as the Vice chair of the Global Fund Board Strategy Investment and Impact Committee.

Dr. Anita Asiimwe, Former Minister of Public Health, Rwanda

Dr. Asiimwe specializes in Public Health Strategies tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other diseases’ conditions. A Medical Doctor by profession, she holds a Masters degree in Public Health. She has served in various health sector governance and management responsibilities for the government of Rwanda and has participated at regional and international levels too in health. Dr. Asiimwe served as the Minister of State in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care for the Government of Rwanda. She also served as the Board member of the Global Fund representing the East and Southern Africa Constituency, and at the same time, served as the Vice chair of the Global Fund Board Strategy Investment and Impact Committee.

  Dr   Awa Coll-Seck, Minister of State, Senegal.    Awa Marie Coll-Seck has served as Minister of Health of the Republic of Senegal since 2012. She was Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RMB) from 2004-2011 and served as Director of the UNAIDS Department of Country and Regional Support from 1996-2001. She was Minister of Health and Prevention of Senegal from 2001 to 2003.  Dr Coll-Seck was elected as chairperson of Committee B of the World Health Assembly and also as president of the Assembly of the Ministries of Health of the West African Health Organization in 2002. She has been awarded numerous professional and academic honours, including the Knight of the Order of Merit of the French Republic, Chevalier, Ordre des Palmes académiques; Officer of the Order of Merit Senegalese; and Knight of the Order of Merit of Burkina Faso. She is an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences and Technologies of Senegal and is the author of more than 150 scientific publications.   

Dr Awa Coll-Seck, Minister of State, Senegal. 

Awa Marie Coll-Seck has served as Minister of Health of the Republic of Senegal since 2012. She was Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RMB) from 2004-2011 and served as Director of the UNAIDS Department of Country and Regional Support from 1996-2001. She was Minister of Health and Prevention of Senegal from 2001 to 2003.

Dr Coll-Seck was elected as chairperson of Committee B of the World Health Assembly and also as president of the Assembly of the Ministries of Health of the West African Health Organization in 2002. She has been awarded numerous professional and academic honours, including the Knight of the Order of Merit of the French Republic, Chevalier, Ordre des Palmes académiques; Officer of the Order of Merit Senegalese; and Knight of the Order of Merit of Burkina Faso. She is an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences and Technologies of Senegal and is the author of more than 150 scientific publications.

 

  Biance Gawanas.   Ms. Gawanas has served as Special Adviser to Namibia’s Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.  Prior to this, she was Special Adviser to the Minister of Health and Social Services.  A champion of women’s health and rights in Africa, she has been commended for her role in initiating far‑reaching campaigns, such as the continental Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).  Ms. Gawanas was elected for two terms as Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2003 and 2008, during which time she was responsible for advocacy, as well as the harmonization and coordination of regional and continental policies and programmes promoting social development.  Her portfolio included health, HIV/AIDS and nutrition, migration and population, arts and culture, the welfare of vulnerable groups, labour and migration, and sports.  From 1996 to 2003, she was Ombudswoman of Namibia, having previously worked as a lecturer on gender law at the University of Namibia, from 1995 to 1997, and as a lawyer at the Legal Assistance Centre, a human rights non‑governmental organization, from 1990 to 1991.

Biance Gawanas.

Ms. Gawanas has served as Special Adviser to Namibia’s Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.  Prior to this, she was Special Adviser to the Minister of Health and Social Services.  A champion of women’s health and rights in Africa, she has been commended for her role in initiating far‑reaching campaigns, such as the continental Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).

Ms. Gawanas was elected for two terms as Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2003 and 2008, during which time she was responsible for advocacy, as well as the harmonization and coordination of regional and continental policies and programmes promoting social development.  Her portfolio included health, HIV/AIDS and nutrition, migration and population, arts and culture, the welfare of vulnerable groups, labour and migration, and sports.  From 1996 to 2003, she was Ombudswoman of Namibia, having previously worked as a lecturer on gender law at the University of Namibia, from 1995 to 1997, and as a lawyer at the Legal Assistance Centre, a human rights non‑governmental organization, from 1990 to 1991.

  Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director General of International Planned Parenthood Federation.   Dr Alvaro Bermejo has more than 20 years’ experience as a senior executive in global federations, working across HIV and AIDS, humanitarian issues and health policy. He is currently Executive Director of the Survive and Thrive portfolio at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), where he helped build an adolescent sexual and reproductive health portfolio in addition to the more established health, nutrition and education portfolios. Prior to joining CIFF, he led the International HIV/AIDS Alliance for more than a decade, where he oversaw rapid growth in its programmes and new country expansion as well as achieving significant policy influence. He will begin his new role at IPPF in March, 2018. 

Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director General of International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Dr Alvaro Bermejo has more than 20 years’ experience as a senior executive in global federations, working across HIV and AIDS, humanitarian issues and health policy. He is currently Executive Director of the Survive and Thrive portfolio at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), where he helped build an adolescent sexual and reproductive health portfolio in addition to the more established health, nutrition and education portfolios. Prior to joining CIFF, he led the International HIV/AIDS Alliance for more than a decade, where he oversaw rapid growth in its programmes and new country expansion as well as achieving significant policy influence. He will begin his new role at IPPF in March, 2018. 

  Christine Stegling, Executive Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance   Christine Stegling is Executive Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, an alliance of 34 NGOs across 28 countries with their roots in the community response to HIV.  A leading actor in the HIV response, Ms Stegling has worked for over 20 years in international development, human rights and HIV.  Prior to heading the Alliance she was the Executive Director of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC).  Christine lived in Botswana for 10 years, working initially for the Ministry of Health, then as a lecturer at the University of Botswana, and for eight years as the director of the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA).

Christine Stegling, Executive Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

Christine Stegling is Executive Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, an alliance of 34 NGOs across 28 countries with their roots in the community response to HIV.

A leading actor in the HIV response, Ms Stegling has worked for over 20 years in international development, human rights and HIV.  Prior to heading the Alliance she was the Executive Director of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC).

Christine lived in Botswana for 10 years, working initially for the Ministry of Health, then as a lecturer at the University of Botswana, and for eight years as the director of the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA).

  Professor CN Purandare, President, FIGO   Professor CN Purandare, at 65, is a dynamic leader who received training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in India and Ireland. A senior consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at three leading hospitals in Mumbai, he is also the honorary consultant for the Mumbai Police. Currently, he is the Dean of the Indian COllege of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Emeritus Editor for the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of India. He was installed as President of FIGO in October 2015, and in the immediate future he plans to focus on family planning, conception planning and reduction in maternal mortality.

Professor CN Purandare, President, FIGO
Professor CN Purandare, at 65, is a dynamic leader who received training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in India and Ireland. A senior consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at three leading hospitals in Mumbai, he is also the honorary consultant for the Mumbai Police. Currently, he is the Dean of the Indian COllege of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Emeritus Editor for the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of India. He was installed as President of FIGO in October 2015, and in the immediate future he plans to focus on family planning, conception planning and reduction in maternal mortality.

  Mrs. Delbar Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs (Afghanistan)   H.E. Delbar Nazari, was born in 1956 in in Samangan, a northern province of Afghanistan. Currently she works as the minister of women’s affairs, representing and advocating for about 15 million Afghan women and girls’ right at national and international levels like CSW61. Having extensive of professional gender experience at managerial and expert level with a public administration and international institutions like Oxfam, German Agro Action, UNICEF and General Directorate of Electronic ID Cards paved the ways towards women empowerment in Afghanistan. She also was selected as the Parliament Member by Samangan citizens to serve the country, especially women, from 2005 until 2010.

Mrs. Delbar Nazari, Minister of Women’s Affairs (Afghanistan)

H.E. Delbar Nazari, was born in 1956 in in Samangan, a northern province of Afghanistan. Currently she works as the minister of women’s affairs, representing and advocating for about 15 million Afghan women and girls’ right at national and international levels like CSW61. Having extensive of professional gender experience at managerial and expert level with a public administration and international institutions like Oxfam, German Agro Action, UNICEF and General Directorate of Electronic ID Cards paved the ways towards women empowerment in Afghanistan. She also was selected as the Parliament Member by Samangan citizens to serve the country, especially women, from 2005 until 2010.

  Georgia Arnold,   Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation   Georgia Arnold is Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility at Viacom International Media Networks and is responsible for developing social initiatives for the company’s portfolio of over two hundred TV channels and websites. Ms. Arnold is also Executive Director of   The Staying Alive Foundation.   MTV Staying Alive is forged upon partnerships including; UNAIDS, UNICEF, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PEPFAR and Kaiser Family Foundation. The campaign has delivered award-winning HIV and AIDS awareness programming, concerts, events and public service messages involving high profile individuals such as Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and Mary J Blige.

Georgia Arnold, Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation

Georgia Arnold is Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility at Viacom International Media Networks and is responsible for developing social initiatives for the company’s portfolio of over two hundred TV channels and websites. Ms. Arnold is also Executive Director of The Staying Alive Foundation. MTV Staying Alive is forged upon partnerships including; UNAIDS, UNICEF, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PEPFAR and Kaiser Family Foundation. The campaign has delivered award-winning HIV and AIDS awareness programming, concerts, events and public service messages involving high profile individuals such as Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and Mary J Blige.

  Indira Jaising, Human Rights Lawyer, Supreme Court of India.    Indira Jaising started her legal practice in the early 1960s. She was the first woman to be designated a Senior Advocate by the High Court of Bombay. Since the commencement of her career, she has been interested in Woman’s Issues. She represented the Air Hostesses of Air India when they were seeking equality with the male pursers and equal pay for equal work. She fought the legal battle for Mary Roy a Syrian Christian Women who fought for equal inheritance rights. She represented Gita hariharian, a mother who challenged the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, which declared the father as the natural guardian of the children to the exclusion of the mother. The Supreme Court held that the mother was also the guardian of the child.     Indira has worked tirelessly on the issue of dowry deaths to protect women from violence in the home. She represented Saty Rani Chada whose daughter was murdered within a few months of her marriage.     Since then she worked to create a new law on Domestic Violence. The Government of India passed the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act in 2005. The new law gives to women for the first time a right to reside in the shared household and prevents them from becoming homeless when facing violence. It has helped many women get stop violence orders. Indira has worked on several environmental issues, to protect the beaches and coastlines of Goa from being constructed upon.     She was elected to represent India to the United Nations on the committee for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women and served in that capacity from 2009 to 2012. She was the fist woman to be appointed Additional Solicitor General of India in 2009 and serves in that capacity till 2014 representing the Government in the Supreme Court of India. She is currently based in New Delhi.   

Indira Jaising, Human Rights Lawyer, Supreme Court of India. 

Indira Jaising started her legal practice in the early 1960s. She was the first woman to be designated a Senior Advocate by the High Court of Bombay. Since the commencement of her career, she has been interested in Woman’s Issues. She represented the Air Hostesses of Air India when they were seeking equality with the male pursers and equal pay for equal work. She fought the legal battle for Mary Roy a Syrian Christian Women who fought for equal inheritance rights. She represented Gita hariharian, a mother who challenged the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, which declared the father as the natural guardian of the children to the exclusion of the mother. The Supreme Court held that the mother was also the guardian of the child.

 

Indira has worked tirelessly on the issue of dowry deaths to protect women from violence in the home. She represented Saty Rani Chada whose daughter was murdered within a few months of her marriage.

 

Since then she worked to create a new law on Domestic Violence. The Government of India passed the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act in 2005. The new law gives to women for the first time a right to reside in the shared household and prevents them from becoming homeless when facing violence. It has helped many women get stop violence orders. Indira has worked on several environmental issues, to protect the beaches and coastlines of Goa from being constructed upon.

 

She was elected to represent India to the United Nations on the committee for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women and served in that capacity from 2009 to 2012. She was the fist woman to be appointed Additional Solicitor General of India in 2009 and serves in that capacity till 2014 representing the Government in the Supreme Court of India. She is currently based in New Delhi.

 

  Professor Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, Nigeria.   Professor Isaac Adewole has been a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria since 1997. He is the Honourable Minister of Health, Federal Ministry of Health. He was the 11th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and the immediate past President of African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC).  A leading advocate for nationwide access to cervical cancer prevention and control, Professor Adewole’s current research interests include evaluating novel ideas for promoting prevention of cervical cancer in developing countries, HPV variability in cervical cancer among African women and evaluating interaction between HIV and Cervical Cancer.   He was appointed Honourable Minister of Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Republic of Nigeria on November 11 2015. The Federal Ministry of Health under his watch has developed one of the most ambitious health programme in Africa to achieve UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE using Primary Health Care as the fulcrum. 

Professor Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, Nigeria.

Professor Isaac Adewole has been a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria since 1997. He is the Honourable Minister of Health, Federal Ministry of Health. He was the 11th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and the immediate past President of African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC).

A leading advocate for nationwide access to cervical cancer prevention and control, Professor Adewole’s current research interests include evaluating novel ideas for promoting prevention of cervical cancer in developing countries, HPV variability in cervical cancer among African women and evaluating interaction between HIV and Cervical Cancer. 

He was appointed Honourable Minister of Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Republic of Nigeria on November 11 2015. The Federal Ministry of Health under his watch has developed one of the most ambitious health programme in Africa to achieve UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE using Primary Health Care as the fulcrum. 

  Isabella Lövin, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister   Isabella Lövin represents the first feminist government in the world, serving as Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate. She was proud to co-organize the first She-Decides conference in Brussels in March 2017. She is also the spokesperson for the Swedish Green Party. Prior to that, she was Member of the European Parliament. She has also been working as a journalist and is an award winning author.

Isabella Lövin, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister

Isabella Lövin represents the first feminist government in the world, serving as Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate. She was proud to co-organize the first She-Decides conference in Brussels in March 2017. She is also the spokesperson for the Swedish Green Party. Prior to that, she was Member of the European Parliament. She has also been working as a journalist and is an award winning author.

   Jovana Rios, Board Chair IPPF/Western Hemisphere   Jovana is a SheDecides Champion and women’s rights advocate from Panama who wears several hats. In addition to serving as Board Chair of IPPF/Western Hemisphere Region, Jovana is also a member of IPPF’s governing council, Vice President of the Panamanian Association of Family Planning (APLAFA) and member of the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Steering Group.

Jovana Rios, Board Chair IPPF/Western Hemisphere
Jovana is a SheDecides Champion and women’s rights advocate from Panama who wears several hats. In addition to serving as Board Chair of IPPF/Western Hemisphere Region, Jovana is also a member of IPPF’s governing council, Vice President of the Panamanian Association of Family Planning (APLAFA) and member of the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Steering Group.

  Julia Bunting, President of the Population Council   Julia Bunting is President of the Population Council, a global non-profit conducting research in nearly 50 countries to improve health & well-being with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Ms. Bunting is known for her path-breaking work on reproductive and maternal health at the UK Department for International Development, including as a lead catalyst of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning. She has served as a director at the International Planned Parenthood Federation. In 2013, Ms. Bunting was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for improving reproductive health in developing countries.

Julia Bunting, President of the Population Council

Julia Bunting is President of the Population Council, a global non-profit conducting research in nearly 50 countries to improve health & well-being with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Ms. Bunting is known for her path-breaking work on reproductive and maternal health at the UK Department for International Development, including as a lead catalyst of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning. She has served as a director at the International Planned Parenthood Federation. In 2013, Ms. Bunting was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for improving reproductive health in developing countries.

  Katja Iversen, President/CEO, Women Deliver   Katja Iversen is the President/CEO of Women Deliver – a leading global advocate for investment in the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women, with a specific focus on gender equality and maternal, sexual and reproductive health and rights. Iversen, an internationally recognized expert on development, advocacy and communications, has more than 20 years of experience working in NGOs, corporates and United Nation agencies, including with UNFPA and as Chief of Strategic Communication and Public Advocacy with UNICEF. She has counseled and trained multiple Fortune 500 executives on cross cultural management and communication. She is on MIT’s Women & Technology Leadership Group, a health adviser to the Clinton Global Initiative and council chair of Equal Measures 2030.

Katja Iversen, President/CEO, Women Deliver

Katja Iversen is the President/CEO of Women Deliver – a leading global advocate for investment in the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women, with a specific focus on gender equality and maternal, sexual and reproductive health and rights. Iversen, an internationally recognized expert on development, advocacy and communications, has more than 20 years of experience working in NGOs, corporates and United Nation agencies, including with UNFPA and as Chief of Strategic Communication and Public Advocacy with UNICEF. She has counseled and trained multiple Fortune 500 executives on cross cultural management and communication. She is on MIT’s Women & Technology Leadership Group, a health adviser to the Clinton Global Initiative and council chair of Equal Measures 2030.

  María Consuelo Mejía Piñeros, MA, Executive Director of Catholics for the Right to Decide, Mexico   A Colombian/Mexican anthropologist with a Masters’ degree and doctoral studies in Latin American Studies from UNAM Mexico. She has longstanding experience in advocacy for the defense of women´s human rights, especially sexual and reproductive rights, from a feminist Catholic perspective.  As political activist, she works nationally and internationally to counteract the negative influence of Catholic fundamentalisms on women´s rights. In 2010, she received the Award from the Mexico City Human Rights Commission and in 2011 was nominated by Women Deliver as one of the 100 most inspiring and committed women of the world. Since 1995, she is the Director of Catholics for the Right to Decide, a progressive faith based organization.

María Consuelo Mejía Piñeros, MA, Executive Director of Catholics for the Right to Decide, Mexico

A Colombian/Mexican anthropologist with a Masters’ degree and doctoral studies in Latin American Studies from UNAM Mexico. She has longstanding experience in advocacy for the defense of women´s human rights, especially sexual and reproductive rights, from a feminist Catholic perspective.  As political activist, she works nationally and internationally to counteract the negative influence of Catholic fundamentalisms on women´s rights. In 2010, she received the Award from the Mexico City Human Rights Commission and in 2011 was nominated by Women Deliver as one of the 100 most inspiring and committed women of the world. Since 1995, she is the Director of Catholics for the Right to Decide, a progressive faith based organization.

  Marie-Claude Bibeau,   Minister for International Development and La Francophonie (Canada)   H.E. Ms. Marie-Claude Bibeau is a Canadian politician and was sworn in as Minister of International Development and La Francophonie in November 2015. In her capacity as Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Minister Bibeau has a mandate to focus Canada’s international assistance to help the poorest and most vulnerable people, and support fragile states. Following an International Assistance Review, Minister Bibeau announced Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy in June 2017, which places gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at the heart of international assistance efforts, including the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister for International Development and La Francophonie (Canada)

H.E. Ms. Marie-Claude Bibeau is a Canadian politician and was sworn in as Minister of International Development and La Francophonie in November 2015. In her capacity as Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Minister Bibeau has a mandate to focus Canada’s international assistance to help the poorest and most vulnerable people, and support fragile states. Following an International Assistance Review, Minister Bibeau announced Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy in June 2017, which places gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at the heart of international assistance efforts, including the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

  Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women   Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro is the President and CEO of the  Global Fund for Women , a grant making Foundation and a global advocate for women’s human rights. During her tenure, the Fund has surpassed $140 million in grantmaking to women led organizations in Latin America & the Caribbean, East & Central Europe, Middle East& North Africa, Asia & the Pacific and Sub Saharan Africa.Prior to this, Musimbi was Director for Population and Reproductive Health at David and Lucile Packard Foundation, managing the $30 million grantmaking portfolio. Musimbi made history as the first non-white CEO of the World YWCA after150 years. Musimbi is well travelled has lived extensively in Africa, Europe and USA.

Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women

Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro is the President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, a grant making Foundation and a global advocate for women’s human rights. During her tenure, the Fund has surpassed $140 million in grantmaking to women led organizations in Latin America & the Caribbean, East & Central Europe, Middle East& North Africa, Asia & the Pacific and Sub Saharan Africa.Prior to this, Musimbi was Director for Population and Reproductive Health at David and Lucile Packard Foundation, managing the $30 million grantmaking portfolio. Musimbi made history as the first non-white CEO of the World YWCA after150 years. Musimbi is well travelled has lived extensively in Africa, Europe and USA.

  Linda Hofstad Helleland, Minister of Children and Equality, Norway.   Ms Helleland was appointed Minister of Culture on 16 December 2015. She joined the cabinet from the Storting (the Norwegian parliament), where she chaired the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications.The minister of Children and Equality is responsible for the rights of consumers, families, children and young people, as well as for anti-discrimination and full equality between men and women.

Linda Hofstad Helleland, Minister of Children and Equality, Norway.

Ms Helleland was appointed Minister of Culture on 16 December 2015. She joined the cabinet from the Storting (the Norwegian parliament), where she chaired the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications.The minister of Children and Equality is responsible for the rights of consumers, families, children and young people, as well as for anti-discrimination and full equality between men and women.

   Patrick Mwesigye, Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum    Patrick is the founder and team leader at the Uganda youth and Adolescents Health Forum a grassroots youth led and youth serving organizations that works towards empowering marginalized and vulnerable adolescent girls and young women to live quality lives with equity and dignity and support them with opportunities to realize their full potential through addressing their health, gender equality and livelihood needs. Patrick is a very passionate and dynamic young man from Uganda who has championed gender equality reproductive rights for girls and has strongly worked with both local communities in Uganda and the Uganda government to advocate for prioritise these rights.

Patrick Mwesigye, Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum

Patrick is the founder and team leader at the Uganda youth and Adolescents Health Forum a grassroots youth led and youth serving organizations that works towards empowering marginalized and vulnerable adolescent girls and young women to live quality lives with equity and dignity and support them with opportunities to realize their full potential through addressing their health, gender equality and livelihood needs. Patrick is a very passionate and dynamic young man from Uganda who has championed gender equality reproductive rights for girls and has strongly worked with both local communities in Uganda and the Uganda government to advocate for prioritise these rights.

   Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands    Sigrid Kaag worked at the UN Political Affairs Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1990 to 1993. She subsequently held a series of international positions. From 1994 to 1997 she was the Programme Manager and Head of Donor Relations at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jerusalem. She then worked at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva from 1998 to 2004.  In 2004 and 2005 Mrs Kaag was senior UN adviser in Khartoum and Nairobi. She continued her career at UNICEF, where she held various positions between 2005 and 2010, including Deputy Director of the Programme Division and Chief of Staff in New York, and Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in Amman. Mrs Kaag then served as Assistant Secretary-General for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in New York.  From October 2013 to September 2014 Mrs Kaag, as UN Under-Secretary-General, led the mission to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria. After this mission was completed, in 2015, she became Under-Secretary-General in Lebanon with responsibility for all UN activities in the country, specifically the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.  On 26 October 2017, Sigrid Kaag was appointed Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the third Rutte government.

Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands

Sigrid Kaag worked at the UN Political Affairs Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1990 to 1993. She subsequently held a series of international positions. From 1994 to 1997 she was the Programme Manager and Head of Donor Relations at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jerusalem. She then worked at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva from 1998 to 2004.

In 2004 and 2005 Mrs Kaag was senior UN adviser in Khartoum and Nairobi. She continued her career at UNICEF, where she held various positions between 2005 and 2010, including Deputy Director of the Programme Division and Chief of Staff in New York, and Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in Amman. Mrs Kaag then served as Assistant Secretary-General for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in New York.

From October 2013 to September 2014 Mrs Kaag, as UN Under-Secretary-General, led the mission to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria. After this mission was completed, in 2015, she became Under-Secretary-General in Lebanon with responsibility for all UN activities in the country, specifically the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

On 26 October 2017, Sigrid Kaag was appointed Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the third Rutte government.

  Mr Simon Cooke, CEO Marie Stopes International   Simon Cooke joined MSI in 2013 with more than 20 years of international general management, marketing and sales experience in a range of developed and developing regions including Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Nordics, and the Middle East. He held senior leadership positions in the ‘blue chip’ marketing organisations Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser and was CEO of a Dubai-based private equity-backed company prior to moving sectors. MSI is a leading global provider of safe abortion and contraception services to some of the world’s poorest communities across 37 countries. In 2016, 25 million women worldwide were using a method of contraception supplied by MSI.

Mr Simon Cooke, CEO Marie Stopes International

Simon Cooke joined MSI in 2013 with more than 20 years of international general management, marketing and sales experience in a range of developed and developing regions including Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Nordics, and the Middle East. He held senior leadership positions in the ‘blue chip’ marketing organisations Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser and was CEO of a Dubai-based private equity-backed company prior to moving sectors. MSI is a leading global provider of safe abortion and contraception services to some of the world’s poorest communities across 37 countries. In 2016, 25 million women worldwide were using a method of contraception supplied by MSI.

  Sivananthi Thanenthiran, Executive Director of ARROW   Siva is currently the Executive Director of the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW), a regional partnership organization which is working across 15 priority countries in Asia-Pacific, and with regional organisations and networks across the global south.  Siva's different career choices which included teaching, writing, commercial publishing, communications and working at the UN gave her opportunities to explore many work disciplines and form her ideals of working in partnerships and respecting diversity. She is the lead conceptualizser of the ARROW’s ‘Reclaiming & Redefining Rights’ which monitored the progress of SRHR across 5 regions of the Global South and is the lead author of the Asia-Pacific report. She writes and advocates extensively on sexual and reproductive rights. In her previous life, she co-wrote and edited books on Agenda 21 - ‘Cities, Chaos & Creativity: A Sourcebook for Communicators,’‘Cities, Citizens & Civilisations: Frequently Asked Questions on Good Urban Governance‘ and ‘Agenda for Action: Action for Better Cities.’ 

Sivananthi Thanenthiran, Executive Director of ARROW

Siva is currently the Executive Director of the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW), a regional partnership organization which is working across 15 priority countries in Asia-Pacific, and with regional organisations and networks across the global south.

Siva's different career choices which included teaching, writing, commercial publishing, communications and working at the UN gave her opportunities to explore many work disciplines and form her ideals of working in partnerships and respecting diversity. She is the lead conceptualizser of the ARROW’s ‘Reclaiming & Redefining Rights’ which monitored the progress of SRHR across 5 regions of the Global South and is the lead author of the Asia-Pacific report. She writes and advocates extensively on sexual and reproductive rights. In her previous life, she co-wrote and edited books on Agenda 21 - ‘Cities, Chaos & Creativity: A Sourcebook for Communicators,’‘Cities, Citizens & Civilisations: Frequently Asked Questions on Good Urban Governance‘ and ‘Agenda for Action: Action for Better Cities.’ 

  Tamara Kreinin, Director, Population and Reproductive Health at David and Lucile Packard Foundation.   Tamara Kreinin joined the Packard Foundation in 2012 as director of the Population and Reproductive Health program. Prior to joining the Foundation, Tamara served as the executive director of women and population at the United Nations Foundation where she designed and implemented initiatives to improve life for women and girls globally.  Tamara’s experience in health and human services spans more than 25 years. She has traveled the globe as an advocate and public policy advisor for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Throughout her career, Tamara has been a passionate voice for social justice and social change. She has consulted in the areas of advocacy, fundraising, public relations, and numerous issues related to social change domestically and internationally. 

Tamara Kreinin, Director, Population and Reproductive Health at David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Tamara Kreinin joined the Packard Foundation in 2012 as director of the Population and Reproductive Health program. Prior to joining the Foundation, Tamara served as the executive director of women and population at the United Nations Foundation where she designed and implemented initiatives to improve life for women and girls globally.

Tamara’s experience in health and human services spans more than 25 years. She has traveled the globe as an advocate and public policy advisor for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Throughout her career, Tamara has been a passionate voice for social justice and social change. She has consulted in the areas of advocacy, fundraising, public relations, and numerous issues related to social change domestically and internationally. 

  Ton Coenen, Executive Director of Rutgers    Ton Coenen is the Executive Director of Rutgers, working on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Netherlands, globally and in 18 countries specifically. He is chair of EuroNGOs, the European network of NGOs working on SRHR. Ton holds Master degrees in Public Health and Public Management. Before Rutgers he was the executive director of Aids Fonds for 17 years. He has been involved in strengthening civil society in many ways –as the co-chair to the EU civil society Forum on HIV/AIDS, as co-chair to HIV in Europe, Board member to Icaso, Board member to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He is a Board Member of the Dutch Council of Refugees.

Ton Coenen, Executive Director of Rutgers

Ton Coenen is the Executive Director of Rutgers, working on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Netherlands, globally and in 18 countries specifically. He is chair of EuroNGOs, the European network of NGOs working on SRHR. Ton holds Master degrees in Public Health and Public Management. Before Rutgers he was the executive director of Aids Fonds for 17 years. He has been involved in strengthening civil society in many ways –as the co-chair to the EU civil society Forum on HIV/AIDS, as co-chair to HIV in Europe, Board member to Icaso, Board member to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He is a Board Member of the Dutch Council of Refugees.

  Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark   Ulla has worked as the Minister for Development Cooperation since November, 2016. Before that, she held ministerial positions in areas of education, science, development among others. On her role as a Torchbearer, she will continue to promote women’s and girls' right to decide over their own body and own sexuality since these are fundamental human rights. She will work for combating early and forced marriage and the practice of female genital mutilation. She will work for dissemination of information about women’s and girl’s sexual and reproductive rights, access to contraception, legal and safe abortion and other relevant services – including in humanitarian settings. Plus she will work for economic and political empowerment of women and allocate additional funds for SRHR.

Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark

Ulla has worked as the Minister for Development Cooperation since November, 2016. Before that, she held ministerial positions in areas of education, science, development among others. On her role as a Torchbearer, she will continue to promote women’s and girls' right to decide over their own body and own sexuality since these are fundamental human rights. She will work for combating early and forced marriage and the practice of female genital mutilation. She will work for dissemination of information about women’s and girl’s sexual and reproductive rights, access to contraception, legal and safe abortion and other relevant services – including in humanitarian settings. Plus she will work for economic and political empowerment of women and allocate additional funds for SRHR.


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