Dr Joyce Das
(She/Her)
Executive Director, Founder, and Lead Consultant
Location: Australia

Hello all, my name is Joyce Das and I am a passionate Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Specialist who believes deeply that gender equality is human rights. I have worked in senior executive positions in international women’s organisations and movements in Bangladesh for a decade before arriving in Australia in 2012 for my doctoral research at the Australian National University (ANU). In my various roles, both in Bangladesh and in Australia, I have worked on gender issues in several regions including South and West Asia, Africa, Australasia, and the Pacific Islands. My doctoral research focused on gender and religious minority women in postcolonial Bangladesh. Before my PhD, I undertook ANU’s Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development, with a Gender and Development specialisation.

I bring rich experience working in the community sector in Bangladesh. I headed one of the largest women's movements, the YWCA of Bangladesh, as the National General Secretary during 2006-2011. I hold extensive expertise in project planning and management, organisational leadership, strategic planning, capacity building and training, governance, stakeholder engagement, and research and advocacy work. At ANU, I have taught several courses of Applied Anthropology, including Gender and Development, Social Impact Assessment, Gender, Resources and the Environment, Research Methods for Environmental Management, and Social Mapping and Community Politics.

I am an intergenerational leader and I believe in the transformational leadership of women. My vision is that by enabling women’s leadership, they are empowered to transform their worldview and gain a better understanding of the self and their surroundings and challenge/change the unequal power structure in relation to their gender, age, and other factors of discrimination. With this vision, in 2021, I founded Go Equal.

I hold extensive experience (2000-2011) in stakeholder engagement at different levels: local, national, and international. I have gained the ability to develop constructive relationships with a wide range of community partners. I hold an extensive background in exhibiting excellent leadership, communication, and strategic planning capabilities. I am adept at cultivating and directing high-performing teams. I have been excelling in client support, program development, and complex problem-solving. With the enhanced knowledge from my doctoral research in gender and development and my comprehensive background in advocating and working for women’s rights, I am inspired to forward my leadership to continue to make meaningful contributions in achieving my vision towards gender equality.

I am a current member of the Core Group of the Australian Feminist Foreign Policy Coalition.

Dr Joyce Das

Executive Director, Founder, and Lead Consultant

Professor Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
(She/Her)
Gender, Resources and Development Specialist and Lead Consultant
Location: Australia

Hello. My name is Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt and I am a Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University. I am delighted to be a part of Go Equal, as I am passionate about gender equality, and emphasise inclusion and diversity in every area of my life and work.

I am a feminist activist-researcher who works with local communities, using applied approaches and qualitative methods and tools. My research is on the interface of gender, the environment and natural resources in developing countries. My specific research focus has been on the precarious and gendered livelihoods in environmental resource-dependent communities living in mineral-rich tracts and subsisting on informal, artisanal, and small-scale extractive industries or ASM, on people living on transient chars (river islands) in flood-prone riverbeds, on gender issues in water resource management, and on rural communities in small-holder agriculture. I have also contributed extensively to gendering the large-scale extractive industries. I have expertise and experience of work in India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea.

I advise global development and donor agencies for building their policies on gender. Most recently, I worked as a member of a ‘Core Advisory Group’ for UN-WOMEN to help them develop a Post-COVID-19 ‘Feminist Plan for Sustainability’, and as a member of the Expert Group to develop its submission for the 66th Commission on the Status of Women. Of other international agencies, the World Bank has sought my advice on gender challenges in extractive industries. In 2021, I developed a major report for them on gender challenges in coal sector transition. I also developed an ‘intersectionality-informed gender impact assessment tool’ for the World Bank to use before closing down coal mines. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) invited me to join the Extractives and Resource Governance group of its International Resource Panel, which published the authoritative document, ‘Mineral Resource Governance in the 21st Century’. I wrote two chapters – the one on ASM and the other one on gender in mining. I have advised other UN agencies such as the UNDP. Within Australia, the Australian Council for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) have engaged me. My international policy advocacy work on gender and water led to my election as a member of the Steering Committee of Gender & Water Alliance (GWA).

My publications include Between the Plough and the Pick: Informal, Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (edited, ANU Press, 2018); The Coal Nation: Histories, Politics and Ecologies of Coal in India (edited, Ashgate, 2014); Dancing with the River: People and Lives on the Chars in South Asia (co-authored, Yale University Press, 2013); Gendering the Field: Towards Sustainable Livelihoods for Mining Communities (edited, ANU Press, 2011); Water First: Issues and Challenges for Nations and Communities in South Asia (co-edited, Sage, 2008); Women Miners in Developing Countries: Pit Women and Others (co-edited, Ashgate, 2006); Fluid Bonds: Views on Gender and Water (edited, Stree, 2006).

Besides these primary areas of research, I pursue an interest in marginal and mixed-race communities; my book, In Search of a Homeland Anglo-Indians and McCluskiegunge was used as the basis for a BBC documentary on the Anglo-Indians. I also have an interest in folk art and my book, Moving Pictures: Rickshaw Art of Bangladesh (co-authored, Mapin, 2010) is well-known amongst those interested in popular artforms.

More about my work can be gleaned from the ANU Staff Page

Professor Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

Gender, Resources and Development Specialist and Lead Consultant

Dr Faustina Pereira
(She/Her)
Human Rights, Social Justice, & Gender Specialist and Lead Consultant
Location: Bangladesh

Hello everyone! My name is Faustina Pereira and I am an internationally recognised human rights lawyer, and a social justice, gender, legal empowerment, and sustainable development specialist. I hold a Doctorate in International Human Rights Law from the University of Notre Dame (USA) and have twenty years of grounded experience in building fair justice systems, social cohesion, and redressing systemic wrongs in favour of those who are unable to understand and protect their rights or suffer due to imbalanced scales of power and privilege.

I bring on board expertise in organisational strategy, leadership, and policy advocacy. My body of work is at once extensive and in-depth and demonstrates impactful results through programmatic innovations on a range of thematic areas across a diverse geographic canvas, particularly in post-conflict, fragile, developing, and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa. These thematic areas include sexual and gender-based violence, LGBTQ+ rights, children’s rights, discrimination in family laws particularly in divorce, guardianship of children, and inheritance; reproductive justice, trafficking, migration, and refugee rights, right to shelter, and slum dwellers’ rights, labour rights, protection of religious, ethnic, economic and linguistic minorities; right to legal identity, legal empowerment, legal aid, and climate justice, among others.

As a Director of BRAC, I have run the world’s largest NGO-led access to justice programme, namely, the Human Rights and Legal Aid Services Programme, covering a client base of nearly 70 million individuals (approx. 1.75 million households). I have also served in senior leadership positions in national and international rights-based and development organisations such as Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) and IDLO (International Development Law Organisation).

As a Professor of Practice, General Education and Law, I teach International Refugee Law, and a self-designed Course titled, “Law for Life, Peace and Justice,” at the University of the Asia Pacific and BRAC University.

My grassroots justice model on Barefoot Lawyering won the World Justice Project Rule of Law Award in 2013; and in 2014, I was named Global Justice Innovator by The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law at the Peace Palace, The Hague.

I have worked closely with the UN Commission of the Legal Empowerment of the Poor, and actively engaged in the cross-institutional and cross-sectoral exercises in the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with specific contributions to the drafting of Goal 16 of the SDGs.

In 2015, I was named a Harvard Law School “Women Inspiring Change” Honoree. In 2006, I was named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, for my work as a social justice advocate. I am an Emeritus Member of the Global Legal Empowerment Network (a global network of over 3000 legal aid and access to justice organisations) and am also a Judge of the biennial Grassroots Justice Prize. I serve as a Member of the Advisory Committee of Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters South Asia Hub.

Dr Faustina Pereira

Human Rights, Social Justice, & Gender Specialist and Lead Consultant

Dr Caroline Lambert
(She/Her)
Gender Equality and Movement Building Specialist and Lead Consultant
Location: Australia

Hi all, my name is Caroline Lambert and I have worked in gender equality and human rights nationally, regionally, and globally for over 25 years. I am an experienced advocate and strategist with deep expertise in advocacy and research that drives social change, particularly in the areas of gender equality and human rights. I draw on over twenty-five years of experience as a high-performing governance and management executive in the not-for-profit sector, and in feminist organisational practice, leadership, research, and advocacy. I am interested in the how of gender equality as much as the what and the why.

I have exceptional facilitation skills and am recognised, locally and globally, for my ability to create engagement opportunities to deliver meaningful and constructive outcomes. I have strong organisational, strategic development, and governance management skills, and have provided advice and guidance to Boards as they adopt the high-level, strategic policies of the organisation. As a previous Board Chair, I have well-developed skills in facilitating governance discussions to support the achievement of purpose. I am well placed to support organisations to plan and conduct research, policy, and advocacy to drive progressive change. I am also recognised for my knowledge of the international legal and policy framework for gender equality.

I am highly skilled at working with organisations to develop participatory and feminist Impact Evaluation Frameworks and tools. I am passionate about making Impact Evaluation work for the folk doing the work, more than the folk funding the work. And about telling a story that enables clients to share their best insights into what worked and what didn’t, and to drive change in practice as a result of those insights.

Dr Caroline Lambert

Gender Equality and Movement Building Specialist and Lead Consultant

Dr Meena Poudel
(She/Her)
Gender and Migration Specialist and Lead Consultant
Location: Nepal

Hello, my name is Meena Poudel and I am a researcher and practitioner with thirty years of committed history of development, research, and feminist work on issues affecting the lives of socially excluded and politically marginalised groups in Nepal and various parts of South, East, and Central Asia, Western Europe, and North Africa with various organisations including Oxfam, USAID, UN systems, and academia.

Before returning to migration policy work, I was a Senior Visiting Research Fellow for the period of 2008 – 2013 at the UK’s Newcastle University and a teaching faculty member of Gender and Social Inclusion at Nepal’s Purbanchal University from 2013 – 2018. In recent years I am engaged more in exploring various aspects of the lives of vulnerable populations who experienced various forms of migration in Asia and North Africa. I have written academic and policy papers widely and spoken on these issues including a single-authored book: Dealing with Hidden Issues: Social Rejection Experienced by Trafficked women in Nepal.

Dr Meena Poudel

Gender and Migration Specialist and Lead Consultant

Natalie Fisher-Spalton
(She/Her)
Gender Equality and Advocacy Specialist and Lead Consultant
Location: Canada

Hello all, my name is Natalie Fisher-Spalton and I have over 20 years’ experience in international program management and capacity development in gender equality, women and girls’ human rights, and sexual and reproductive health including HIV/AIDS in consulting and staff roles for organisations including the United Nations Children’s Agency (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme, UN Women, and the World YWCA. Most recently, I have held consultancies with UNICEF’s HIV and Gender teams in the area of prevention of HIV/AIDS in adolescent girls and young women and promoting their participation in policymaking and advocacy. I have developed the Stay Free global working group’s Strategic Collaboration Framework for Adolescent Girls and Young Women HIV Prevention. I have worked with the UNICEF Gender team on gender capacity strengthening including the development of a gender training program in partnership with George Washington University and the redesign of their internal gender credentialing system.

Passionate about gender equality, human rights, and social inclusion, my career has centered around working with organisations on rights-based, inclusive approaches to building gender-integrated capacity and programs. As a consultant, I have worked with UNDP on their gender mainstreaming initiative Gender Equality Seal with their country offices. As the Deputy General Secretary of the World YWCA in Geneva, I led the program and advocacy team including grant making to build capacity in-country programs, and intergenerational leadership development. I have worked in coalitions and represented the World YWCA on various working groups and platforms on human rights, ending gender-based violence, reproductive health and rights. My background includes program management, community development, and local anti-violence against women programming with the YWCA in eastern Canada. I have lived and worked in multiple countries across Southeast Asia including Thailand and Cambodia as well as Switzerland, France, and USA.

Natalie Fisher-Spalton

Gender Equality and Advocacy Specialist and Lead Consultant

Jacqueline Zwambila
(She/Her)
Women Peace and Security Specialist and Lead Consultant
Location: South Africa

Hello all, I am an independent consultant focusing on the implementation of the Women Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda and Gender Equality and Human Rights in Australia and the Southern African Region, Currently, I am working as the Strategic Advisor at the Irish Embassy Pretoria to develop their regional Covid19 Recovery strategy 2022-2026 with a focus on WPS, regional National Action Plans (NAP), and the intersectionality across the spectrum of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to Gender Equality, WPS, Gender-Based Violence (GBV), Women and girls’ empowerment and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

I am currently providing consultancy services to the South African Presidency Office to develop and implement the 16 days of activism campaign program designed to provide information on the funding landscape in the country, interventions by development partners, modalities being used, the impact made and the experience/s of civil society and others concerning both impact and processes.

Earlier in 2020, I was engaged as a consultant by the Irish Embassy Pretoria, in partnership with UN Women South Africa, the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP), to design the program and content and to facilitate a consultative workshop to elicit the views of grass-roots women, human rights defenders and peacebuilders, working to implement the WPS Agenda and the impact of Covid-19 on implementation. My report on this was included in the UN Women’s Building Peace from the Grassroots Report at the Commission on the Status of Women on the 50th anniversary of WPS UNSC 2135 and at the United Nations Assembly as part of the Secretary’s General’s Report in 2020.

I have monitoring, evaluation, research, and analytical experience of partner performance as I was commissioned to produce a Review Report of CARE Australia's international program on the Women’s Empowerment: Improving Resilience, Income and Food Security Program (WE-RISE) in Malawi, Tanzania, and Ethiopia under the Australian Government's Africa Community Engagement (AACES), for program learning and accountability which included quantitative data collated under the campaign and key informant interviews to gather qualitative data for gaging program performance, program quality, and value for money.

I have over two decades of experience in international relations, diplomacy, advocacy, lobbying, negotiating, high-level networking, and conflict resolution. with a long history of fighting for democracy, directing social justice and human rights programs. I have exposure to working with DFAT on contract with ANU Enterprises on the Africa Awards scholarships, as well as working with Australia Council for International Development (ACFID) to provide development assistance to Zimbabwe during the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe.

I am a member of the Australian Civil Society Coalition that monitors the Australian Government programs on Women Peace & Security (WPS) in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325. I am also a member of the ANU Gender Institute and FemWise Africa Women Mediators for the African Union, and WILPF Australia.

Jacqueline Zwambila

Women Peace and Security Specialist and Lead Consultant

Dr Tulika Saxena
(She/Her)
Gender-based Violence Specialist and Senior Consultant
Location: Australia

Hi everyone! I am Tulika Saxena and am a Gender and Domestic Violence Specialist. Currently, I am working at the YWCA of Canberra where I manage violence prevention training and education program and a Domestic Violence Support Service. I have a PhD from the Australian National University and a Masters in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK. My PhD thesis was on domestic violence policies and their impact on survivors.

I have more than 20 years’ research and field experience in gender equality, gender mainstreaming, and gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace and primary prevention of violence against women at a national and international level.

I am an ILO (International Labour Organization) certified gender audit facilitator and an expert in gender-responsive budgeting. I have done many consultancy assignments for multilateral organisations and the UN. I bring experience in training, facilitation, program design, service delivery, and academic roles.

In my current role, I manage a domestic violence support service and deliver training on bystander intervention, domestic and family violence awareness training for Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Public Service, community services practitioners and employers, workplace equality and respect, and Teaching Respect Ed, a primary prevention program for young person and schoolteachers.

I am currently a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council for Women in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) that provides strategic advice to the ACT Government on issues affecting women in the ACT. It also provides a link between the Minister for Women and women in the ACT community.

Dr Tulika Saxena

Gender-based Violence Specialist and Senior Consultant

Dr Sana Ashraf
(She/Her)
Gender and Migration Specialist and Consultant
Location: Australia

Hello, my name is Sana Ashraf and I am a policy expert in areas of gender, migration, and intercultural communication. I have conducted research in a variety of social and gender equity areas, including women’s safety, with a particular focus on intersections of gender, migration, age, and poverty. In addition to my exceptional research and analytical skills, I have significant experience in community engagement, stakeholder, and government relations management. I have worked as Senior Policy Officer at Harmony Alliance - the national coalition of migrant and refugee women in Australia.

I am the author of Finding the enemy within: Blasphemy accusations and subsequent violence in Pakistan, a book based on my multi-award-winning PhD thesis in Anthropology, completed at the Australian National University. I am also the co-author of this blog post titled “Unravelling ‘complexity’: Keeping all women safe from violence” in which we consider the unintended consequences of framing certain forms of violence as complex by providing a background to diverse experiences of violence for women and their children.

I am highly skilled in qualitative research methods and have extensively used tools such as participant observation, structured and semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and content analysis. I am experienced in conducting qualitative research in a range of settings; my research participants have included Police departments across Australia, government officials, NGO professionals, social workers, lawyers, and the wider community.

I am competent in knowledge sharing and research communication as I have facilitated a range of workshops and delivered seminars focussed on evidence-based capacity building. In my role as a policy professional, I have convened a national advocacy group on migrant women’s safety and facilitated workshops to develop the group’s advocacy strategy and action plan. Previously, as an academic researcher, I have delivered “Political Islam Seminars” organised by the Australian National University for Australian government officials working as development professionals in Muslim countries.

Dr Sana Ashraf

Gender and Migration Specialist and Consultant

Dr. Hoimonty Mazumder
(She/Her)
Gender and Public Health Specialist and Consultant
Location: USA

Hi all, my name is Hoimonty Mazumder and I am a Public Health expert who worked for many years in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and maternal health in Bangladesh. Although I was trained as a medical doctor, my passion for working on women’s health, especially SRHR, maternal health, women’s mental health grew up through my long experience in working at the grassroots levels, including humanitarian settings. Through this work, I have observed that enormous barriers to women’s health access exist in the communities I have worked with.

As a current doctoral researcher, I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. at the University of Memphis, USA. In my doctoral thesis, I explore women’s health and non-communicable disease pattern amongst underprivileged or marginalised communities. My expertise in both medicine and public health provides a great combination of skills that is instrumental in working in these fields. I have contributed at the policy level in Bangladesh as a national representative of family Planning at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). I have significant experience in public health implementation programs, community engagement, and government liaison. Besides my immense passion for research, I envision contributing directly to ameliorating women’s health across the globe.

Dr. Hoimonty Mazumder

Gender and Public Health Specialist and Consultant

Sadia Choudhury
(She/Her)
Gender Research Associate
Location: Australia

Hello, my name is Sadia Choudhury and I am an aspiring gender and policy analyst with experience in designing qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis tools. My cross-cultural experiences have helped me contribute to several development projects inspired by gender equality, social justice, and a holistic approach to ensuring wellbeing. At the beginning of my career, I worked as a research associate in a non-government organisation in Bangladesh, supporting the involuntarily displaced children under rehabilitation programs. I have also worked in Fiji as a consultant to raise health awareness among school children. I have academic qualifications in social research and development studies, allowing me to blend my research skills in policy and social development projects. In my role as a policy and project officer in a non-government organisation in Australia targeted to support migrant and refugee women, I was involved in planning and management, research and policy writing, and stakeholder engagement to support the projects. I am currently pursuing my career as a data analyst.

Sadia Choudhury

Gender Research Associate

Dr Kaveenda Samarasinghe
(He/him)
Videographer and Filmmaker
Location: Australia

Hello everyone, my name is Kaveenda Samarasinghe and I am a videographer and filmmaker who strongly believes in using the power of the motion picture to make a difference. Born and raised in Sri Lanka and currently based in Canberra, I have a PhD in Molecular Genetics from The Australian National University. However, my true passion lies in videography and filmmaking. I have experience in producing and directing documentaries, short films, and promotional videos. My documentaries have covered subjects such as raising awareness on impoverished schools in rural Sri Lanka and the preservation of ancient cultural monuments in Sri Lanka. Some of my short films have garnered awards at national-level short film competitions in Sri Lanka with one getting broadcasted via national television. A feature film that is to be produced and directed by me is also currently in pre-production (filming planned to take place in late 2022).

I am excited to collaborate with Go Equal to provide my expertise to develop audio-visual content that would help effectively communicate Go Equal’s message. I am proud to join hands with Go Equal in their mission to achieve gender equality. I can be contacted via kaveenda.sam@gmail.com.

Dr Kaveenda Samarasinghe

Videographer and Filmmaker
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