A group of women in discussion

Our 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.

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.

Margo Okazawa-Rey


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).

Sara AbuGhazal

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


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 Chagelishvili

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

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.

Leila Hessini

Leila is a transnational feminist leader, advocate and advisor with over 25 years of experience advancing human rights, gender equality, and sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice locally and globally.  Leila was born in Algeria and educated in the U.S., France, and Morocco; over her professional career, she has lived and worked in Africa, Europe and the United States.

She held the position as Vice-President of Programs at Global Fund for Women for over five years where she oversaw its strategic grantmaking, movement-strengthening, global advocacy and philanthropic collaborations. At GFW, she doubled its grantmaking to over $17 million, launched its feminist and gender-based movements and crises work, created an adolescent girls program led by a girls’ advisory council and led its philanthropic advocacy work.  Prior to that she served on the senior leadership team of Ipas from 2002 to 2016 where she published extensively on abortion rights and justice, lead global advocacy efforts and partnered with feminist groups working on self-management, community mobilization and stigma reduction around bodily integrity and sexual and reproductive rights.   She co-founded an intersectional feminist consulting firm Strategic Analysis for Gender Equality (SAGE) while based in North Africa that worked on the intersections of economic, gender and sexual and reproductive rights and led the Ford Foundation Cairo office’s national, regional and global gender work for 5 years.

Leila has extensive popular education, advocacy, non-profit organizational, board development, philanthropic and monitoring and evaluation experience. She is a skilled communicator committed to using an intersectional approach to centering and amplifying the voices and experiences of the most marginalized.  She was a recipient of the Ford Foundation’s Op-ed Public Voices Fellowship and was a Fulbright Scholar in Morocco.  Her publications cover a wide range of topics including feminist and decolonial approaches to philanthropy, advancing women’s human rights in majority-Muslim contexts, feminist strategies to promote reproductive justice, advancing women’s use of self-managed abortions and tackling stigma and discrimination.

Leila currently serves as Co-Chair of the Center for Constitutional Rights board and Member of Highlander Research and Education board. She also serves on the accountability council of the Numun Feminist Technology Fund and on the advisory committee of the African Women’s Human Rights Defenders Platform.  She has previously served on the boards of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, Global Fund for Women, Safe Abortion Access Fund and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project. She was elected as Treasurer and Executive Committee member of Prospera’s Board of Directors and to the Fenomenal Funds Steering Committee for four years. Leila holds an MPH in public health and a MA in Middle Eastern and North African Studies, studied Islamic law in Morocco and pursued doctoral studies in sociology in France. She has studied Arabic and German and speaks French and English fluently.

Faye Macheke

Co-Executive Director

Faye is a passionate Pan-African feminist, active in movements for women's rights, racial justice, migrant and labor rights, and environmental justice. Her activism builds on the legacy of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the aftermath of the apartheid era in Zimbabwe.

In 2019, Faye joined AWID as the Director of Finance, Operations and Development, and strived to ensure that AWID upholds the feminist principles and values in all of its operations. She brings over 20 years of experience in feminist leadership, strategy, and all aspects of finance and organisational development.

Faye is a committed Board Member of UAF-Africa and other women's rights organizations. She previously held a Head of Finance and Operations roles at Paediatric Adolescent Treatment for Africa and JASS - Just Associates Inc. in Southern Africa. She also held Directorship roles for International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) in Central and Southern Africa. She holds a Bcompt in Accounting Science from University of South Africa and is a member of the Southern African Institute for Business Accountants.

Inna Michaeli

Co-Executive Director

Inna is a feminist queer activist and sociologist with many years of deep engagement in feminist and LGBTQI+ struggles, political education and organizing by and for migrant women, and Palestine liberation and solidarity. She joined AWID in 2016 and served in different roles, most recently as Director of Programs. She is based in Berlin, Germany, grew up in Haifa, Palestine/Israel, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and carries these political geographies and resistance to colonial past and present into her feminism and transnational solidarity.

Inna is the author of “Women's Economic Empowerment: Feminism, Neoliberalism, and the State” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), based on the dissertation which earned her a doctoral degree from the Humboldt University of Berlin. As an academic, she taught courses on globalization, knowledge production, identity and belonging. Inna holds an MA in Cultural Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a Board Member of the Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East (Germany), and previously of +972 Advancement of Citizen Journalism. Previously Inna worked with the Coalition of Women for Peace and she is passionate about mobilizing resources for grassroots activism.

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. 

Sarah Mukasa

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

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

Debbie Stothard

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.

Ȃurea Mouzinho

Ȃurea Mouzinho is a feminist economic justice organizer and advocate from Luanda, Angola. Rooted by a pan-African, socialist and decolonial feminist politics and practice, in 2016 she co-founded and has since been a co-coordinator of Ondjango Feminista, a feminist collective working to advance a transformative women’s rights and gender justice agenda in Angola through consciousness-raising, mobilisation and advocacy. Her 10-year work history encompasses roles in research, project-management, grant-making, advocacy and movement-building primarily on issues at the intersection of women's rights, economic policies and social justice. She has written on the history and challenges for women's organising in Angola, the interplay between extractivism, militarisation and violence against women in Mozambique, and the contemporary economic liberatory practices of African peoples worldwide. Currently, Ȃurea works as policy advocacy and campaigns coordinator at the Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ), leading the alliance's work on tax and gender. Ȃurea is a strategic advisor for Eyala, an alumni and regular contributor to FEMNET's African Feminist Macroeconomics Academy (AFMA) and has previously served as advisor for Sub-Saharan Africa for FRIDA-The Young Feminist Fund. She is trained in economics (University of Cape Town, Monash University) and has a Masters in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London.

Ȃurea has a loud laugh, is a proud house-plant caretaker, and enjoys strolling the beaches of the Angolan Atlantic coast followed by slow evenings laying on her carpet. She occasionally tweets on @kitondowe.