FAR is governed by an international Steering Committee comprised of women’s rights advocates from MENA, Africa, Asia, South Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean, the indigenous community in North America, Europe, and the Center for Women’s Global Leadership’s (CWGL) Executive Director. The Steering Committee meets annually in one of the world regions and, as whenever the opportunity presents, during the annual gathering of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.
Dr Abiola Akiyode Afolabi is the Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and a prominent voice of the feminist movement in Africa advocating for gender equality, voice and participation of women and girls. Abiola unapologetically advocates for gender re-balancing in resources, legal rights and participation as well as equally social relations. She emphasizes specific needs of women to promote gender justice in her multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural context. Abiola is currently the Chairperson of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) the largest civil society coalition on elections in Nigeria and Acting Secretary West African Law and Religion Society (WACLAS), a former student leader and a 1999 recipient of the Defenders’ Day Award which she received at an impressive ceremony in New York city on Dec 9 1999 the 1ST anniversary of UN Defenders’ Declaration. Abiola specializes in Peace and Security, Gender and the Law, Human Rights and Democratic Governance. She has undertaken several national assignments on the review of relevant laws and constitution affecting elections and good governance in Nigeria. As a prominent member of the Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) movement, she leads the campaign for safe and secure school s in the North East Nigeria and belongs to several boards of organizations in and around Africa. Abiola lectures at the University of Lagos with several academic publications to her credit.
Krishanti Dharmaraj is the Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. She is a feminist and human rights activist with over 25 years of experience working to advance the rights of women and girls. Previously, Krishanti was the Western Regional Spokesperson for Amnesty International USA. She is also the co-founder of WILD for Human Rights (Women’s Institute for Leadership Development) and the Sri Lanka Children’s Fund. Under her leadership, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to pass legislation implementing an international human rights treaty. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International, Women, Law and Development, Horizons Foundation and the Center for Asian Pacific Women. Krishanti has an MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California, at Berkeley.
Priyanthi Fernando is a feminist social development and communications professional with over 30 years of working in development and as a women’s rights activist. She is passionate about issues of social justice and about fighting structural inequalities relating to gender, access to technology, poverty and livelihoods. She is currently the Executive Director of the International Women’s Rights Action Watch, Asia Pacific and is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She has also worked in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Yemen, the UK, and Australia, and has led the teams of very different organizations including a grassroots women’s organization in Sri Lanka, a global network specializing in rural transport and a poverty focused research organization. In every organization that she worked for she championed gender analysis, women’s rights issues and participatory management. Priyanthi has a Master’s Degree in Mass Communications from the University of Leicester and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
Margarita Guillé is a Mexican social activist and founder of the Inter-American Shelter Network. In 2006, she was distinguished with the Pro Homine Award granted by the State Human Rights Commission of Aguascalientes Mexico (2017) for her work as an activist for the rights of women, boys and girls and in 2011 she got the International Prize for Women leaders from Soroptimist International in Washington. She studied Media Mass Communication and has two master’s degrees: in Mexican Literature and in Political Communication from the University of Sheffield, England, a Diploma in Gender, Public Policys and Local agendas. She is the founder of the Inter-American Shelter Network (2006), the Global Refuge Network (2008) and a co-founder of the Mujeres Agentes de Cambio in Argentina (2012). She founded ITA in 2011, a boutique for social projects dedicated to publishing, film/audiovisual production and coaching. From 2008-2013 she acted as an substitute-expert to the Organization of American States regarding the Belém Do Pará Convention.
Fatima Outaleb has over 27 years of experience in national and regional women’s issues with a special focus on gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment. Outaleb is the Mena representative for the Global Network of Women Shelters. She is a founding member of the Karama network, and a focal person and gender advisor of many national, and international human right organizations, regional networks. Outaleb has published several publications on gender-based violence, and contributed to many toolkits and briefs on women’s rights in the MENA region.
Alicia A. Wallace is a queer Black feminist, gender expert, and research consultant. She is the Director of Equality Bahamas which promotes women’s and LGBTQ+ rights as human rights through public education, community programming, and advocacy. Her work has included a two-year educational campaign ahead of a national referendum on gender and citizenship, the design and coordination of Women’s Wednesdays—a month event series bringing women together to share knowledge and ideas—and management of a disaster relief donation and distribution center. Alicia has a weekly column on social and political issues in the Bahamian daily newspaper The Tribune and has published academic papers. She produces The Culture RUSH, a monthly newsletter fusing social justice and pop culture, and Scorch which makes feminist academic theory more accessible. Passionate about creating systems and tools to increase civic engagement, she creates safe spaces for critical dialogue and bold imagination. Alicia is interested in issues of identity and power, and co-creating Black feminist futures. She enjoys reading, baking, cycling, gardening, penpaling, and talking to everyone and no one at the same time on Twitter.
Magda Szarota is a disabled woman with invisible impairments, who for the last 15 years has been trying to bridge the worlds of the so-called disabled and non-disabled people. Her day-to-day work takes place at the intersection of grass-root activism, disability studies and human rights advocacy. She has lived and worked in Asia, Europe and the US, and is considered one of the pioneers of the disabled women’s movement in post-socialist Poland. Magda co-authored the first shadow report to the UN CRPD on the situation of the Polish girls and women with disabilities and successfully advocated on their behalf during the 20th session of the CRPD Committee in Geneva in 2018. She is also an experienced human rights NGO executive, a certified trainer of the Polish Humanitarian Action, a graduate of the Ashoka Foundation Social Innovators Academy, and a member of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Campaign Bootcamp networks. Magda co-created and has been co-running Humanity in Action Poland, an award-winning rights education organization of the international Humanity in Action network, and is a co-founder of the first Polish NGO run by and for women with disabilities. She cooperates with Women Enabled International (US) and Sisters of Frida (UK), and received numerous merit-based scholarships, including from Yale University and the Kosciuszko Foundation. Magda is a dual doctoral candidate at the Polish Academy of Sciences and Lancaster University, UK. She has extensively written about human rights and issues covered by feminist disability studies. In 2019, she was awarded the prestigious Ambassador of the UN CRPD title which was handed in by the Polish Ombudsman.