ICRW honors visionary leaders

Press Release Subtitle

Paul Polman, Raj Shah and women researchers honored

Press Release Author

Kirsten Sherk, [email protected]

NEW YORK—On Monday, September 18, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) conferred awards for leadership, innovation and research at a gala luncheon, All In for Gender Equality. In addition to the honorees, the event featured a diverse array of leaders from the corporate, philanthropic and governing sectors, from Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to actor and author Ashley Judd. (For a complete list of participants, see below.)

ICRW presented its Champions for Change Award for Leadership to Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, for his commitment to gender equality across Unilever’s value chain. Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation received the Champions for Change Awards for Innovation for his work to end global poverty and efforts to ensure gender equality within and through the Sustainable Development Goals.

ICRW’s Champions for Change Awards were created specifically to recognize leaders who have been catalysts for the advancement of equality. In his remarks, Polman said: “It is our moral responsibility as today’s leaders — across all sectors, from business to government to civil society — to accelerate the pace of our actions to further advance the lives of women everywhere, and close the gap.” He continued, “Equality for men and women is a pre-requisite — as much as it is an outcome — for us to achieve the world we want by 2030.”

Polman has served in a number of advisory capacities for the United Nations (U.N.) in discussions involving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including a 2016 appointment to the SDG Advocacy Group by U.N. Secretary General António Guterres.

Shah was appointed in 2009 by then President Obama to serve as USAID Administrator, where he focused the agency’s work on ending global poverty. At the helm of The Rockefeller Foundation, Shah has helped focus the foundation’s efforts to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, and create unlikely partnerships that span sectors. Like Polman, Shah is intent on achieving gender equality through the global development goals.

“Gender equality is a human right, an economic and development imperative and critical to achieving the SDGs,” Shah said in his remarks. “The Rockefeller Foundation recognizes that we will only succeed in generating equitable solutions to the world’s greatest challenges by guaranteeing that women have an equal voice and hand in shaping the future — which is why we apply a gender lens to the work that we do, from agriculture to health to jobs and beyond.”

Past recipients of ICRW’s Champions for Change awards have included Melinda Gates, Hillary Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Women Deliver’s Jill Sheffield and Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO Monique Villa. Gap Inc. also received the award for its P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement) program to educate and advance women working in garment factories. Kindley Walsh Lawlor, Vice President at Gap Inc., discussed the program on a panel moderated by Ashley Judd with leaders of the P.A.C.E. program at Shahi Exports, the largest manufacturer exporter of ready-made apparel in in India.

At All In for Gender Equality, ICRW also recognized the next generation of leaders for gender equality. Kate Price, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts Boston, received theMariam K. Chamberlain Dissertation Award, while Gracia Violeta Ross Quiroga of Bolivia was selected for the 2017 Paula Kantor Award for Excellence in Field Research.

Both Price and Ross were recognized for their groundbreaking research that grew out of personal tragedy. Price, a survivor of family-control child sex trafficking, has informed trafficking policy and programming nationwide through her research and publications. Her work helped anti-trafficking advocates block state legislation in Florida that would have imprisoned victims of child sex trafficking while receiving support services. Gracia Violeta Ross Quiroga, herself a rape survivor, has dedicated her career to curbing gender-based violence and serving as a powerful voice for those, like herself, living with HIV. After Ross discovered she was HIV-positive in 2000, she founded the Bolivian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (REDBOL).

This year marked the fourth anniversary of the Mariam K. Chamberlain Dissertation Award for excellence in graduate level research, intended to honor and extend Chamberlain’s commitment to scholarship and mentorship in support of women’s rights. And this was the third year of the ICRW Paula Kantor Award for Excellence in Field Research, which highlights the work of a young, promising field researcher while honoring the legacy of former ICRW colleague Paula Kantor, a dedicated gender research who was killed in a terrorist attack while working in Afghanistan.

Barbara Pierce Bush, who in her mid-20s founded Global Health Corps, an organization to train the next generation of global health leaders, spoke on the importance of creating opportunities and fostering the next generation of trailblazers.

“Many of us have been lucky enough to have someone who recognized our passion, brought us along and nurtured us. This is the spirit behind the Mariam K. Chamberlain and the Paula Kantor Awards: both Mariam and Paula knew that if we were going to make real and lasting change for women and their communities, we needed to invest in the next generation of researchers.”

Anchored in the principle of human dignity, ICRW advances gender equity, inclusion and the alleviation of poverty worldwide. To this end, ICRW works with partners, public and private sector partners to conduct research, develop and guide strategy and build capacity to promote evidence-based policies, programs and practices.

For more information, contact Kirsten Sherk, Director of Communications at ICRW at 919-360-6616 or [email protected]

Speakers at All In for Gender Equality (in order of appearance):

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark

Sarah Degnan Kambou, President, ICRW

U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

Scott Jackson, president & CEO, Global Impact; board chair, ICRW

Ashley Judd, actor, author, activist

Cherie Blair, CBE, QC, founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

Julie Katzman, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Inter-American Development Bank

Kindley Walsh Lawlor, vice president, P.A.C.E. Gap Foundation

Chitra Ramdas, master trainer, Gap P.A.C.E. program – India

Anant Ahuja, organizational development head, Shahi Exports

Barbara Pierce Bush, CEO and co-founder, Global Health Corps

#          #          #


Mission Statement:

ICRW is the premier applied research institute focused on women and girls. In 2016, ICRW merged with the U.S. research organization Re:Gender (formerly the National Council for Research on Women) to create a global research platform.Headquartered in Washington, DC, with regional offices in India and Uganda, ICRW provides research and analysis to inform programs and policies that promote gender equality and help alleviate poverty.