Research Team

Angela Lytle – Project Coordinator

Angela Lytle is an educator with extensive experience teaching, facilitating workshops and developing educational programming and curriculum in international settings. Angela has worked with the Women, Gender and Justice Program in Costa Rica, and has served as a resource person with IWRAW-APs “Global to Local” program for NGO representatives at the CEDAW Committee. Angela lived in South Korea where she engaged in educational and activist work with the Korean Women’s Associations United, and organizations supporting survivors of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery. She does educational work on sexualized violence in war with various community organizations. She is on the Research Ethics Board of the Sikh Feminist Research Institute, and has been a member of the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education’s Executive Council. She is currently pursuing her PhD in the area of women’s human rights, CEDAW and movement-building. A yoga practitioner and educator focussing on survivors of trauma and women’s wellness, she also engages in research and practice in the area of women’s human rights and Embodied Learning. Involved in the WHRI since its inception in 2004, Angela has been Executive Director since 2009. Under her leadership, the WHRI has expanded to offer international programs, online learning and consultancy.

Heather Evans – Research and Development Director

JHP13-1JAN14_040 - Version 3Heather is a queer feminist activist, educator and researcher. Her fascination with social justice movements began while doing research in Argentina on the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo for her undergraduate thesis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then became involved as an activist and educator with organizations supporting survivors of the Japanese military’s “comfort women” system during her 9 years in South Korea. It was through this work that she forged a relationship with Angela Lytle and came to know of the WHRI. After finishing her Master’s thesis, which involved critical research on human trafficking discourses and policies in Nepal, she went on to work as the education director for a local human rights organization in Vancouver and as a researcher on several projects through the International Women’s Rights Project.  She is now co-coordinator of the global study on “good practices” in eliminating discrimination and empowering women for the WHRI’s contribution to the UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice, and is a PhD student in Gender, Feminist & Women’s Studies at York University.

Sarah Anderson – Communications Coordinator

Headshot Sarah copySarah Anderson is a women’s rights activist with a special interest in sexual and reproductive health rights and education. Sarah joined the WHRI team after participating in the WHRI intensive institute and CEDAW for Change Week in 2015. She has recently completed a Master’s in Adult Education and Community Development at OISE / the University of Toronto. Sarah’s background in international and community development has led her to work on women and gender issues in South Africa, Rwanda, and several regions in Canada including rural Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories, before moving to Toronto. She is currently also working as Program Coordinator at the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education.

Anya Victoria Delgado – Latin America and the Caribbean Team Coordinator


Anya Victoria Delgado holds an Law degree form Universidad Panamericana in Mexico, and an LL.M. degree from the University of Notre Dame in the United States. She was Snr. Protection Associate at the  the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Project Assistant at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), both in Mexico City. She has been a fellow for the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Women of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights; leading researcher in the Latin American and Caribbean region for the Due Diligence Project and coordinator of a project to develop a model to eliminate gender violence in indigenous communities, sponsored by the UN Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence against Women. She founded Lu´um Creadoras, with whom she developed and produced a documentary about Central American refugee women in Mexico called “Suelo Mirar al Cielo” (Borderless Sky). She is also an alumni of the Women’s Human Rights Education Institute and the VVLead Program sponsored by Vital Voices.

Walleska Pareja Diaz – Latin America and the Caribbean Team Sub-Coordinator


Walleska Pareja Díaz is an Ecuadorian lawyer with a Masters of Laws in International Crime & Justice and a Master in Applied Political Studies. She specializes in Gender, Human Rights and Legal Drafting. After completing her law studies, she was an advisor at Ecuador’s Constituent Assembly, Legislative Commission and National Assembly. As such she supported the creation of the Parliamentary Group for Women’s rights and helped replicate the idea in countries like Dominican Republic. As an advisor for the President of the Parliament at the Legal Drafting Unit, she was entrusted with reviewing draft legislation with a view to ensuring that the content was gender-sensitive and the language discrimination-free. In 2014, she worked for the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. As an attorney, she has represented the National Coalition for Women and LGBTTIQ persons on emblematic cases. In addition, she has contributed to the drafting of several shadow reports for the UN treaty bodies. Walleska has also worked as a consultant for the Ombudsman and the Office of the Public Defender of Ecuador, CEDIME-REMPE, FEIM-Argentina, UNFPA and UN Women. In addition, she was the representative of CODHES, a Colombian NGO working for forced migration and displacement. Until March 2016, she was a teacher at the International University of Ecuador (lectures on Politics, Law and Diplomacy & International Relations). Nowadays, she serves as a Project Officer at the International Network for Human Rights in Geneva. She is an alumni of the WHRI.

To contact the LAC Regional Team, email

Marial Quezada

Marial Quezada is an Indigenous ally who has been working in Indigenous rights to education and child welfare in the Americas for the past four years. She currently works as the Tribal Relations Coordinator for New Mexico Court Appointed Special Advocates (NM CASA) and in fall 2016, she will begin her Master’s Degree in Human Rights with a focus in Indigenous Peoples’ Rights at Columbia University, where she also earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Latin American and Iberian Studies and Political Science. As a post-baccalaureate fellow, Marial lived in Andean communities of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, researching Indigenous education policy and reform efforts as mechanisms of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Marial has since presented her findings at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and as a researcher and writer for the Indigenous-owned newspaper, La Zenka Sunqu. In 2013, Marial began working with Indigenous communities, co-founding alterNATIVE Education (AE), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting culturally relevant education for Native American youth across the U.S. Today, she serves as the Executive Director of AE and with NMCASA, continues to work with Native communities, advocating for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and collaborating with Tribal communities and courts to improve communication between State and Tribal entities.

Martha Hernández Piedrahita

Martha H_PicMartha has five years of experience in the nonprofit sector focused on women’s rights, peace and conflict resolution, strategic litigation, human rights, and community service. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Norte University, Colombia and a Masters of Law in International Protection of Human Rights from the University of Alcalá de Henares, Spain. Martha worked for Women’s Link Worldwide as consultant, where she conduct legal and factual research. In this role, she has engaged with women activists by conducting experts interviews, and supported the strategic litigation of the organization. Martha also collected data for a publication entitled “Gender Crimes: Genocide in Guatemala”, conducted in 2015 by Women’s Link and for several publications on reproductive rights in the Americas with focus on Colombia under the supervision of Monica Roa.  Currently she works as Research Specialist for Catholics for Choice, conducting Research on reproductive rights in the Americas. She collaborates with the Women’s Building of San Francisco assisting immigrant women, designing and executing workshops with focus on women empowerment. Martha has been selected as Gender Equality Advocate by the Global Fund for Women, due to her social entrepreneurship project ”Defem: Women’s Rights Consulting”.

María Laura Serra

Laura Serra pictureMaría Laura Serra is a PhD candidate in Human Rights from Charles III, University of Madrid (Spain). She has a Master degree in Human Rights from the same University and a Law degree from Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (Argentina). Her research is a doctrinal study of the human rights of women with disability with a strong focus on non-discrimination law and intersectional discrimination.

Currently she has a position as a Researcher fellow at the Human Rights Institute Bartolomé de las Casas, Charles III, University of Madrid, Spain. She has worked as an assistant of Theresia Degener, member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the draft to the general comment on article 6 (women with disabilities) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She also worked on the governmental sector as a legal advocate at the Department for the promotion of Equality and prevention of Discrimination, City of Mar del Plata (Argentina).

Her background is in the area of human rights, disability and gender studies from a policy perspective. She has been a researcher on a number of disability and human rights research projects in South America, Europe and Qatar being the responsible to introduce a gender perspective in a cross-cutting manner.

Icilda Humes

IcildaIcilda Humes is a former World Young Women’s Christian Association Board Member and was the first Belizean to be elected to that body. She has served in various capacities in that movement at the national, regional and international levels including as national vice president and mentor and facilitator for the movement’s delegation to the Latin American and the Caribbean’s Beijing +20 Review. She holds a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership and Conflict Resolution. Dr. Humes, driven by her passion for intergenerational leadership, opted to focus her doctoral research on young women’s leadership and titled her dissertation:- Creating a Safe Space: Evaluation of the Leadership Experiences for Young Women in a Women’s Organization.

Dr. Humes is the former Director of the Women’s Department in Belize, a government agency which was the national gender machinery. While serving in that capacity, she directed the documentary, “Domestic Violence: The Belizean Reality” and was instrumental in developing the Caribbean’s first Cabinet-approved National Gender-based Violence Action Plan.

María Daniela Rivero

María Daniela PicMaría Daniela Rivero received her law degree from the Catholic University Andrés Bello in Venezuela She earned an LL.M., cum laude, in International Human Rights Law from the University of Notre Dame and she is currently pursuing a Master of Nonprofit Administration at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Throughout her career, she has worked on issues related to international human rights law, on topics ranging from due process of law to women’s reproductive rights, both nationally and internationally, in non-governmental organizations and in an international tribunal.

She was a lawyer with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and was Legal Advisor for the Latin American and Caribbean Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. She has worked as a legal assistant at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland. Ms. Rivero is a consultant in International Law and Human Rights.

Ana María Palacios

anaAna María Palacios earned her Master’s in Development and International Cooperation from the University of the Basque Country. She received her law degree from the Catholic University Andrés Bello in Caracas, and is currently homologating it in Spain.

Ana María most recently worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she played a key role litigating and implementing landmark cases and advocacy strategies in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru and Dominican Republic. 
Prior to that, she worked in Mexico documenting human rights violations against indigenous women from Chiapas, and drafting bilateral donors reports. Ana has been a visiting professor in Venezuelan, Colombian and Peruvian universities. She also worked on issues related to forced migration, extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances. Currently, Ana María collaborates with FeministAlde, a feminist grassroots movement in the Basque Country.

Justine Huguenin

Justine Huguenin completed her Bachelor in Law, with a special focus on Human Rights, in University of Costa Rica. Currently she works at Fundación Justicia y Género. Since 2009, she collaborates with the SCO Techo with whom she undertakes community work related to education and health issues, and provides legal assistance to people in marginal contexts. She has been legal advisor of a Costa Rican legislator, on environmental issues, and worked in Casa de Derecho as a legal advisor and representative for low income population. She is a young feminist activist and Alumni of the WHRI.

Loujayn Alhokail – MENA Team Coordinator

Loujayn Alhokail is a lecturer at King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and a Ph.D. Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, Canada. Loujayn was among the first group of women who earned a law degree in Saudi Arabia. Since then, she moved to Canada to peruse her graduate legal studies in the area of women and the law with a focus on Islamic law of personal status. Loujayn’s current research seeks to describe, understand, and theorize how women’s life experiences can shape their understanding of their rights. She aims to use the knowledge that she gains to promote gender equality in the Gulf region.

To contact the MENA Regional Team, email

Sherif Arafa

SherifSherif is an Egyptian medical doctor and public health practitioner. Since graduation in 2009, he further studied anthropology, disaster and health care management and is currently studying business and law. He worked for more than seven years with Save the Children and the International Organization for Migration in different humanitarian contexts in Egypt and Liberia. He kept his passion for human rights since early years in medical school when he developed his interest in patient rights. After that, he joined and worked with many activist groups and organizations defending and promoting the rights of particular groups including working children, unaccompanied minors, refugees and asylum seekers, economic migrants and others marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Delaram Farzaneh


Dr. Delaram Farzaneh is an expert in international human rights who has been awarded for the 2016-2017 Post-Doctoral Scholar in Residence at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law. Dr. Farzaneh received her Bachelor’s Degree in Law in Iran. After coming to the United States, she received her first Master of Laws Degree (LL.M.) in Comparative Law, and a second Master of Laws Degree (LL.M.) in International Legal Studies. In 2015, she received her Doctor of Juridical Science Degree (S.J.D.) in International Legal Studies. Passionate about gender equality under the rule of law and women’s empowerment, she believes that the academic freedom in the United States enabled her to pursue her passion and focus on compelling issues of discrimination against women in Iran and protection of their human rights.

She has published an article, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: A Brief History of Legal Discriminations Against Women in Iran, and the Violations of International Human Rights in the law journal Annual Survey of International and Comparative Law in 2014. Her S.J.D. dissertation is about to get published by Vandeplas Publishing as a scholarly book. This book is the first comprehensive examination of Iran’s systematic discrimination against women in key decision- making positions. It extensively analyzes Iran’s practice of banning women as judges from a legal, historical, Islamic jurisprudence, and international human rights perspective. The scope of this book includes a detailed history of women’s rights in Iran from ancient through modern times and a comparison with women as judges in the United States.

She is also an accomplished artist. Her art, an extension of her freedom of expression, has been displayed at numerous exhibitions.

Sepideh Labani Motlagh

SepidehI am an international senior consultant and researcher in the field of women’s rights and gender equality. As an Iranian woman born in Belgium, women’s human rights are a personal and political issue for me, as I am myself subject to the discriminatory laws of my country of origin. This growing preoccupation has influenced my commitments and activities and oriented my theoretical choices and researches on women’s situation in Muslim majority countries and Islamic states. I hold a Ph.D. for my research on feminist movements in Iran, analyzing their strategies and their possibilities to promote effective changes in discriminatory laws and policies. I also hold a Master’s Degree in Public Law, an M.Phil. in International and African Studies, and a Degree in Gender and Development. For the past 10 years, I have been working as an independent expert for international cooperation agencies, NGOs, public institutions, and women grassroots organizations in different countries. I have conducted and coordinated institutional and programatic analysis and evaluations, and produced technical guides and tools on Gender Mainstreaming and Women’s Human Rights.

Julia Constanze Braunmiller

JuliaJulia Constanze Braunmiller is a legal consultant for the World Bank Group’s project “Women, Business and the Law” where she analyzes the impact of gender-based differences in legislation on women’s economic opportunities globally. She is also a visiting scholar at Qatar University College of Law legal clinic. Previously, she directed legal reform programs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies on combating human trafficking in Egypt, enhancing the role of civil society in Kuwait and Jordan, and promoting clinical legal education throughout the Arab world. She has extensive experience in leading international fact-finding missions and reporting on human rights frameworks. Ms. Braunmiller studied law in Germany, Spain, and Italy and holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University.

Hanane Zelouani Idrissi


Hanane Zelouani Idrissi has over 15 years of experience in democratic transition, civil society, and grants management.  She works with the MENA program at the National Endowment for Democracy where she oversees civil society grants and programs related to policy reform, human rights, political process, governance, accountability, women’s leadership, civic and political participation, advocacy, and capacity building. She also worked with Vital Voices for Global Partnership as a MENA Program Manager where she managed leadership programs to benefit women leaders and activists in the MENA region.  Hanane was also affiliated with Union de L’Action Feminine (UAF), a leading women’s advocacy group in Morocco.  Prior to that, Hanane worked with well-established market research companies focusing on qualitative data analysis for a better response to customer needs.  Hanane has also been a host in a number of panel discussions as well as TV talk shows and digital platforms, including the Project on Middle East Democracy, Rotary Club, Alhurra, and Raise Your Voice (Irfaa Sawtak) to comment on events in the MENA region.  Hanane has a Master’s degree in Humanities and Social Sciences from Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco and she is fluent in Arabic and French as well.

Ivona Truscan – Europe Team Coordinator

IvonaIvona Truscan is Regional Research Coordinator for Europe to support the elaboration of the Global Study on “Good Practices to Address Discrimination against Women”. Prior to this role, Ivona worked at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the World Organisation against Torture and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies. Ivona has six years of experience conducting human rights research, participating in normative and standard-setting processes at national and United Nations levels as well as providing policy advice and training. Ivona developed research and influenced advocacy in relation to systemic inequalities and intersectional discrimination concerning rural women, women belonging to ethnic minorities and girls with disabilities. Ivona has a Ph.D. in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with a thesis looking at the protection of vulnerable groups in international human rights law.

To contact the Europe Regional Team, email

Anna Wilkowska-Landowska

Anna WAnna Wilkowska-Landowska is a human rights lawyer from Poland, specializing in women’s human rights. She holds a master’s degree in International Law from Gdańsk University and in Journalism from the University of Warsaw. In 2000 she was a Legal Fellow of the Network of East-West Women. During her career she has been working with various human rights NGOs, including Amnesty International, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, NEWW, INTERIGHTS or Verite. She also cooperated as an international legal consultant with UN Women on developing a program focused on implementation of gender equality laws in the countries of CEE and CIS and a project connected with the accountability for protection of women’s human rights. She represented a Polish applicant at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, in the case concerning abortion procedures in Poland (Tysiac v. Poland). Currently she is completing her PhD in international human rights law at the Faculty of Law, Gdańsk University.

Anna Arutshyan

Anna AAnna Arutshyan is a woman human rights defender, woman activist advocating for gender equality and long lasting peace. She has Master’s Degree in Social Science and Area Studies by education, later requalified as an expert on human rights, feminism and peace building. In 2001 she founded a civil society organisation ”Society Without Violence” (SWV) working on women’s rights in Yerevan, Armenia which is one of the leading organisations in the women’s rights field in Caucasus region today.  She was the initiator of formation of coalition ”To Stop Violence Against Women”, Armenia, promoted the establishment of “Women In Black”, worldwide known women peace builders’ movement to Armenia and further expansion to South Caucasus region, author of Rapid Response Unit (RRU) concept on effective reaction and prevention of domestic violence in Armenia. In the course of 15 years, she has worked with well-known global women’s funds and organisations, like Kvinna Till Kvinna (KTK), Global Fund for Women, MamaCash, UN Trust Fund, Black Sea Trust (BST).

Ayse Sargin

AyseAyse Sargin has a BSc in International Relations and an MA in Political Science. She is currently doing her PhD in Sociology in social movements in Turkey. For the last 10 years, she has worked in various positions such as Director, Project Coordinator and Consultant in NGOs, as well as EU and UN-led projects in the fields of gender equality, elimination of GBV, nature conservation & sustainable development and lifelong learning. She was part of the UN team that prepared the first 6 provincial gender equality action plans of Turkey. She is an experienced gender equality and project cycle management trainer and has delivered over 30 trainings to NGO activists, as well as state officials in departments for security, health, education and disaster management. Ayse has written three manuals and numerous popular articles on gender equality in local administrations and elimination of GBV. Currently, she is leading a capacity building and small grants program for Turkish and Syrian local NGOs in an international humanitarian NGO.

Magali Gay-Berthomieu

MagaliMagali Gay-Berthomieu is a consultant specialising in women’s rights and gender equality. She has more than five years of work experience conducting and coordinating research on gender issues at European and international level. She has been coordinating studies related to the implementation of key international and regional normative documents (Beijing Platform for Action; CEDAW; the European Charter for equality of women and men in local life). She also gained significant practical experience in programme management and campaigning for women’s rights, having a first-hand experience of working in an international organisation for gender equality (the European Institute for Gender Equality) and with various women’s rights NGOs. Magali holds a Master’s degree in Women, Gender and Citizenship from the University of Barcelona where she studied public policies from a gender perspective, as well as a Master’s and a Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science from Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne University and the Political Science Institute of Toulouse respectively.

Moana Genevey

MoanaMoana Genevey graduated in political science and European studies, before undertaking the Human Rights E.MA program in 2014. She developed a strong commitment  for equal treatment by working with various organisations involved in the fight against discrimination,  such as the European Network Against Racism, the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities and Equinet. Journalist in a student newspaper for 5 years, she has also been a dedicated activist for different campaigns, raising funds after the Nepalese earthquakes or raising awareness on youth unemployment. Her last work placement was at the EU Delegation to the United Nations, in New York.

Virginia Gil

VirginiaVirginia Gil is an advocate of women’s rights with 10 years’ experience supporting survivors of GBV and migrant women. She has a Bachelor Degree in Social Work and Anthropology. She worked in the Uruguayan Office for Women, within the Gender-Based Violence Area, designing and implementing a monitoring system for the national domestic violence services and providing advice for the establishment of shelters. She worked for 3 years in Australia offering crisis support and advocacy for migrant women experiencing GBV. Her work experience at the field level in diverse NGO’s and countries has provided her with an in-depth insight of the barriers that women experience as a result of the gender-based discrimination in laws and customs and a strong commitment to gender equality.

Meskerem Geset Techane – Africa Team Coordinator

MeskeremMeskerem Geset Techane holds LL.M on Human Rights from the University of Pretoria and is currently a PhD fellow at the Human Right Center of the University of Padova in the International PhD program run jointly with the universities of Panteion, Western Sydney and Zagreb.  In the past thirteen years Meskerem has worked in several capacities in the legal and human rights field including as judge, academician, private practitioner, consultant, and as a human rights advocate/expert working with national, pan-African, international and inter-governmental organizations. After concluding her tenure as a Deputy Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, she has been engaged in PhD research, human rights advocacy and independent consultancy. She has significant experience working with African Union human rights bodies, eminent human rights groups, civil society organizations, National Human Rights Institutions, government actors and other stakeholders. She had also extensively consulted with local as well as international organisations and UN institutions on human rights issues. Her experiences include litigation, research, advocacy, legal aid, training, educational and training materials development, contribution to legal reform projects, among others.

To contact the Africa Regional Team, email

Kathambi Kinoti – East Africa Researcher

KathambiKathambi Kinoti is a Kenyan lawyer based in Nairobi. In various capacities, over the past seventeen years, she has worked to promote women’s rights and gender equality at country, regional and international level. Currently she is an independent consultant. Recent assignments include undertaking an assessment of the progress of gender mainstreaming within the judiciary of Kenya and drafting a gender policy for the judiciary; undertaking a gender audit of the GIZ Kenya country office; and contributing to a rigorous review of gender equality indicators for African countries for the annual publication of the Africa Integrity Index. She is currently part of a team engaged to advise on gender mainstreaming Kenya’s Ministry of Defence. For eight years, Kathambi worked for the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) conducting in depth research and cutting edge analysis on various women’s rights issues around the world. She is co-founder of the Young Women’s Leadership Institute in Kenya.

Bisseck Spse Yigbedek – Central Africa Researcher

BisseckBISSECK Spse YIGBEDEK Monique Catherine, is the Regional Coordinator of the Central African Women Network for Sustainable Development (REFADD). REFADD is CEFDHAC (Conference on the Central African Dense Rainforest Ecosystems) Specialized Networks. It is a subsidiary body of COMIFAC (Forest Commission in Central Africa) which deals with gender, women empowerment and sustainable management of natural resources in the Central African region. She is also the Gender Focal Point of the Global Water Partnership for Central Africa (GWP-Caf), member of WOCAN and of Gender & water Alliance. Furthermore, Monique is the Director of the Cameroonian NGO called ONED. She worked for IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) for over fifteen Years. First as a Human Resources Officer and Gender Focal Point for Central Africa, then as a Senior Constituency Support and Development for Central and West Africa. From 2013 to 2015, she conducted, a regional study on Gender Mainstreaming in policy and water management in Central Africa, in 07 Countries : Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo, DR Congo, Chad. This Study was   sponsored by “Institute for Women’s & Gender Studies” at the University of Pretoria (South Africa)

Keneilwe Sadie Mooketsane – Southern Africa Researcher

KeneilweMs Keneilwe Sadie Mooketsane is a Lecturer at the University of Botswana in the Political and Administrative Studies department where she teaches courses in Public Administration. Prior to joining the University Ms Mooketsane was a Researcher at the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis where she was engaged in various consultancies and research projects in governance and policy analysis. Ms Mooketsane holds an MPhil in Public Policy and Administration with a major in Gender, from the University of Cape Town, and a Bachelor of Arts is Social Sciences with a major in Public Administration and Political Science from the University of Botswana. Ms Mooketsane is a board member at Kagisano Women’s Shelter Society, an NGO that provides shelter and support for battered women. She is a researcher for the Afrobarometer Botswana chapter, a member of the Democracy Research Project based at the University of Botswana. She is also a member of many other small social groups of women on course for women empowerment and assisting the less privileged in local communities. Ms Mooketsane has a passion for women’s rights and gender equality. Her research interests include wellbeing, gender and public policy, women in politics, human rights and minorities, state NGO relations and democratic governance.

Hannah Forster – Researcher (West Africa & African Commission)

HannahHannah Forster is the Executive Director of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) based in Banjul, The Gambia (since 2001), a regional institution whose main objective is to build and maintain a human rights movement in Africa to promote greater respect and observance of human rights and fundamental democratic principles.  She has worked with both the African and International Human Rights System, with a special interest in the human rights of women for over two and half decades. A Manager, Educator and Information Specialist, she graduated from the University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana; Loughborough Technical College and Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, respectively as well as Scoula Superieur Sant’Anna, in Pisa, Italy (MA in Human Rights and Conflict Management).  She has also undertaken internships and trainings in various areas of human rights and specialises in human rights documentation and information handling techniques; human rights education; women’s human rights; child rights and elections. She is an alumni of many courses and institutes including Makarere University and WHRI 2012. Her master thesis reviewed the gender sensitivity of political party manifestos and constitutions and their role in facilitating the participation of women in democracy in The Gambia.

Odgerel Dashzeveg – Asia and the Pacific Team Coordinator

OdgerelOdgerel Dashzeveg is an international development professional with +15 years of experience in managing programs focused on poverty alleviation, rural education, women’s empowerment, microfinance, and community development. She has worked with national and international development organizations such as the UN, the ADRA, and the National Poverty Alleviation Program Mongolia. Odgerel is very passionate about empowering disadvantaged people including women, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.

She received her Master’s Degree in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University in the United States, after which she held a number of visiting scholar and research fellow positions with community development corporations and women’s study and research institutions, including the WATCH CDC, the Neighbor Works America, and the Women’ Study and Research Center at Brandeis University.

Currently, Odgerel works as a Research Assistant for Think College Transition Program at the Institute for Community Inclusion, and at the same time, she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Boston.

To contact the Asia and the Pacific Regional Team, email

Tashia Peterson

TashiaTashia Peterson is based in Malaysia. She works independently with national and international organizations on women’s rights. She is a board member of Women’s Aid Organization (WAO) and is also part of the advocacy team. She is involved with law reform, research and public education campaigns to promote women’s rights and the application of the CEDAW Convention. She has been involved with coordinating and training around NGO shadow report writing to the CEDAW Committee. She has a masters in International Studies and is a lawyer by training.  She is also interested in issues like the politicization of ethnicity and religion as well as the area of business and human rights, specifically the gender analysis and implications on women’s enjoyment of their rights.

Geneva J. Avila

GenevaGeneva J. Avila works as an Information Officer in one of the regional offices of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.  Ms. Avila has more than twenty years’ experience in human rights promotion and protection and is actively engaged in advancing women’s human rights and gender equality.  She has a BA degree n Political Science and post-graduate studies in Public Administration

Dalina Prasertsri

DalinaDalina Prasertsri is currently working as a Senior Program Officer at FHI 360 Asia Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok, Thailand. She previously worked with Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and UN Women.

Dalina has an educational background in Gender Studies and Peace Building from University for Peace, Costa Rica and International Development Studies Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.

Gul Shamim

GulMs. Gul Shamim is a researcher and a human rights activist. Her research areas include gender based violence, honor killing, religious and ethnic oppressions of minorities in South Asia Currently, she is working on her doctoral studies with the University of Massachusetts.   She holds Master’s degrees in Sociology from University of Karachi, Pakistan and in International Development from Brandeis University. Gul has been associated in teaching and research with Aga Khan University, Wellesley College, Open Society Foundation, and the University of Massachusetts. Her passion is to contribute to build a conducive social environment, where women are empowered enough to make their life decisions.

Bhavya Joshi

Born and brought up in India, Bhavya is a feminist working on Sexual and Reproductive Rights in India. She has her first masters in International Law and Human Rights from United Nations mandated University for Peace, Costa Rica and her second masters in Peace, Development, Security and International Conflict transformation from University of Innsbruck, Austria. Her first dissertation was on ‘Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health of Women in North India.’ She has held discussions, educational training and administered questionnaires with over 180 girls on sexual and reproductive rights and health. Earlier, she has also worked with a think-tank as a research intern in New Delhi. Currently, she is working at Vihara Innovations Network in the capacity of a Design Researcher, New Delhi and Bihar, India.

Lauren Eason – North America, Australia, New Zealand Team Coordinator

LaurenLauren A. Eason has been affiliated with the WomanStats Project since 2012 and now serves as the Senior Research Associate for the Minerva Initiative Research Award sponsored by the Department of Defense. She received a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Criminal Justice from the University of Georgia in 2010. She went on to obtain a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University in 2013. Currently living in Washington, D.C., Lauren’s work as an independent consultant focuses on women, terrorism, and countering violent extremism. Her long term research interests focus on the relationship between gender, human trafficking, and CBRN weapons.

To contact the North America, Australia, New Zealand Regional Team, email

Loren Days

LorenLoren is a qualified lawyer from the US who has worked in the public, private and NGO sectors, and is currently living in Australia. She has experience in policy, human rights, legal and regulatory reform. Her specialist areas include family violence, women’s issues, and consulting with Aboriginal and multicultural communities to work towards achievable reform.

Dr. Morgan Healey

MorganDr. Morgan Healey is a researcher, advocate and policy wonk in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). She was born and raised outside Worcester, Massachusetts in the US and has just returned to her native country after living in Ireland and Aotearoa New Zealand for the last 12 years. Morgan has an undergraduate degree in Women and Gender Studies from Connecticut College, an MA in Women’s Studies from the University College, Cork, Ireland, and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Limerick, Ireland. Her PhD research focused on how Irish women politicians construct gendered political subjectivities and the impact that had on their ability to promote a feminist issue like abortion. In 2009, Morgan moved to Aotearoa New Zealand where she became involved with the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ), first serving as Secretary and then as President from 2011 to 2015. She was also a member of New Zealand National Council of Women’s Parliamentary

Soni Dasmohapatra

SoniSoni Dasmohapatra is a long time advocate for human rights and the advancement of women, children, youth and minority communities. Her twenty year career path has focused on social justice, advocacy, community engagement, gender equity and equality, social determinants of health, working in collaboration with Indigenous peoples, policy development, and project management. From Edmonton, Toronto, Nairobi and Delhi, from the government to non-profit agencies, from public think tanks to the classroom, Soni has been an educator, strategic planner and researcher.

Lydia Landim

LydiaLydia Landim is a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, studying Global Inclusion and Social Development. Her research focuses on women’s rights and rights of indigenous and ethnic minorities. Lydia has an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology from Bridgewater State University and an MS in Global Studies and Foreign Affairs from Northeastern University. She is currently living in the Boston area and works as a Research Assistant at the Institute for Community Inclusion, focusing on policy related to integrated employment for persons with disabilities.

Siobhan Curran

SiobhanSiobhan Curran co-ordinates the Roma project in Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, Ireland. This includes policy development, research and working with Roma and Travellers for the realisation of Roma and Traveller human rights in Ireland.  She previously worked as a campaigner for Amnesty International Ireland, focusing on gender based violence and the implementation of UN resolutions on women, peace and security. She holds an LLM in Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice from the University of Ulster and a master’s degree in Social Policy from University College Dublin. She focused her LLM dissertation on intersectionality in human rights law and the coercive sterilisation of Romani women. She has also investigated the gendered impacts of structural reforms in health systems in Belize. In 2010 she co-authored the publication ‘Telling It Straight: Community Narratives and Primary Health Care in Cayo, Belize.’ She is a feminist activist and has been active in campaigning for LGBTQ rights in Ireland.

Syma Mirza

Syma Mirza has worked in the field of human rights from a variety of standpoints, including program, grantmaking, and law. She worked as a Program Director at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative managing a U.S. Department of State-funded program in Pakistan related to human rights and national security, served as Program Officer for South and Southeast Asia at the Fund for Global Human Rights managing a grants and capacity-building portfolio of over $1 million, and practiced law for three years in the litigation group at DLA Piper US LLP in Washington, D.C.  As a a young attorney, she was actively engaged in domestic and international pro bono efforts, including a project helping document politically-motivated sexual violence against women in Zimbabwe. Syma sits on the Board of Advisors of a progressive human rights funder in India and is a volunteer with the paid family and medical leave campaign in Massachusetts. She currently works as an independent consultant with expertise in strategy, research, advocacy, and grantmaking.  Syma holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, a master’s degree in human rights and conflict resolution from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and an undergraduate degree in international relations with a minor in women’s studies from Wellesley College, where she serves as a part-time career advisor for students and alumnae interested in international affairs, government, and law.

Vivian Nilsson

VivianVivian Nilsson – van Iperen holds a M.A. in political science with a specialization in international law and international relations from the Graduate Center, CUNY. She currently works as a researcher for Make Every Woman Count (MEWC) where she monitors women’s human rights developments in Eastern Africa.  Vivian has always been passionate about human rights, in particular women’s human rights, and the right to self-determination with respect to non-self-governing territories and indigenous peoples. Prior to working with MEWC, she worked as an independent researcher and interned with the UN in New York and Paris. Vivian’s future plans include getting a Ph.D. in International Relations and International Law. Connect with me on LinkedIn: and/or Twitter: Nilssonviperen

Mirriam Nthenge

Mirriam Nthenge is a disability rights consultant and holds an LLM  in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy. She has extensive experience in human rights monitoring systems, disability rights and human rights in general. She has worked before with Kenya National Commission on Human Rights as a human rights officer and recently as a research fellow with UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities- Catalina Devandas Aguilar.

Lydia González Orta – CEDAW Team Coordinator

LydiaLydia González Orta was born in the Canaries in 1986. She holds a Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Granada (Spain) and an Erasmus Mundus Master in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Oviedo (Spain) and the Central European University of Budapest (Hungary). Now she is a PhD student in Social Sciences at the University of Valencia (Spain). Her research deals with sociology of globalization, women’s human rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and transnational feminisms at the United Nations. She also works at the Astrophysics Institute of the Canaries as gender equality advisor in the framework of the H2020 European research project GENERA for the promotion of women in science.

Isabel Dávila

IsabelIsabel Dávila is an Ecuadorian student, currently living in Canada. She attended law school in Ecuador for three years and now is a candidate for law school in Canada for 2017. She has worked in Non-violence culture, sensibilization and environmental practices as a volunteer in the “Escuela de Líderes” since the age of 14. She also volunteered in France for a year at a small Montessori school where she dealt with learning problems in an educational environment. On 2015 she attended the Women’s Human Rights Education Institute for the WHREducation Program and she has also been able to take 3 more courses in human rights and gender issues. During the last year she worked as a paralegal at two different law firms in Ecuador during 10 months.

Andrea Vitopoulos

AndreaAndrea Vitopoulos is currently a law student at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada. She earned her Bachelor of Arts – Honours at York University majoring in International Development Studies and minoring in Anthropology. In addition to working on UNWGDAW, she is currently researching the impacts of the intersection between family, criminal, immigration and refugee law in Canada on survivors of domestic violence. She has also worked as a caseworker for Legal Aid Ontario specializing in Immigration and Refugee Law. This fall she has been selected to participate in a pilot feminist advocacy program at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she will work as a caseworker at a legal clinic in Toronto and provide first response assistance and legal advice to survivors of sexual assault. Andrea is also a junior editor on the Journal of Law and Social Policy, a co-founder and collective member of York University’s first student anthropology journal: Contingent Horizons and is a co-coordinator of Osgoode Hall Law School’s Feminist Collective.

Lorena Sosa

LorenaI am a human rights scholar, conducting socio-legal research on the issue of intersectional discrimination and violence, with a special focus on gender and women. In my research, I focus comparatively on the United Nations, the Inter-American System and the Council of Europe. I am currently relocating to Argentina, where I will do research on transgender violence.

Until recently, I was an assistant professor at Utrecht University, lecturing on human rights and gender, and conducting comparative research within the framework of a large-scale international FP-7 funded project entitled Fostering Human Rights Among European Policies (“FRAME”). I have previously worked as a researcher and lecturer at the International Victimology Institute Tilburg (INTERVICT) for a period of five years, during which I participated in a number of European Union projects in the areas of violence against women (including domestic violence and stalking), children and LGBT.

I have a law degree from the National University of Cordoba (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba), Argentina, and an LLM (cum laude) in International and European Public Law, with specialization on Human Rights, from the University of Tilburg. I received my PhD (cum laude) from Tilburg Law School, and my dissertation received the Max van der Stoel Award on Human Rights in 2015.