Gayatri Patel is a senior gender policy expert with over 20 years of experience leading policy advocacy related to gender equality and human rights in development and humanitarian contexts globally. She is a Senior Advisor to the Feminist Foreign Policy Collaborative. In this capacity, she provides expert policy research and strategy insights to the Collaborative’s Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States.
Gayatri most recently served as the Vice President of Advocacy and External Relations at the Women’s Refugee Commission where she led the organization’s policy advocacy on gender and humanitarian action globally. She previously served as the Director of Gender Advocacy at CARE USA, driving initiatives on women’s economic empowerment, gender-based violence, and gender equality in humanitarian emergencies.
Prior to joining CARE, Gayatri spent nearly 10 years advising the U.S. State Department on a variety of human rights and humanitarian issues, including spearheading a multi-stakeholder strategy in the Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration to improve protection for migrants caught in countries in crisis. She also co-authored the annual U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report and managed the UN Human Rights Council and UN Universal Periodic Review portfolios to promote respect for human rights globally. Additionally, she served as the Director of Legal Programming at the Africa Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) organization, which provides pro bono legal services to refugees and people seeking asylum in Cairo, Egypt.
Gayatri has played a leadership role in a number of coalitions and organizations focused on gender equity, human rights, and humanitarianism. She is currently the Vice Chair of Advocacy on the Board of the UN Association of the National Capital Area and serves as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Council for Global Equality and the Steering Committee of the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy for the United States. She previously also co-chaired the Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girls Globally, the Coalition for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Equality, Girls Not Brides USA coalition, and the Big Ideas for Women and Girls Coalition.
In 2021, Gayatri was honored to be recognized amongst the Apolitical List of the 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy and to be selected to join the U.S. Delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women as a civil society representative.
Gayatri holds a law degree and master’s degree from American University’s Washington College of Law and School for International Service and a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College.