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SGP Committees

SGP’s leadership includes four standing committees, each led by two elected Co-Chairs. Committee Co-Chairs serve two-year terms and are elected in alternating years. All interested members are welcome to join and contribute to committee activities.

SGP’s standing committees are dedicated to the following areas of the organizations work. 

1. Diversity and Inclusion 

2. Solidarity Program and Partnerships

 3. Membership and Nominations

 4. Events and Professional Development

Read more about each committee below. Have a suggestion for committees?

                                                               Use this form if you would like to join TODAY!

        Email us at info@genderprofessionals.org

 

Solidarity program and Partnerships Committee

The Solidarity Program & Partnerships Committee works to find opportunities for the SGP to move away from a US-centric focus and create mutually reinforcing relationships with local feminist and gender professional networks around the world. The Committee also works hand-in-hand  with the Secretariat to put in place partnerships with global and local feminist organizations for the Solidarity Initiative.
Solidarity program and Partnerships Committee

Membership and Nominations Committee

The Membership and Nominations Committee organizes elections under the supervision of the Parliamentarian. The Nominations Committee includes members for at least one year, and are not currently holding elected office or serving on the Advisory Council. It is the duty of this committee to call for nominations for the office from the Membership, as well as to seek at least one (1) candidate for each office for which no nominations were received, when that situation arises. The Membership and Nominations Committee is currently vacant.
Membership and Nominations Committee

Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The Diversity & Inclusion Committee works to increase the diversity of SGP's membership and ensure that SGP activities and communications are inclusive of our diverse membership. This includes advising on SGP technology and web accessibility, promoting inclusive outreach and nomination practices, and reviewing communications and other practices for implicit bias. The Committee also advises on ways to increase diversity and inclusion within the gender profession.
Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Event and Professional Development Committee

The Events and Professional Development Committee provides professional development opportunities to SGP members, including events and activities to promote networking, collaboration, mentoring, and leadership for gender academics, practitioners, and activists, The Committee tracks and analyzes the stated needs of SGP members and proposes ( and plans) structures and activities to meet these needs.
Event and Professional Development Committee

Elise Do (she/her)

Treasurer

Elise Do is a seasoned technology executive with a wealth of experience in the data domain, particularly within financial and banking institutions. Throughout her extensive career in Information Technology, she has gained a deep understanding of gender-related issues in the industry. She has actively worked towards breaking barriers and fostering an environment of inclusivity and diversity.

Elise’s commitment to empowering others is evident in her professional endeavors and extensive involvement in the non-profit sector.

Her training as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer underscores her passion for making a positive impact beyond the corporate world.

By dedicating her time and expertise to advocate for children in foster care, Elise exemplifies her unwavering commitment to serving her community and creating a brighter future for those in need. Her multifaceted contributions, both within her professional career and through her philanthropic efforts, speak volumes about her character and dedication to making a difference in the lives of others.

 
Sonia 2

Sonia Ruiz García

Secretariat-at-Large

Sonia Ruiz García, Ph.D, graduated in Political Science and Administration and completed her MA in Political Science Advanced Studies at the Autonomous University in Barcelona (Spain). She has worked as a policy officer in the European Women’s Lobby in Brussels and as a political adviser in Spanish Ministers’ Cabinets. As part of the civil servant corps of the government of the province of Barcelona, Sonia has served in a range of positions, including as director of the equality plan. Sonia has a wide background in teaching university and practitioner courses. Her PhD thesis (2013) analyses the concept of work in the women’s and feminist movement in Spain and was awarded the biannual Maria Angeles Duran second prize for Scientific Innovation in the field of Spanish Women’s and Gender Studies (2014). She is the author of a number of articles and publications. Her research focuses on feminism and equality, public policy, social movements and labour issues. Sonia was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice at Oxford Brookes University where she also was a Research associate. Currently she is the director of Gender Services and Time Policies in Barcelona City Council where her team was awarded a prize on public policy innovation for starting the gender impact assessment of local tax policies. Sonia has been active in several feminist and community organisations and is always keen on participating in social change activism. She has a daughter, Vera.

Dr. Kristy Kelly (She/Her)

Former Co-President

Kristy Kelly is a sociologist specializing in gender and development, policy and politics, transnational feminisms, gender mainstreaming, and social change in Southeast Asia. She is currently assistant clinical professor of global and international education at Drexel University and Associate Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University. Kristy teaches courses on gender mainstreaming, education diplomacy, gender and development in Southeast Asia and qualitative research methods. She has published on gender and education leadership, gender mainstreaming policy, gender and corruption, and post-socialist transition in Vietnam. She also consults and advises on gender and development issues for multilateral and humanitarian aid organizations such as UNESCO, The Asia Foundation, and Transparency International in Asia and Africa. Kristy serves as an Expert Advisor on Gender Mainstreaming to the United Nations, and is a Fulbright Core Specialist on Gender Equality. She received her BA from Pennsylvania State University, and MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Karine Lepillez

Karine Lepillez

SGP Founder and Advisory Council

Karine Lepillez is Deputy Chief of Party for USAID Gender LEAD. She was formerly Global Director for Gender Equality and Girls’ Education at Room to Read and Director for Gender Policy & Practice at Navanti Group, a conflict and peacebuilding research firm. She has led and supported the operationalization of gender equality policies around the world, including as Principal of Inclusive Societies, where she worked with the World Bank, the United Nations, the U.S. Government, and other donors and implementing partners to address structural barriers to gender equality. A former USAID Gender Advisor in Pakistan, Karine designed the Mission’s Gender Equality and Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response Strategy and managed strategic partnerships to implement the U.S. Women, Peace and Security National Action Plan. Karine is the founder of the Society of Gender Professionals (SGP), a non-profit organization of gender practitioners, academics, and activists dedicated to promoting feminist action and applied research, and raising the profile of gender expertise around the world. She teaches courses at Georgetown on gender policy, mainstreaming and advocacy, as a part of the Institute for Women Peace and Security.

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A photo of Brenna, a white person with short hair and glasses, standing by a rocky coastline above the ocean

Bren Kutch (they/them)

Advisory Council, former Co-President

Bren has spent their career in human resources, organizational equity and inclusion, and administration. This experience includes time with Portland State University, Mercy Corps, USAID, and volunteering for various LGBTQI+, gender, and social justice organizations. They also hold a Masters of Public Administration in HR Management from Portland State University.

Ritu

Ritu Gupta (She/Her)

Advisory Council, Former Co-President

Ritu is based in Kolkata, India and is currently working as a Programme Manager with Gender at Work, an international feminist knowledge network. She has researched and written extensively on gender-related issues including, gender identities, child marriage, and domestic workers’ rights, amongst others. Ritu holds a Masters in Gender and Development from IDS, Sussex. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Six Sigma Green Belt (on process improvement) practitioner.

Titilola Olojede

Secretary

Vani 2024

Vani Bhardwaj

Co-President

Vani Bhardwaj is an intersectional feminist researcher-activist. She traverses the intersections of gender-based violence and feminist climate action in her movement-building, research, and writing. She volunteers her time across various transnational feminist networks and collectives in myriad capacities. She is addicted to volunteering and considers herself a lifelong learner.

Salomi

Salomi Christie

Parliamentarian

Salomi Christie is a multi-hyphenate professional with training and experience at the intersection of human rights, law, research, design and allied spheres. Out beyond ideas of disciplines and expertise, there is a field. You’ll often meet her there, trying to connect dots, making meaning alongside copious notes and learning something new.

She also co-leads the SGP Employment & Peer Support Circle and is currently engaged in trans-disciplinary pursuits and projects.

Taitu Heron (She/Her)

Events & Professional Development Committee Co-Lead

Taitu Heron is a Senior Development Professional working in rights-based
development planning in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean where she
leads training, designs GESI tools, develops policies, and conducts applied
research for governments, international development partners and CSOs
at the intersection of human rights, inclusion and development planning.
Her thematic areas of expertise include gender-based violence, gender
and labour participation, LGBTQ+ inclusion, youth empowerment, and
inclusive data capture and analysis.

She holds a BSc in International Relations and Spanish (UWI), a MPhil in
Development Studies (Cantab), and several professional certifications in
leadership, project management, Spanish and applied research.

Taitu is Technical Advisor and Resource Mobilisation Lead for
LeadHERship Institute (Barbados); Technical Director for WE-Change
Jamaica and also works as Lead Research Consultant for the Equality
Fund.

Yona Nestel (she/they)

Advisory Council

Yona is a values driven feminist collaborator who brings together global leaders, national policy makers and grassroots activists to drive action for inclusive quality education and to tackle the root causes of gender inequality. She is strategic, collaborative and innovative with a proven track record of transforming global commitments on gender equality into tangible actions and impact. She is experienced working within, as well as leading, multi-stakeholder initiatives and ensuring that partnerships are nurtured through building solidarity and consensus, while navigating and addressing existing power structures that may hinder meaningful change. As a recognized global gender equality and education advocate and programming expert, with nearly 20 years of experience advising and managing education programs and advocacy initiatives, her main areas of interest and expertise include gender transformative education, education policy and planning and grassroots advocacy, campaigning & coalition building. 

Ndirangu Ngunjiri (he/him)

Solidary & Partnerships committee Co-Lead

FA Ndirangu Ngunjiri is a managing partner at Watermark Financial Consultants and a Doctoral
(Finance & Accounting) fellow at the University of Nairobi in Finance with specialization in
theoretical and empirical work on investments; public-private partnership, climate finance, and
price formation in capital markets with experience over 17 years. Also, he is the chairperson of
the ministerial audit committee Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, a member of the
investments and financial securities committee at the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), and
an executive audit committee member at Nairobi City County.
FA Ndirangu is a full member of the Institute of Directors, Institute of Internal Auditors, Institute
of Certified Financial Analysts (ICIFA), and Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) amongst
others. He enjoyed rock climb, forest adventures, and mountain climbing last year climbed Mt
Kilimanjaro for the third time.

Dr. Kate Rowe, MSN, CNM, DNP (she/they)

Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Lead

Kate is a New Zealand expat who lives near Seattle, USA with her wife and sons. She is a Nurse Midwife working exclusively with people in marginalized bodies with a focus on maternal health and inclusive reproductive healthcare practices. 
 
Kate earned her Masters degree in 2018 with a specialty in Nurse Midwifery from Seattle University focusing on moral injury and burnout within the Midwifery profession. Completing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Healthcare Leadership in 2020, graduating again from Seattle University, she specializes in improving LGBTQ patient care through increasing provider education.
 
Her professional focuses remain on equity and inclusion within the healthcare industry, teaching and precepting students, widening feminist conceptual frameworks and disseminating original research. 

Marina Csikos (she/her)

Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Lead

Marina Csikós is a Roma feminist and dedicated gender equality professional. Born and raised in Hungary as a Roma woman, she embodies a passion for social justice that has led her to impactful professional roles. Marina gained her master’s education at the Central European University in Critical Gender Studies, where she focused her research on intersectional justice and feminist knowledge production. Throughout her career, she has worked with European intergovernmental institutions, foundations, civil society organizations and art institutions, where she focused on amplifying feminist values and intersectional perspectives. Marina’s mission is to challenge the multiple forms of discrimination and oppression that BIPOC women and girls face and to promote diversity and inclusion at all spheres of life.

Sidita Zaja (she/her)

Membership & Nominations Committee Co-Lead

Hailing originally from Albania and now making waves in Europe, Sidita Zaja is a dynamic force in the realms of law, human rights, and feminism. Armed with a foundational Law degree from the University of Tirana, she further sharpened her expertise with an LLM in Public International Law and Human Rights from the prestigious Riga Graduate School of Law. Notably, Sidita proudly stands as the founder of Albania’s pioneering LGBT organization, Aleanca kunder diskriminimit LGBT ne Shqiperi, and the trailblazing Shelter Streha LGBT.

With an illustrious 12-year journey championing human rights in Albania, Sidita’s relentless pursuit of knowledge led her to the European Law LLM program, specializing in Commercial Law at Europa Kolleg, University of Hamburg. This multidisciplinary trajectory equips her uniquely, enabling a holistic lens to dissect complex challenges by melding legal intricacies with overarching societal dynamics.

Passionate about weaving principles of integrity, compassion, and equity into every endeavor, Sidita envisions a world harmonized by justice and sustainability. As she pivots her focus toward environmental imperatives, her holistic perspective underscores the interwoven tapestry of human rights and ecological responsibility. Her fervor for a just society resonates deeply, driving her to bridge principles with profession, catalyzing a brighter, equitable future for all.

An ardent advocate for gender equity, Sidita aligns seamlessly with the Society of Gender Professionals (SGP), a global nexus championing feminist action, research, and expertise. The SGP’s emphasis on intersectional gender analysis echoes her comprehensive approach, emphasizing the intricate layers of gender, policy, and practice. Sidita’s dedication extends beyond advocacy; she recognizes the profound implications of the gender leadership gap, underscoring its pivotal role in global progress. For Sidita, addressing this chasm is not merely a quest for parity but a transformative stride toward unlocking the boundless potential of women worldwide.

Dr Madeleine Pape (she/her)

Advisory Council

Dr Madeleine Pape (she/her) is a sociologist at the University of Lausanne’s Institute of Social

Sciences. Following her career as an Olympic athlete for Australia (Beijing Olympic Games,

Athletics, 800m), she obtained her PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since March

2022, Madeleine has been employed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to support

the organization’s policy work around the inclusion of transgender athletes and athletes with

natural sex variations. Here, her work is informed by both her research and her experience of

competing alongside South African Olympic champion Caster Semenya at the 2009 World

Championships in Berlin. Madeleine’s primary area of research examines debates surrounding

how “sex” is defined in national legislation and policies for inclusion in sport and biomedical

research, including the role of feminist mobilization. Her research and policy expertise also

encompasses the promotion of gender equality in international sports governance. Her work has

been published in leading international journals and has received support from the US National

Science Foundation, Australian Research Council, Swiss National Science Foundation, and

Olympic Studies Centre.

Di Wang (she/her)

Advisory Council

Di Wang is the Deputy Director of the W.O.W. Project, an arts and anti-gentrification organization in New York City that centers women, queer, non-binary, and trans Asian youth as leaders working to grow and protect Chinatown’s creative culture. A feminist researcher and community organizer, Di has worked in program design, donor advocacy and participatory research to move resources to the frontlines of social change. Prior to W.O.W., Di was a senior program officer at FRIDA |The Young Feminist Fund where she co-led FRIDA’s participatory grantmaking processes and also implemented a funding plus model for young feminist organizers and collectives in global majority countries. She holds a PhD in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin−Madison. Her research focuses on how LGBTQ and feminist activists mobilize art, cultural lineage and family discourse to sustain social movement. Her work has been published in Journal of Contemporary China, Law & Social Inquiry, China Law and Society Review, Qualitative Inquiry, ChinaFile, lambda nordica, and elsewhere.

Laxman Belbase (no pronouns)

Advisory Council

I currently work as one of the Co-Directors of MenEngage Alliance, where I co-lead overall operations, strategic directions and political advocacy, and support the regional and country networks of the Alliance worldwide. Originally from Nepal, I have more than 20 years of experience in strategic planning and organisational management; programs development, technical support, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, learning and accountability, and advocacy for women’s rights, working with men and boys in gender justice, & child rights. In my professional life I have worked with and provided technical support to various Human Right I/NGOs, UN Agencies and Governments across various parts of the world, specifically South and Central Asia, Sub-Sahara Africa, Middle East, Europe, North America, and Caribbean regions.

 

Prior to MenEngage Alliance I worked at Save the Children Sweden for 7 years where I was a core group member that worked to put in place the Gender Equality Policy for Save the Children International and developed Gender Integration Toolkit for the agency as well as provided technical and capacity strengthening support to country and regional offices around the world. Prior to that I worked in a national NGO in Nepal, Forum for Protection of Public Interest (Pro Public), where I worked in the areas of Gender Equality, HIV/Aids stigma reduction, Good Governance and Anti-Corruption as well as Administrator of the organization. I also contributed to the development of the National Action Plan on HIV/AIDS, back in 2006 while working in partnership with UNAIDS in Nepal. I am passionate about decolonising evidence-based promising innovations and scaling up, along with strong advocacy and evaluation skills.

 

My primary areas of expertise are in the areas of transforming masculinities and working with men and boys in gender equality, child protection, violence prevention, fatherhood, & sexual & reproductive health & rights, with demonstrated abilities to provide strategic leadership to advocate and provide technical support. I have conducted awareness raising and capacity strengthening with and for the people in positions of power across various government and UN agencies, including the UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS). I was a member of the group that led the very first National Action Plan on ending GBV in Nepal in 2010, working closely with the Prime Minister’s Office and UK Aid Agency.

 

In my voluntary capacity, I am a member of the Leadership Council of the Global Women’s Institute as well as a member of the UN Spotlight Initiative’s Global Civil Society Global Reference Group (GRG). I am a part-time faculty at the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, Washington DC-USA, teaching a course on “Masculinities in International Affairs”.

Dr. Christopher Isike (he/him)

Advisory Council

Christopher Isike, PhD, is a Professor of African Politics and International Relations and Head, Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria. He is also the Director of the African Centre for the Study of the United States, University of Pretoria (ACSUS-UP). He serves as the current President of the African Association of Political Science (AAPS), and member of the Board of Directors of Global Development Network (GDN).

Professor Isike conducts research from an Africanist lens, and teaches international relations theory, strategic and security studies, and security theory at the University of Pretoria. His research interests include African soft power politics, women, peace and conflict studies, women and political representation in Africa, rethinking state formation in Africa, politics in a digital era and African immigration to South Africa. A C2 rated researcher by the NRF, Professor Isike has over 80 publications in top national and international peer-reviewed journals including chapters in books published by reputable publishing houses globally. He is Editor-in-Chief of Africa’s foremost political science journal, Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (2020 to 2024), and has been Editor of Ubuntu: Journal of Conflict and Social Transformation since 2017. Professor Isike  also serves on the editorial board of several reputable international journals, such as International Political Science Review, Canadian Journal of African Studies, and the African Journal of Political Science. He is on the editorial team of Territory, Politics, Governance and Strategic Review for Southern Africa. Professor Isike consults for the UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government on gender equality and women empowerment issues in South Africa. He is a Social Cohesion Advocate of South Africa appointed by the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture (2020 – 2024).

Aparna Arora (She/Her)

Co-President

Aparna Arora is development practitioner with a decade of experience across finance, investing, social enterprise development, and nonprofit management, in sectors such as livelihoods, water and sanitation, and gender justice, within local and international nonprofits, donor organizations, and a multilateral agency.

Most recently, Aparna has worked as a consultant or board member with three women and non-binary individuals-led organizations in the US, including NYC Fair Trade Coalition, a grassroots nonprofit promoting fair trade businesses and sustainable fashion; INCLUSIVE, an NYC-based social enterprise creating one-stop early intervention solutions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and the Society of Gender Professionals (SGP), a global network of gender academics, activists, and practitioners. She regularly mentors girls and gender-expansive youth in high school and college on career readiness through the nonprofit, Girls Write Now. 

In 2021, Aparna completed a Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a specialization in Gender and Public Policy at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, USA, attending as a Maguire Fellow (a merit-based scholarship). At the school, she researched and wrote policy papers on issues impacting the rights of women informal workers, transgender people, urban slum dwellers, and displaced people, while doing a deep dive into relevant national and state-level policies of her home country, India. As a graduate intern at UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Programs, Aparna developed a sanitation return-on-Investment tool to advocate for gender-responsive and disability-inclusive financing for durable water, sanitation & hygiene solutions in humanitarian emergencies. This work was utilized in influential, high-level UN reports and donor communications.

Prior to her studies at Columbia University, Aparna spent four years co-leading a technical assistance and investment program for social enterprises creating livelihoods for those living in extreme poverty in India at a non-profit called Upaya Social Ventures. Before her stint in the development sector, she spent three years in finance roles at private sector organizations such as McKinsey & Company and Masan Group Vietnam. Aparna holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from the University of Delhi, India.