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our team


madeleine kennedy-macfoy

executive director

madeleine joins Gender at Work after a decade leading work on women’s rights and gender equality at Education International (EI), the global federation of teachers’ trade unions. Prior to working at EI, madeleine was Acting Director of the Centre for Gender Research at the University of Oslo, where she also undertook postdoctoral research. madeleine first started working on women’s rights as a programme officer for Amanitare, the first African feminist network on sexual and reproductive health and rights. During her time at EI, madeleine advised and led on the development and implementation of EI’s global policies on gender equality in education unions; advocacy to end school-related gender-based violence globally and regionally in a number of African countries; global advocacy to advance gender equality in and through education; and global advocacy to secure economic justice and decent working conditions for women workers, a gender-responsive Just Transition, and a world of work free from gender-based violence. She also curated three EI world women’s conferences. madeleine has served as a member of the Global Advisory Committee of the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), the Global Working Group to End School-related Gender-based Violence convened by UNESCO, and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Gender Reference Group. She is co-editor of the European Journal of Women’s Studies. madeleine is a daughter of the African diaspora with roots & routes in & through Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria. madeleine has lived on three continents and is currently based in Brussels, Belgium.


ilana landsberg-lewis

transition advisor

Ilana is a labour and human rights lawyer, and a passionate advocate for the rights of women and girls. She is the host of the Podcast: Wisdom at Work: Older Women, Elderwomen and Grandmothers on the Move (formerly: Grandmothers on the Move). Ilana spent ten years at the United Nations, eight of them with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), where she worked as the Agency’s inaugural CEDAW Advisor, contributed to the founding of the Trust Fund on Ending Violence against Women, and co-founded UNGLOBE (a group advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ U.N. employees), becoming its first President. In 2003, Ilana co-founded the Stephen Lewis Foundation, to work with mutuality and solidarity with African community-based organizations working to turn the tide of AIDS at the epicenter of the response to the pandemic. Under Ilana’s leadership as its E.D from 2003-2019, the Foundation moved from her kitchen table to become a $10 million a year fund, supporting over 1800 initiatives with over 300 organizations in the 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa hardest hit by HIV and AIDS. Among her innovations was the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, which launched a vibrant worldwide network of activist older women, working to support African grandmothers, the children in their care, and their communities. Ilana has been deeply honoured and grateful to learn from indomitable grandmothers and older women activists the world over.


samira alishanova

finance director

Samira has worked as a finance manager in the nonprofit sector for over 15 years. In the past, she worked with CHF International, a nonprofit organization that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable.


aayushi aggarwal

communications manager

Aayushi Aggarwal is a feminist researcher, activist and writer. She works as a communications manager at Gender at Work, and has been engaged in various research and communications projects in multiple countries, at different levels. She has previously been associated with UN Women India MCO and Forum-Asia, managing and supporting their communications and programs. She holds a Masters in Human Rights and Democratization from the European Inter-University for Human Rights and Democratization; and a Masters in Research in Political Science from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She brings her passion for storytelling into her work and research on gender, human rights and development.


ritu gupta

programme manager

Ritu is an experienced project management trainer and has worked in the management consulting industry for over 9 years. She has a strong understanding of digital platforms and the ICT domain and her last assignment was with IBM India in the role of a project management analyst. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Six Sigma Green Belt (on process improvement) practitioner. She has completed her MA in Gender and Development from the University of Sussex and also holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management from XLRI, India. She has researched and written on the issues of child marriage, gender identities, marriage, Indian middle-class and material culture. Previous to joining Gender at Work, Ritu worked as research associate at IDS for a UN Women funded project. She also contributed to the project on Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development (CREID).


bedotroyee bhattacharjee

communications and program associate

Bedotroyee works as a Communications and Program associate with Gender at work. Her work includes research, communication & documentation, and managing projects through programmatic, strategic, administrative, facilitation support and inputs. She has worked across projects around gender-based research and feminist organizational capacity development. Bedotroyee has a PhD in English Literature. An avid consumer of stories in diverse media, Bedotroyee sees research as an extension of her sense of wonder and curiosity. Her research looks at the power of stories and their ability to change the world. She is fluent in three languages, Bangla, Hindi and English, and can understand basic Urdu, Sanskrit and Indian Sign Language. Education, mental health and intersectionality are areas that deeply inspire her. When she disconnects from the internet (yes, she does), she enjoys painting, admiring art in all forms, listening to stories and experiences and cherishing in her sense of wonder.


kausumi saha

research and communications associate

Kausumi has an MA in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics, and is currently pursuing a second Master's degree in Psychology. She has previously contributed in different capacities to several non profits, including researching and writing the Gender Violence in India Report by Prajnya Trust for two years in a row. She has also worked and written on themes such as SRHR, disability rights, prisoners' rights, LAR&R, media and pop culture, etc. Her primary research interests lie in the intersections of youth subcultures, media, and identity formation. In her spare time, Kausumi enjoys reading crime fiction, bothering her cat(s), daydreaming, and sipping on cups of kadak chai.