Ideas in action

Article Date

07 December 2011

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

I’m delighted to honor former ICRW president, Geeta Rao Gupta, who will be celebrated today with the 2011 Commitment to Development “Ideas in Action” Award, which is sponsored by the Center for Global Development and Foreign Policy magazine. It’s such a befitting honor for my colleague of eight years at ICRW, who has dedicated her life to advocating on behalf of women and girls around the globe. The annual award recognizes an individual or organization that has changed attitudes and policies about the developing world.

We at ICRW are proud to stand alongside Geeta who spent 13 years leading this organization. During her tenure, ICRW built the evidence base to demonstrate to policymakers and donors that investing in women and girls was pivotal to achieving the world’s economic and social goals. Take for example ICRW’s trailblazing work on HIV and AIDS. Geeta led a 17-country study in the 1990s that explored the nature of women’s vulnerability to HIV. Evidence from that study propelled the HIV community to talk about the growing number of women living with HIV and to understand how gender inequality was fueling the epidemic. At a time when biomedical science tended to dominate the discourse on HIV, Geeta spoke with deep compassion of the human story behind the epidemiological data.

Under her leadership, ICRW provided rich data on how to empower the world’s women by giving them access to education and economic opportunities, providing for their unique health needs and protecting them from violence. She anchored the organization squarely at the intersection of research and advocacy. And she worked tirelessly to ensure that evidence drives program design and policy priorities for women in developing countries. This continues to be ICRW’s mission today because while the broader development community understands the “why” of addressing gender inequality, we are still grappling with the “how.” ICRW is at the forefront of discovering practical, evidence-based solutions to ensure that women and girls have equal opportunities.

As we honor Geeta today, I will be participating on a panel with Geeta and her ICRW predecessor, Mayra Buvinic. Each of us is committed to fulfilling ICRW’s vision for a world where women and girls – as well as men and boys – are able to reach their potential and contribute fully to their societies.

It’s a vision we – along with the rest of the global community – can only achieve together.