Women’s Economic Empowerment:
building evidence for better investments
Global Advisory Committee
Our advisory committee included WEE subject matter experts and advocates, feminist economists and policy makers. We aimed to work with our advisory committee to ensure our work is appropriately contextualised and aligned with advocacy efforts to move the women’s economic empowerment agenda forward.
Lyric Thompson is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). In this capacity, she leads the institution’s formulation of evidence-based policy recommendations and oversees ICRW’s advocacy efforts with the U.S. Government and internationally. Lyric brings more than ten years of experience in global gender and development issues including women, peace and security; women’s economic empowerment; violence against women; child marriage and adolescent girls’ issues. Lyric leads or is a member of a number of advocacy coalitions on women’s rights issues, including the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States, Girls Not Brides USA, the Coalition for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Equality, the Coalition to End Gender-Based Violence Globally, the U.S. Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. She is on the Editorial Board of Apolitical and writes regularly on gender and foreign policy for outlets, such as Ms., Foreign Policy, Devex, The Hill, Thomson-Reuters Foundation and openDemocracy. In August 2019, Lyric was nominated by Governor Cooper to the North Carolina Council for Women; she is also on the board of the advocacy organization North Carolina Women United.
Previously, Lyric served for five years as a primary expert and strategist for Amnesty International USA’s women’s human rights program, as senior policy manager at Women for Women International, and as a project manager for overseas development contracts at DAI. Thompson is a Phi Beta Kappa alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and of the Bard College Program on Globalization and International Affairs.
Ms Mino Ramaroson is a rural development specialist and a gender activist from Madagascar. She is a development economist by training and had worked for national and civil society organizations and international coalitions/networks for the last twelve years. She has worked on issues as varied as microfinance, education, rural development, gender and land. She has been involved in lobbying and advocacy around these issues in her country, as well as at regional and global levels. Fluent in English and French, Ms Ramaroson supports the mainstreaming of gender and women’s rights, advocacy on resilience and land issues, capacity building and technical support, project design and implementation, and research. She is currently working as the Africa Regional Coordinator for Huairou Commission, where her expertise as a Global Land Specialist has resulted in chairing roles in international institutions such as the International Land Coalition or Global Land Tool Network. Ms Ramaroson has a Diploma of Higher Studies in international development from Paris X University and a M.S. in Economics and Social Work from the Sorbonne.
Sally Torbert is a Senior Program Officer with the International Budget Partnership (IBP) working on IBP’s Open Budget Survey and Budget Credibility project. Sally is a public sector and governance specialist with expertise in public financial management, service delivery, social accountability, and capacity building. She has previously held positions with the World Bank, DAI, UNCDF, and UNDP, supporting public finance and governance reforms in Afghanistan, Lao PDR, Nepal, Mozambique, and Timor-Leste. She holds degrees from Princeton University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Claire Schouten is a Senior Program Officer at the International Budget Partnership working with supreme audit institutions (SAIs), government ministries, civil society actors, international organizations, investors and development partners around the world to advance budget transparency, participation, credibility and accountability norms and practices. Claire is a specialist in social accountability, action learning, capacity development, and policy guidance. Claire has held positions in the Canadian government, United Nations and non-governmental organizations and has worked in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. She holds degrees from McGill University and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Antonique Koning has more than 20 years of experience working on a range of topics related to microfinance and financial inclusion and currently serves as CGAP’s Gender Lead. Antonique has expertise in consumer protection and responsible finance, customer centricity and empowerment. She is also involved in CGAP’s member engagement.
Antonique led CGAP’s work on customer protection and value and is a contributor to CGAP’s Customer Centric Guide. She has strong experience in program management and coordination, having led CGAP’s Africa team and managed a Euro 15 million capacity-building program for microfinance actors in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. Before joining CGAP in 2004, she gained hands-on experience developing and implementing microcredit programs in El Salvador and working with savings banks globally.
Antonique has a Master’s degree in International Trade Management and Policy from the University of Birmingham and a Master’s degree in Applied Economics from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. She is based in Belgium and speaks Spanish, French, and Dutch.
Jessamyn O. Encarnacion is the Inter-Regional Advisor on Gender Statistics for UN Women’s global gender data programme, Making Every Woman and Girl Count, who is instrumental in implementing the technical and substantive work of the programme. Before joining UN Women, she worked for more than 18 years in the Philippines Statistical System.
For Jessa, counting the uncounted is how she started her career as a government statistician. In the span of 15 plus years with the Philippines National Statistical Coordination Board, Jessa rose from the ranks: from an understudy in the gender statistics sector in 1997 to Director of the Social Statistics Office in 2009 and capped her national portfolio as interim Assistant National Statistician of the Philippine Statistics Authority during its formative period in 2014-15.
Jessa brought her strong grounding in national statistical coordination and technical methods to regional statistical development initiatives: as Regional Advisor on Statistics of the UN ESCAP and as lecturer on disparity analysis and data use and communication at the UN Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific.
Christian Pennotti is a Senior Director for Market-Based Approaches at CARE. An experienced manager with a record of innovation, Christian’s career has focused on advancing economic development and financial inclusion with a particular focus on gender equity. In his current role, Christian leads the global scale-up of CARE’s proven savings group model, aiming to reach 60 million members by 2030; is helping expand CARE’s support for female-run businesses in Asia, Africa and Latin America; and is guiding the growth of CARE’s use of cash and voucher assistance. Christian has served on the Board of Directors of the SEEP Network and Farm Shop Ltd, Kenya. And he launched Chomoka, an emerging social enterprise supporting savings groups across Sub-Saharan Africa. He lives in Pennsylvania, USA with his wife and two sons.
Ann Katsiak is the Vice President of the Economic Engagement and Private Sector Development at Nathan Associates, where she manages a portfolio of over US$55 million. She also serves as Chief of Party for the US-Support for Economic Growth in Asia (US-SEGA) project and works closely with a range of partners to develop policy programs across the Indo-Pacific region. Over her career, Ms Katsiak has honed expertise on regional integration, trade and trade facilitation while also leading multi-stakeholder efforts around women’s economic empowerment, including gender and structural reform, women’s employment in non-traditional sectors and women’s entrepreneurship. Ms Katsiak has international experience in Moldova, Armenia, Jordan, and Central Asia, in addition to the Asia-Pacific region. She holds a master’s degree in International Affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University.
Megan O’Donnell is the Assistant Director of the Centre for Global Development’s gender program and a senior policy analyst. She works on issues related to women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion, gender data and measurement, and development effectiveness. Previously, Megan worked at the ONE Campaign and also coordinated CGD’s gender research programme. Megan has worked with the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Center for Research on Women, CARE USA, Banyan Global, and the Middle East Institute. She has a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford and a bachelor’s degree in Politics and French from the University of Virginia.
Thao Hong is Program Officer leading country and donor alignment advocacy for the Financial Services for the Poor team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Thao previously held positions in commercial aircraft sales, brand marketing, and international strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Prior to joining the private sector, Thao was a Foreign Service Officer focusing on economic issues in East Asia at the State Department. Thao served under the Obama administration in her role as the Director of Trade Policy at the Office of United States Trade Representative. In these positions, Thao helped promote U.S. commercial and economic interests abroad through work with high-level government officials, business leaders and local citizens. She attained her B.B.A. in Finance and a Certificate of International Studies in business at the University of Washington and completed the Advanced Economic Studies Program at the Foreign Service Institute. She formerly served as chairperson and is current member of the board of trustees at the World Affairs Council. Thao also volunteers her time mentoring students and supporting financial capacity building efforts in her local community.