Board of Directors
AWID’s board members are drawn from a diverse constituency of policy makers, academics, researchers, activists, funders, practitioners, and business people committed to gender equality, mostly from the global South. The board is elected by the AWID membership through an open election process.
Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey is Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair in Women’s Leadership and Visiting Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and of Public Policy at Mills College in Oakland, California. She also is Professor Emerita at San Francisco State University.
Her primary areas of research and activism for past 25 years have been militarism, armed conflict, and violence against women, examined intersectionally. Professor Okazawa-Rey serves on the International Advisory Board of Du Re Bang in Uijongbu So. Korea, International Board of PeaceWomen Across the Globe in Bern, Switzerland, and Board Co-chair of Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee, USA.
Her recent publications include “Nation-izing” Coalition and Solidarity Politics for US Anti-militarist Feminists (in press); “No Freedom without Connections: Envisioning Sustainable Feminist Solidarities”(2018) in Feminist Freedom Warriors: Genealogies, Justice, Politics, and Hope, Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Linda Carty (eds.); Between a Rock and Hard Place: Southeast Asian Women Confront Extractivism, Militarism, and Religious Fundamentalisms (2018); “Liberal Arts Colleges Partnering with Highlander Research and Education Center: Intergenerational Learning for Student Campus Activism and Personal Transformation,” Feminist Formations Special Issue on Feminist Social Justice Pedagogy (2018).
Nidhi Goyal is a disabled feminist from India. Working at the intersection of disability and gender. She is committed to changing the lives of women and girls with disabilities.
Nidhi’s work spans research, writing, training, campaigns, advocacy, and art. She is the Sexuality and Disability Program Director at the non-profit Point of View where she has researched and co-authored a pioneering online initiative : Sexuality and Disability — a comprehensive online resource on disability, gender, sexuality and violence. Extending the reach of this platform, Nidhi designs and delivers accessible trainings across India and across impairments. Nidhi also consults with a range of national and global womens’ and human rights organizations. She is a researcher for Human Rights Watch and serves as regular faculty at CREA Institutes on sexuality, gender and rights.
Nidhi has been actively advocating at policy and legislative levels in India to address issues of girls and women with disabilities. She works to raise the profile of issues at the intersection of disability and gender through op-eds, journal articles, lectures in national and international forums. Nidhi is also on the board of ‘Standing Tall’ – an Indian affiliate of Handicap International, sits on the advisory board of “Voice” a grant making facility by Dutch Ministry, and has served on the international planning committee of AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development). Finally, she is a standup comic artist who uses humour to challenge prevalent notions around disability, gender and sexuality.
You can read more about Nidhi’s work @saysnidhigoyal.
Sara AbuGhazal is a Palestinian feminist living in Beirut. She is a co-founder of Sawt al-Niswa, a collective that produces knowledge in Beirut. She is the co-director of The Knowledge Workshop, a feminist organization based in Beirut that works on feminist oral history and archiving. Sara is currently the Regional Coordinator of the Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa.
Sara strives to help create spaces of feminist transformation and solidarity. Her work is mostly centered on building sustainable movements in the MENA region. She is invested in knowledge production, feminist transformation, and Palestine. She publishes regularly in sawtalniswa.org and her fiction also appears in Romman e-magazine.
Julia Ehrt is the Executive Director of Transgender Europe (TGEU). In more than a decade of European trans activism, Julia has been central to TGEU’s development and growth, both as co-founder, member of TGEU’s Steering Committee (2005 – 2008), Executive Board and Co-Chair (2008-2011), and now as Executive Director (since 2011). She is widely respected as a trans leader in Europe and contributed significantly to how trans issues are perceived and debated today in Europe. As ED of one of the largest regional trans organizations she has worked with her colleagues in other world regions to increase trans visibility and build trans leadership in international spaces – in particular the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Since 2013 she has been involved in the development of the International Trans Fund and continues to serve on ITF’s governing body (Steering Committee). Before Julia got involved in European and international activism she has been active on the local and national level in Berlin and Germany since the early 2000s. She is a founding member of the Berlin based organization TransInterQueer and continues to volunteer for the German national trans network (Bundesverband Trans) in their advocacy group.
Julia studied Mathematics and Physics in Konstanz, Germany (1997 - 2000), Tel Aviv, Israel (2000 - 2001), Berlin, Germany (2001 - 2008) and Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2007) and worked as a scientist at the Humbold University until 2012. Julia holds a PhD in mathematics, lives with her partner and child in Berlin and considers herself a feminist.
Salome is a feminist activist from Tbilisi, Georgia, devoted to social and gender justice. She holds a Master's degree in gender studies, and has been engaged in feminist, queer and green movements for the past nine years, working amongst others on issues of gender based violence, domestic violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, LGBTIQ rights, and holistic and digital security and rights.
Since 2014 she has been actively working on safety and security issues of activists and Women Human Rights Defenders, providing integrated security and digital security workshops specifically for activists from under-privileged groups (queer persons, ethnic and religious minorities, rural women and girls, etc) as well as bigger feminist organisations. Salome is a member of the Independent Group of Feminists - a non-formal, non-hierarchical and non-registered initiative that unites feminists with diverse backgrounds in Georgia. Currently, she works with Women's Fund in Georgia, fully engaged in women's/feminist movement building, providing feminist funding, and encouraging local feminist philanthropy.
Elina Margarita Castillo Jiménez
Elina is a young afro-Dominican intersectional feminist and human rights lawyer, committed to use her voice and skills to build a more just, empathic and inclusive world. She started Law school at 16, convinced it would give her the tools to understand and promote social justice. After a J.D. in the Dominican Republic, she pursued an LL.M. in Public International Law and Human Rights in the UK as a Chevening Scholar. She was the only Latinx-Caribbean woman in her class, graduating with honours.
Elina has worked at the intersection of human rights, gender, migration and policy, from government, grassroots collectives and international organizations. She helped litigate cases on gender-based violence before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. As a member of the Youth Advisory Panel of UNFPA, she contributed to strengthening sexual and reproductive rights in the Dominican Republic. She co-led Amnesty International’s first campaign on sex workers’ rights in the Americas, developing strong partnerships with sex-worker led organizations and using Amnesty’s position to amplify women human rights defenders and sex workers’ voices.
Elina is part of Foro Feminista Magaly Pineda and the Global Shapers Community. She speaks Spanish, French and English. Thanks to her diverse background, Elina brings strong governance and strategic planning skills, substantive expertise on the United Nations and regional human rights mechanisms and her bold determination to keep AWID as an inclusive organization for all women, especially young and Caribbean feminists. With these offerings, joins a global sisterhood of feminist badasses, where she can keep nurturing her feminist leadership and never again feel alone in her path.
Eni Lestari is an Indonesian domestic worker in Hong Kong and a migrant rights activist. After escaping her abusive employer, she transformed herself from a victim into an organizer for domestic workers in particular, and migrant workers in general. In 2000, she founded the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers (ATKI-Hong Kong) which later expanded to Macau, Taiwan, and Indonesia. She was the coordinator and the one of the spokesperson of the Asia Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB) - an alliance of grassroots migrants organisations in Hong Kong coming from Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Nepal and Sri Lanka. She is also the current chairperson of International Migrants Alliance, the first-ever global alliance of grassroots migrants, immigrants, refugees, and other displaced people.
She has held important positions in various organizations including and current Regional Council member of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), former Board Member of Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), spokesperson for Network of Indonesian Migrant Workers (JBMI), advisor for ATKI-Hong Kong and Macau as well as the Association of Returned Migrants and Families in Indonesia (KABAR BUMI). She has been an active resource person in forums organized by academics, interfaith groups, civil societies, trade unions and many others at national, regional, and international arenas.
She has actively participated in United Nations assemblies/conferences on development and migrants’ rights and was chosen as a speaker at the opening of the UN General Assembly on Large Movement of Migrants and Refugees in 2016 in New York City, USA. She received nominations and awards such as Inspirational Women by BBC 100 Women, Public Hero Award by RCTI, Indonesian Club Award, and Non-Profit Leader of Women of Influence by American Chamber Hong Kong, and Changemaker of Cathay Pacific.
Hakima is an African feminist who has been active in social movements for two decades. Trained in international affairs, her work as a policy analyst, popular educator, advocate and strategist has focused on strengthening and supporting movements for transformation.
Hakima is author and co-editor of various articles and publications, including Africa’s Long Road to Rights; From Roots to Branches: the African Diaspora in the Union Government; Aid and Reparations: Power in Development Discourse; Queer African Reader; People-led Transformation: African futures; and the Pan-Africanism and Feminism issues of Feminist Africa.
She was on the editorial collective of The Feminist Wire and is a member of the Jang! collective that provides popular education tools, platforms and accompaniment to activists working for radical transformation.
She has served as a board member to Greenpeace Africa, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Eastern Africa, the African Sex Workers Alliance and the Center for Citizen Participation in the African Union, and in advisory roles to several donor initiatives including UHAI – the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative, the Heartland Alliance and The Other Foundation.
Cindy is a US-based feminist with a passion for exploring how organizations can better embody feminist values and practice to build stronger movements. She has worked as a facilitator, researcher and strategist on diverse women’s rights and justice issues.
She joined AWID in 2007 as the Manager for the Where is the Money for Women’s Rights? Program, and has co-authored numerous AWID reports on funding trends impacting women’s rights organizing. In 2009 she became AWID’s Director of Operations & Programs and between 2014-2016 has been the Director of Organizational Learning and Strengthening.
Prior to joining AWID, Cindy was one of the founding members of Just Associates, where she worked on a range of advocacy capacity and movement-building initiatives, drawing on methodologies of popular education and deep power analysis as the starting point for change strategies. Cindy has an M.A. in Human and Organizational Development, specializing in the study of change and learning processes in organizations.
Claudia Montserrat Arévalo Alvarado
Claudia is a feminist psychologist with a Masters degree in Development Equality and Equity. She has been a human rights activist for 30 years, and a women’s rights activist for the last 24.
Claudia works in El Salvador as the co-founder and Executive Director of Asociación Mujeres Transformando. For the past 16 years she has defended labour rights of women working within the textile and garment maquila sector. This includes collaborations to draft legislative bills, public policy proposals and research that aim to improve labour conditions for women workers in this sector. She has worked tirelessly to support organizational strengthening and empowerment of women workers in the textile maquilas and those doing embroidery piece-work from home.
She is an active participant in advocacy efforts at the national, regional and international levels to defend and claim labour rights for the working class in the global South from a feminist, anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchy perspective and class and gender awareness raising. She is a board member with the Spotlight Initiative and its national reference group. She is also part of UN Women’s Civic Society Advisory Group.
A survivor of FGM, Diakhoumba Gassama is an anti-FGM feminist human rights defender, who has actively engaged in spaces like the Senegalese Council Women, the African Feminist Forum, AWID, FEMNET and the Research and Support Center for Development Alternatives.
Outgoing Vice President of the Reseau National des Jeunes Femmes Leaders du Senegal, she has more than 10 years of experience working for intergovernmental organizations in Africa, Europe, New York and Asia and the Pacific, following closely and participating in inter-governmental processes around sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), human rights, gender equality, inclusive democratic governance and development. This includes work with the UNDP and the African Union on gender, women’s rights, and SRHR. From 2014 to 2017, she has worked as an independent national and international Legal Advisor with governments, civil society organizations and UN Agencies on increasing women's political participation, their access to justice and realization of human rights (including SRHR) through legal reform in Africa, the Asia-Pacific and Arab States regions. Since January 2018, she has joined Amnesty International as the Regional Youth and Activism Coordinator for Africa.
A passionate panafropolitan feminist, war resister and defender of "all human rights of all", Diakhoumba is fluent in French, English and Spanish. She is a national of Senegal and Belgium and lives in Dakar, Senegal. She is a member of the RESURJ alliance.
Sarah Mukasa is a pan Africanist feminist with over 15 years’ experience in leadership and management at senior levels in the not for profit sector in Africa and Europe. She is currently the Deputy Director at the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa where for the past 5 years she has strengthened the organisation’s support for feminist organizing in Eastern Africa. She has insisted on supporting local, autonomous organizing of women and gender non-conforming led initiatives with core support in order build institutional resilience.
She has also been pivotal in mobilizing support for continental feminist initiatives with OSF. Before joining OSIEA, Sarah was the Director of Programmes at the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) where she was instrumental in ensuring the growth of the organisation to become one of the largest women’s funds in Africa with a series of award winning and cutting edge programmes. Sarah has extensive experience in advocacy, policy development, resource mobilization, organizational development, programme management and movement building. She has written extensively on human rights, women’s rights, and is a founding member of highly influential initiatives such as African Women Leaders Institute and the African Feminist Forum.
Sarah has served on numerous boards and advisory bodies including the African Grantmakers Network, Akina Mama wa Afrika, Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), and the African Social Justice Philanthropy Group.
Veena Singh is a Fiji Islander, a feminist and a woman of colour. Veena was born and raised in a small rural town in Fiji and is of mixed ethnicity (her mum is an Indigenous Fijian woman and dad is Fijian of Indian descent). She is a feminist development practitioner and is a strong advocate of ‘shifting powers to create positive change’ and in ‘building an economy of kindness’. Her work experience has largely been in the areas of Human Rights, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion and she has more than 18 years of professional experience working specifically in women and children’s rights, Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325), Human Security, Community Development and Community Media. Veena has worked and volunteered for several Fiji-based NGOs before joining SPC- Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, FemLINKPacific, Fiji Red Cross and Save the Children (Fiji).
Additionally, Veena has worked on a wide range of development areas and issues, including Access to Justice, Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Women’s Political Participation, Leadership and in Decision Making, and more recently in the area of Gender Statistics. Her work has enabled her to work very closely with development practitioners, feminists, activists, government representatives, and peace practitioners across the Pacific, Asia, Europe, and African Region. Outside of the office, she likes to work on promoting and protecting the environment; raising awareness on positive mental health and wellbeing; and spending time on writing.
She is a mum to 11 cats, proud wearer of sarees and a collector of postcards. Veena is a thoughtful observer on the direction of feminist activities in Fiji and the Pacific region, and in her own organisations, and seeks, as she describes it, "to decolonise her mind and the ‘self’ through radical self-reflection" but more importantly for her, she cares about putting out more relatable writing that will connect her with the Pacific diaspora. Veena holds a Degree in Community Development with Murdoch University (Australia) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Policy with the Fiji National University
During her 38-year career, Debbie Stothard, has worked with diverse communities and activists to engage states, IGOs and other stakeholders throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas on human rights and justice. Her work is focused on the thematic priorities of business and human rights, atrocity prevention, and women’s leadership. Accordingly, she has either facilitated or been a resource person at nearly 300 training events in the past 15 years. Most of these were grassroots-oriented workshops delivered in the field, focused on human rights advocacy, economic literacy and business and human rights, and transitional justice and atrocity prevention. Her work in transitional justice and atrocity prevention has mainly focused on Burma/Myanmar, however she has provided advice on responses to other country situations around the world.
During 1981 – 1996, Debbie worked as a crime reporter, student organizer, policy analyst, academic, government advisor and food caterer in Malaysia and Australia while volunteering for human rights causes. In 1996, she founded ALTSEAN-Burma which spearheaded a range of innovative and empowering human rights programs. This includes ALTSEAN’s ongoing intensive leadership program for diverse young women from Burma, which in the past 22 years, has helped strengthen and expand women’s leadership in conflict-affected zones. She served as a member of the Board of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) for 9 years as Deputy Secretary-General (2010-2013) and Secretary-General (2013 – 2019) during which she promoted the mission and profile of FIDH at approximately 100 meetings and conferences per year.