Learn more about Sia, her career, and what drives her passion for gender equality. Check out who she would travel back in time to meet and whether she detests ice cream.
Prior to joining Girl Up, Sia served as the Executive Director and Program Director of the 3D Program for Girls and Women. There, she led strategic direction, managed programs and partnerships, and oversaw the transition of the program to partners in India. Sia has over 25 years of experience working in international development, with organizations such as the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), the Population Council, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), and the International Women’s Health Coalition. Her work – including her contributions to public policy, advocacy, training and capacity building, institutional strengthening, and strategic communications – has centered on gender equality and girls’ and women’s empowerment, reproductive and sexual health, rights and justice, preventing and mitigating the impact of violence against girls and women, HIV/AIDS, and education throughout her entire career.
Earlier, Sia served as a Senior Gender Consultant with UNICEF, where she contributed to the implementation of UNICEF’s Gender Action Plan and the design of its gender capacity development program. Previously, she served as Senior Technical Writer and Editor with agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network, including the University of Central Asia and the Global Centre for Pluralism.
Sia serves as the co-chair of the Learning Working Group of the Movement for Community-Led Development and is a 2020-21 Fellow with WomenLift Health, a women’s leadership program. A dual citizen of Kenya and the United States, Sia has a Master of Social Services (Clinical) and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (Honors) from Bryn Mawr College.
What keeps you motivated?
All the incredible people I get to work with. Throughout my career in international and community development, I have focused on gender equality and social justice, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and HIV/AIDS. I’ve been lucky enough to work with committed, passionate, creative people from all over the world, many of whom have become beloved friends.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Outside of my family, my biggest inspiration is Audre Lorde, who self-defined as a Black, feminist, lesbian, mother, poet, and activist. Before she died in 1992, Audre Lorde shared her wisdom through her amazing essays and poems. I was lucky enough to meet her when I was in college, and for me, a young feminist of color, she made truth, justice and intersectionality seem possible. Her quote “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives” has guided me throughout my work and life.
Two truths and a lie:
I went to an all-girls school. Then, I attended a women’s college. I detest ice cream.
Favorite food of all time:
I’d have to say Indian, with Ethiopian a close second. I grew up in East Africa and my family is of Indian origin. I was lucky enough to grow up in an extended family with my grandmother. She was an amazing cook, which means I love to eat Indian food, but cannot cook it.
If I could travel back in time, I would want to meet:
Freddie Mercury and Prince. Their musical genius and ability to transcend racial, sexual and gender identities – and the courage it must have taken to do so – always amaze me. They both died too soon and had so much more to say. I saw Prince in concert but never got to see Freddie (who also has roots in East Africa and India) perform live.
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