Kavita Ramdas


A photograph of Kavita Ramdas

Kavita Ramdas is a globally recognized advocate for gender equity and justice. She is a speaker and thought commentator on the challenges facing philanthropy and civil society as they seek to advance equitable and sustainable development and gender and racial equity. She currently serves as director of the Women’s Rights Program at the Open Society Foundations, having completed her tenure as strategy advisor for MADRE, an international women’s rights organization, and is the founder KNR Sisters, an independent consulting venture.

From 1996-2010, as its second president and CEO, Ramdas led the Global Fund for Women to become the largest public foundation for women’s rights in the world. After three years heading the Ford Foundation’s operations in South Asia, she spent a year as senior advisor to the Foundation’s president on global strategy.

Ramdas has spoken at numerous venues including the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the World Economic Forum, TED, and the United Nations. She has appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers, the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Democracy Now!, and CNN.

Ramdas founded a program on social entrepreneurship that is housed at Stanford University. She is a member of Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellowship Program and has served on numerous boards including those of Princeton University, Mount Holyoke College, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Ramdas currently serves on the Investment Committee of the C&A Foundation and is a member of the governing board of the Ploughshares Foundation. She speaks five languages, loves to sing, practice yoga and cook and travel with her grown daughter Mira Ahmad. She lives with her husband Zulfiqar Ahmad in Inwood, New York.