Kavita Ramdas is a globally-recognized advocate for gender equity and justice. She is an inspirational 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 the Director of the Women’s Rights Program at the Open Society Foundations after completing her tenure as Strategy Advisor for MADRE, an international women’s rights organization. She founded KNR Sisters, an independent consulting venture.
From 1996-2010 Kavita led and transformed the Global Fund for Women as its second President and CEO to become the largest public foundation for women’s rights in the world. She is recognized as a leader in the global women’s movement, actively engaged in advancing the power, visibility, and voice of women and girls. From 2012 to 2015 she led the Ford Foundation’s operations in South Asia and then was Senior Advisor to Darren Walker, President, on issues related to the foundation’s Global Strategy.
A gifted communicator, Kavita has spoken at numerous venues including the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the World Economic Forum, TED, and the United Nations. Media appearances include NOW with the Bill Moyers Show, the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Democracy Now!, and CNN.
A natural entrepreneur, Kavita founded a program on Social Entrepreneurship that is housed at Stanford University. She is a member of Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellows Program. Kavita has served on numerous boards including those of Princeton University, Mount Holyoke College, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Kavita currently serves on the Investment Committee of the C&A Foundation, and is a member of the governing boards for the Ploughshares Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Born in India and educated across the globe, Kavita speaks many languages, loves to read and write poetry, practices yoga, and enjoys traveling with her grown daughter Mira Ahmad. She lives with her husband Zulfiqar Ahmad, a writer, and their many potted plants in Inwood, New York.