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Public Voices Fellowship on Advancing the Rights of Women and Girls

To ensure gender equality becomes a reality for all women and girls in our evolving world, profound and transformational new ideas are needed in all industries and sectors across the globe. This requires fresh, bold, radical thinkers whose ideas break down the barriers that continue to hold women and girls back. 

Equality Now, The OpEd Project, and Senior Advisor Ann MacDougall are delighted to be in partnership in launching the inaugural Public Voices Fellowship on Advancing the Rights of Women and Girls. This global Fellowship is part of the OpEd Project’s Public Voices initiative to change who writes history and Equality Now’s mission to create a just world for all women and girls.

The OpEd Project is a social venture and leadership organization founded to change who writes history. Its programs elevate the ideas and knowledge of underrepresented expert voices to accelerate solutions to the world’s biggest problems – problems that cannot be solved justly or sustainably without a diversity of voices, expertise, experience, and identity. 

Announcing the 2022 Public Voices Fellowship on Advancing the Rights of Women and Girls

Twenty inspiring individuals have been selected for the 2022 fellowship out of hundreds of high-quality applicants from around the world.

The fellows represent a wide diversity of backgrounds, coming from places of expertise or unique personal experience and with fresh ideas about strengthening the rights of women and girls. 

Some are the voice of a new generation. Others offer insight gained from decades of experience. They represent a range of sectors and have a desire and ability to disrupt established assumptions and offer new ways of thinking, understanding, and doing. 

Please join us in congratulating the inaugural class of the Public Voices Fellowship on Advancing the Rights of Women and Girls!

Alimatu Dimonekene (she/her)

Award-winning pro-rights advocate & campaigner against FGM

Alimatu Dimonekene is an award-winning women’s and girls’ rights advocate. She is a tireless activist who has dedicated her life’s purpose to enhancing the reproductive rights of women and girls, especially those affected by harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation\cutting, child and early forced marriage, and other forms of gender-based discrimination and exploitation. 

She is the founder of A Girl At A Time (SL), a leading organization in Sierra Leone that engages, empowers, and educates young people on issues relating to gender-based violence and advocacy.

Alimatu was recognized as one of the 2018 Rosie McGrath Activists and was awarded the 2017 African Achievers Award for her leading work in raising the voices of African women and girls and empowering the next generation. 

Alimatu is on Twitter @TheAlima

Anastasia (Ana) Mbatia  (she/her) 

Agronomist, and Senior Technical Manager at Farm Africa

Ana’s areas of specialization include smallholder farmer development, climate change with a focus on smart agri-systems and agri-supply chains development. She currently leads the technical team at Farm Africa, providing technical direction and quality assurance to its projects, and is leading a technical working group in drafting the Gender and Social Inclusion Strategy.

Ana’s passion for smallholder farmers began as a young girl growing up in the agricultural rich highlands of Kenya, where, in 1983 a drought ravaged her village and dried up all food reserves, with women and children most affected. 

Ana is a champion for sustainable agriculture and has supported agriculture development in various roles in South Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda. Notable achievements include capacity building seminars for agriculture extension officers in Ethiopia and Tanzania, streamlining agro-inputs supply systems in Kenya, setting up the first agro distributorship company in newly independent South Sudan in 2011, and developing the first SMS agronomy directory (Farming Tips) in Kenya.

She is adept in key areas of agronomy, climate change, policy analysis, agri-input supply chains development, and women economic empowerment in agriculture. Ana sits in various regional committees on agriculture development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ana is on Twitter @anmbatia

Angie Palacios (she/her) 

Gender and Urban Mobility Specialist, Urban Development and Creative Economies Unit, CAF – Development Bank of Latin America

Angie Palacios is a Principal Specialist in Gender and Urban Mobility at CAF Development Bank of Latin America. She currently contributes to the development of strategies that aim at reducing inequality in Latin America with a focus on the intersectionality between infrastructure, gender, and other dimensions of inequality. 

Angie’s work focuses on the inclusion and mainstreaming of the gender perspective in urban transport projects and on promoting women and girls´ right to access the opportunities cities provide. She has successfully incorporated the collection, analysis, and use of gender and mobility data into studies and projects which have contributed to a better understanding of the matters of gender violence in public transport; the relationship between the perception of security and the urban environment; and the characterization of women’s daily mobility, particularly related to child and home care activities.

Throughout her career, Angie has acquired multidisciplinary experience that ranges from the promotion of rural economic development to the feasibility of introducing clean mobility, and the use of data and technology for public policy innovation. This has shaped her understanding of how the consideration of women and girls is often an after-thought in the sector. 

While she works towards replicating good practices across different contexts, she has also seen a major pitfall: the lack of evidenced-based data for inclusive policy design, an area where gender-disaggregated data or gender-sensitive data is non-existent. 

Angie was selected by the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) of the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) as one of the “Notable Women in the Transport Sector” in 2019. Angie holds a Master of International Affairs in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University in New York City and is accredited with the Gender Professional Credential from the GenderPro Alliance and George Washington University. Originally from Ecuador, she lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with her husband and baby boy.

Angie is on Twitter @angiepalaciosc

Prof. Debarati Halder (she/her)  

Professor of Law, Parul Institute of Law, Parul University, India & Founder, Center for Cyber Victim Counselling

Prof(Dr.) Debarati Halder is a professor of Law in Parul University, Gujarat, India. She is the founder of Centre for Cyber Victim Counselling (CCVC), an online NGO and a think-tank for helping victims of internet and digital communication crime victims. 

She is the first law professor in India to introduce Therapeutic Jurisprudence as a subject in credit courses to LLB students. She is also the first in India to create a draft model law on prohibiting Revenge Porn in India, and is the first globally to author a text book on Cyber-Victimology. 

In 2019, for her scholarly work and creating awareness on cyber crimes against women, Debarati was awarded the “Webwonderwomen Award” by India’s Ministry of Women & Children Affairs and Twitter, and the “TechNext India 2019 Best Faculty of the Year” award by Computer Society of India, Mumbai Chapter. 

Debarati is the founding secretary of the South Asian Society of Criminology and Victimology (SASCV), and on the Board of Trustees for the International Society of Therapeutic Jurisprudence

Debarati has authored seven books on cyber victimology, cybercrimes against women and laws, child sexual abuse, and laws. She has edited two books on therapeutic jurisprudence and human rights, published many scholarly articles, and has internationally peer-reviewed journals and edited book chapters. 

She holds a PhD degree in Law from the National Law School of India University, (NLSIU) Bangalore, India, a Master’s degree in Constitutional Law and International Law from the University of Madras, and an L.L.B degree from the University of Calcutta. 

Debarati is on Twitter @DrDebaratiH

Doris Li (she/her) 

Legal Operations Specialist, Meta; Co-Founder, PrivaZy Collective

Raised in California by immigrant parents from China, Doris is now an immigrant herself in London. 

Her day job is protecting people’s legal rights on Meta’s products. Outside of work, she’s heavily involved in tech ethics spaces such as All Tech is Human and LookUp.live. She’s the co-founder of PrivaZy Collective, a community-centered movement to raise awareness about and address the online privacy issues of Generation Z. PrivaZy’s work focuses on the most marginalized groups, such as BIPOC women, who are also the most surveilled online. 

Doris studied politics and English at Wellesley College, where she fell in love with writing and spoken word poetry. Her writings and advocacy efforts are deeply rooted in her identity. Her previous publications include a Boston Globe op-ed about “pain competitions” among members of immigrant families like her own. 

She’s particularly interested in how women’s identities are affected by and perceived through different entities, such as families, corporations, and societies. Drawing from her own experiences with beauty and diversity, she looks forward to writing about the intersection of women’s beauty standards with immigration, cultural background, and age, and how these convergences affect women’s power in physical and digital spaces.

Doris can be found on Twitter @lijiangmeii

Elizabeth Mang’eni (she/her) 

Senior Trade Development Officer at the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Kenya; co-founder of You4She Initiative

Elizabeth Mang’eni is the co-founder of the You4She Initiative, founded to promote disability advocacy and menstrual hygiene education among adolescent girls in Kenya. She is also a Senior Trade Development Officer with the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development in Kenya, and holds a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovations Management from the University of Nairobi.

Elizabeth has dedicated her career to empowering women and girls with disabilities by promoting local small entrepreneurship, inclusive job skills training, and programs that educate persons with disabilities about business management and savings. 

She is passionate about entrepreneurship because it gives her the risk to push her capabilities to see the development and change she seeks to have in her society. Elizabeth is a self-disability advocate who writes about her life with a physical disability as an amputee.

Elizabeth is an alumnus of several programs: the 2019 US Professional Fellows Program on Inclusive Disability Employment, the 2018 Australian Awards Africa Fellowship Program, the 2017 US Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, and the 2016 Young Africa Leadership Initiative Regional Leadership Centre. These programs have enabled her to expand her work on inclusive employment and rights support for women and girls with disabilities.

Elizabeth is on Twitter @mangenieliza

Emmanuel Oyier (he/him) 

Communications and Advocacy Manager at Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET)

Emmanuel Oyier supports communications and advocacy efforts at Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET), an indigenous non-profit organization that champions maternal, sexual, reproductive health, and women’s rights among underserved communities in Kisumu County, Kenya.

Emmanuel interacts with hundreds of vulnerable women and girls at the grassroots whose rights are denied or abused through discrimination and inequality in the service delivery, social practices, access to financial resources, and leadership opportunities. He is invested in efforts that raise women’s voices through active and informed participation in local governance, and demand for quality health services, among other rights.

He also supports the synergy of civil society organizations that advocate for women’s rights and gender justice by establishing networks to address policy issues through advocacy.

He believes that creating a supportive policy environment is a key and sustainable strategy to promote the economic, social, and cultural rights of women.

Emmanuel was born and raised in the Lakeside region of Kenya among the Luo, a patriarchal community-like many others in the country and region. He holds a degree in Communications and Media Technology from Maseno University in Kenya.

Farah Qaiser (she/her) 

Director of Research and Policy, Evidence for Democracy; Leadership Team Member, 500 Women Scientists

Farah Qaiser trained as a genomics researcher, before taking a detour into the world of policy. Currently, she serves as the Director of Research and Policy at Evidence for Democracy, a non-partisan non-profit dedicated to promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada. 

Farah takes part in various outreach, communication and policy activities to help make a difference and build an engaging and inclusive science culture in North America. Farah co-founded the Toronto Science Policy Network, has written about science for various media outlets (including Forbes), and continues to organize Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons to edit and create pages about scientists belonging to historically excluded communities. 

In 2024, Farah will release with Hajer Nakua her first children’s picture book, Khadija and The Elephant Toothpaste Experiment, to be published by Second Story Press.

Farah serves on 500 Women Scientists’ Leadership Team, Let’s Talk Science’s Board of Directors, and the Canada Chief Science Advisor’s Youth Council. 

She holds a Master of Science in Molecular Genetics and a Bachelor of Science, both from the University of Toronto. Previously, Farah worked as a researcher at the University Health Network’s Epilepsy Genetics Clinic, where she used genome sequencing to better understand epilepsies.

Farah can be found on Twitter @this_is_farah

Dr. Gurpreet Kaur (she/her) 

PhD in Gender and Postcolonial Literature 

Dr. Gurpreet Kaur is interested in the interconnections between gender, human rights law, and counter-terrorism. Her work has also examined postcolonial ecofeminism, films and television, and South Asian fiction. 

Gurpreet has published extensively in these fields and has co-edited a book on Southeast Asian ecologies, as well as presenting her research at several international conferences. She has been invited to conduct workshops on different aspects of postcolonial ecofeminism internationally. 

She is in the midst of a career change from academia to policy work. She is currently pursuing her second Masters in Law under the specialization of Human Rights, Conflict, and Justice at SOAS, University of London. 

She received her B.A. (Hons) and M.A. degrees from the National University of Singapore. Ans holds a Ph.D. in Gender and Postcolonial Literature from the University of Warwick. Gurpreet is also an endometriosis survivor and a fierce advocate for endometriosis awareness and its impacts on women’s lives, particularly endometriosis and disability in the Asian context.

Horia Faizi Sardarzada (she/her)  

Head of Department for Gender and Women’s Programs with Afghanistan Economic & Legal Studies Organization (AELSO)

Horia Faizi Sardarzada is an Afghan woman leader advocating for Afghan girls and women’s rights through academic discussions, media programs, and community development initiatives. 

She is currently working as Head of Department for Gender and Women’s Programs with Afghanistan Economic & Legal Studies Organization (AELSO), an independent think-tank and a grass root organization working for prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan while promoting modern values of a free society. 

Previously, Horia worked as Director-General of women’s economic empowerment and child care at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Afghanistan. She also served as Deputy Program Director of Women’s Economic Empowerment in the national priority program of the World Bank, and as an expert on gender with UN Women at the Office of the Afghan President on UN Affairs, where she provided assistance on carrying out the gender-related issues of the One UN Agenda in Afghanistan. 

Horia served as a board member for the youth’s high council at the White Assembly in Afghanistan, and as a board member of Women’s Initiatives for Sustainable Energy (WISE), where she helped educate young women on energy efficiency and promoted women’s empowerment in the energy sector. Horia served as a WEP Asia Global Citizen Fellow for the Ban ki Moon Center for Global Citizens in Vienna-Austria. She has also worked with different projects of USAID as a youth program producer and media trainer between 2008-2012. Horia holds a Master’s of Arts in Linguistics, as well as a Master’s in Gender and Women’s Studies.

Jorie Dugan (she/her) 

International human rights lawyer and Legal Advisor at Equality Now  

Jorie Dugan is a Legal Advisor for Equality Now, an international NGO founded to advocate for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls, where she specifically works on ending sexual violence, ending sexual exploitation, ending harmful practices, and achieving legal equality. 

Jorie is a licensed lawyer in New York and a former public defender with experience in criminal court, family court, and human trafficking intervention court.  Additionally, she has worked for human rights NGOs in Asia, Africa, and North America to address gender equality and combat gender-based violence. 

Jorie is the recipient of the New York City Trial Lawyers Alliance Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy, the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Student Award,

Jorie’s writing has been published in Ms.Magazine, and she has been invited to speak on issues relating to women’s rights for a wide range of audiences, including before The White House Gender Policy Council.  

Jorie works to defend and advance the rights of women and girls whether it be on an individual, local, regional or global level and she envisions a world where all women and girls realize the full enjoyment of their human rights, and have equal ease of access to resources, opportunities, and are able to live a life free from discrmination and violence. She holds a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a B.S. from Barnard College of Columbia University. 

Jorie is on Twitter at @thejoried

Liz Bell (she/her) 

Freelance writer and creative producer 

Liz Bell is a neurodivergent poet, writer, and creative producer based in the Forest of Dean in the UK. With an academic and professional background in science communication, media production, and PR, she now works as a freelance copywriter and editor for the public and non-profit sectors, and as a creative producer for various community arts charities.

Alongside her freelance work, she enjoys writing poetry with and for underrepresented and/or marginalized people and communities on themes including aging, neurodiversity, and gender equality. She is a passionate advocate for the power of creative writing to inspire, motivate and unite people and communities of all ages and backgrounds.

Her poetry has been shared with a wide range of audiences through many channels, from being sewn into a fabric parade banner by a local dementia support group, to being performed on Zoom to an international audience by Oscar-nominated actress Melissa McCarthy.

Liz is a proud supporter of her local voluntary sector, including in her role as a trustee of Forest of Dean-based care charity The Orchard Trust, and through her membership of the Barnwood Trust Creating Change Programme, a peer learning network designed to catalyze positive change for people with disabilities and mental health challenges in Gloucestershire.

Manju Adikesavan (she/her) 

PhD Candidate in Environmental Psychology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Manju Adikesavan is an architect, urban planner, and environmental psychologist interested in how mobile internet services and portable devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets are transforming people-place interactions, be it participating in civic affairs and local governance, or conducting activities such as working and learning. 

In previous projects, Manju has examined the usage of public participatory geographic information systems in metropolitan transportation planning in New York and New Jersey, and the role of community wireless networks in enabling access to free broadband internet in New York City. 

Manju’s ongoing doctoral research focuses on how mobile technology-enabled hybrid and remote work arrangements are reshaping the “9 to 5” office-based work environment and altering the mobility and land use patterns of neighborhoods, cities, and metropolitan regions. Other ongoing projects include a case study of how hybrid and remote learning, teaching, and research practices are reshaping the function, usage, and design of New York City university campuses. 

Manju’s research focuses on the experiences of vulnerable populations with the goal of creating inclusive and equitable designs, plans, and policies for the built environment. She recently completed research on workspace support systems and policies for supporting workers who rely on hotdesks, and temporary workstations available on a “first come first served basis,” to conduct work. 

During her fellowship, Manju plans to write about how the environmental needs of women interact with the space and time demands of hybrid and remote working and advocate for plans and policies that create an equitable work environment for women. 

Manju can be found on Twitter @ManjuAdikesavan

Manjula Pradeep (she/her)

Lawyer, Dalit women’s rights activist, co-founder and chairperson of Wise Act of Youth Visioning and Engagement (WAYVE) Foundation

Manjula Pradeep is a human rights activist who has spent the past three decades working for the rights of marginalized communities in India, in particular Dalits and women. She is the Director of Campaigns at the Dalit Human Rights Defenders Network which focuses on combatting negligence in violation of Dalit human rights and ensuring that the anti-discrimination mechanism is properly and completely implemented. 

Manjula represents issues of caste and gender-based violence and discrimination in the United Nations and European Parliament. She is the former co-chair of the International Dalit Solidarity Network and has taken up cases of extreme forms of violence and atrocities against women and Dalits, in particular sexual violence on minor girls and women from marginalized communities.

In 2018, Manjula co-founded Wise Act of Youth Visioning and Engagement (WAYVE) Foundation, whose mission is to guide, handhold, and transform the lives of women activists and youth leaders; enabling them to build their leadership and support them in setting up community-based organizations to empower and serve their communities at the grassroots.

She is also the former Executive Director of Navsarjan Trust, one of the largest Dalit rights organizations in Gujarat, India.

In 2021, Manjula co-founded National Council of Women Leaders and is the National Convenor working across India, uniting women and trans-women leaders from marginalized communities and providing them a platform where they can have their own identities, a voice, and can boldly represent what they stand for. 

She holds a Masters in Social Work from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, and a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Gujarat University.

Manjula can be found on Twitter @ManjulaHPradeep

Mercedes Garcia (she/her) 

Community Organizer & Founder, International Native Nations Network, LLC.

Mercedes Garcia is a citizen of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and grew up in Continental, Arizona. She was raised by community and grassroots organizing, which continue to ground and drive her work and advocacy efforts today. 

She earned her J.D. and LLM in Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Mercedes first served her tribe as a Deputy Prosecutor, helping to implement Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (SDVCJ) under the 2014 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization, which authorized federally recognized tribes to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence crimes committed against tribal citizens on tribal lands. She also co-developed the first-ever trial advocacy training for tribal practitioners following the 2014 Reauthorization to assist other tribal nations to implement SDVCJ in their communities.  

Later, while working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, she led and championed an Obama Initiative – Tiwahe (family in the Lakota. Dakota, and Nakoda languages) – and formulated partnerships with and among six tribal communities that represent 61 federally recognized American Indian & Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes. 

With these communities, Mercedes developed, formulated, and led out what Tiwahe is today – a tribally-led program that coordinates tribal social services, tribal courts, housing, and workforce programming grounded in the cultures, languages, and traditions of each community. She is most proud that these relationships, friendships, and partnerships continue to exist and grow today.

She is a recent entrepreneur, forming her own company to uplift and empower Native peoples, communities, and organizations. With these communities, she continues to lead out the call for action to law & policymakers that she formulated under Tiwahe – to change laws & policies that continue to leave Native peoples behind across every well-being aspect from physical, social, and emotional well-being to economic mobility.

Mercedes was raised by a single mother in a multi-generational household to whom she credits her tenacity, humor, grit, and unfettering belief that we can do anything to which we set our minds.

Mercedes is on Twitter @pytmerc

Natika Kantaria (she/her)

Communications Professional 

Natika has spent nearly a decade working in non-governmental and international organizations. She comes from Abkhazia, an occupied territory of Georgia. The challenges she experienced stemming from her family being forced to leave home and move to another place led her to become a human rights campaigner, and this inspires her to want to communicate the needs of diverse communities at the local and international levels. 

Natika has a successful record in planning and implementing awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns in the field of human rights, rule of law, and democracy within the framework of the projects funded by the Council of Europe, European Union, USAID, SIDA, OSF, NDI.  

Throughout her professional career, Natika strengthened her expertise in strategic and crisis communication, campaigning, community engagement, content development, and social media management.

Natika holds two Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Communication and a Bachelor’s in journalism. She is a professional trainer advocating hope-based communication, and the need for incorporating human rights-based approaches in communication and activity planning. She is passionate about promoting the rights of women and girls. She believes in the power of unity and support.

Nakita can be found on Twitter @NatikaKantaria

Nora Noralla (she/her)

Researcher and Human Rights Consultant

Nora Noralla is an Egyptian human rights researcher and consultant focusing mainly on issues of sexual and bodily freedoms, along with Islamic Sharia and human rights in the MENA region. 

Her engagement with the human rights field started in the wake of the 25th of January revolution in Egypt. She has worked in different NGOs including the Cairo 52 Legal Research Institute, Human Rights Watch, Article 19, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

She holds a Masters degree in Human Rights Law from the Central European University and has authored numerous articles and publications, including “One True Sharia: A Historical Background” and “El Karakhana: History of Sex Working in Modern Egypt between Legalization and Criminalization”.

Nora is on Twitter @NoraNoralla

Dr. Tamanika Ferguson (she/her) 

Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Maryland 

Dr. Tamanika Ferguson is a first-generation college graduate and non-traditional PhD from sunny southern California. ​Like all academics, Tamanika is an academic apprentice working on her craft as a researcher, writer, author, and teacher. She loves to unpack ideas and create a body of work that will have a meaningful communal impact.

Currently, Tamanika is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland. Her current book project: Voices from the Inside: Incarcerated Women Speak is motivated by a desire to chronicle justice-involved women’s experiences in relation to carceral justice. 

Through a critical lens, Tamanika elevates the voices of unheard narratives by creating conversations in her work about the complex social environment that incarcerated women in California must navigate, including the persistent inequality and dehumanization they face. 

While in residence at UMD, she has been awarded several grants, including an  AAUW American Fellowship, President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, ARHU Special Purpose Innovation Grant, and ORWAC Research Development Grant to support her projects.

Tamanika earned a doctorate in Communication, Culture, and Media Studies with a joint graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from Howard University in Washington, DC, and holds a Masters in Africana Studies and Sociology and a BA in Africana Studies from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

In her personal life, she is a trained yoga teacher and a wellness practitioner. She enjoys cultural immersion trips, photography,  adventure sports, karaoke, traveling, cooking, reading, dancing, bonding with family and friends, and flirting with social media.

Tamanika is on Twitter @thiswomanwrites and can also be found online.

Victoria Xiu Wang (she/they) 

Senior Analyst, Development Innovation at Global Affairs Canada

Victoria Xiu Wang is a researcher, writer, and speaker on technology policy for the public good. As Senior Innovation Analyst at Global Affairs Canada, she contributes to policies, advocacy, and programs leveraging digital and emerging technologies to advance Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. 

Victoria directed the research of two publications on responsible artificial intelligence (AI) with the International Development Innovation Alliance. Previously a management consultant at Accenture, she has extensive cross-sectoral experience in digital transformation, organizational strategy, and human-centered design.

Victoria received their BA from Wellesley College and a Masters from McGill University in experimental and behavioral economics. They have also studied at the University of Oxford and Sciences-Po Paris, worked in Hong Kong and India, and conducted analytics research at MIT Sloan School of Management. Victoria serves as the Co-Chairperson of the Board of Directors at Capital Pride/La Fierté dans la Capitale, creating opportunities to celebrate, advocate, educate and connect the National Capital Region’s 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Weaam Mokhtar (she/her)

Writer and researcher 

Weaam Mokhtar is a writer, researcher, and social activist, specializing in gender and sexuality, with a prominent history working in human rights and civil society. A feminist with a passion for research, Weaam is an ardent believer in gender equality, human rights, and the importance of civic engagement. 

Weaam’s research is focused on sexuality and gender in the Middle East and the transformations that happened after waves of the Arab uprisings, along with regularly contributing writing research to several regional and international media outlets. She previously worked as a communications advisor for regional figures and organizations, and was recently the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights regional coordinator for a sexuality education pan-Arab organization. 

Weaam finds inspiration whenever she works with women on achieving their rights and pushing for their freedoms, changing perceptions of women’s bodies through the processes of learning and healing, and creating safe spaces to share knowledge and document their stories. 

Weaam was a member of the steering committee for “Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies” (CSBR) seed grants during 2021 and volunteered for two years with UN Women as a core team member in Her Story initiative to tighten the gender knowledge gap in the Arabic Wikipedia in 2018 to 2020.

Weaam studied Economics and Political Sciences focused on Public Administration and is currently studying gender studies. She believes that contributing to the foundational knowledge and helping to build narratives from within the Arab context and history is essential for the coming generations of women and their allies to build on to break the hegemonic, Western discourse about the global South. 

Weaam can be found on Twitter @we2am