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Srilatha Batliwala

Srilatha Batliwala is a feminist activist-scholar and trainer and currently Senior Advisor, Knowledge Building at CREA. She is also a Senior Associate at Gender at Work, a global network of gender experts supporting organizations to build cultures of equality and inclusion, and Honorary Professor of Practice at SOAS, University of London. Her work focuses on building knowledge from practice, and capacity building of young activists and social justice organizations to advance feminist visions of social justice through feminist movement building and feminist leadership. 

Through the past four decades, Srilatha’s work has spanned grassroots activism, building movements of highly marginalized grassroots women, research and scholarly work, policy advocacy, grant-making, and capacity building of young women activists around the world. Up to the mid-90s, she was involved for over twenty years in grassroots work in India, where she helped build large-scale women’s movements that mobilized and empowered tens of thousands of the most socio-economically marginalized rural and urban women in slum communities in Mumbai (Bombay) and in the backward districts of Karnataka state in South India.

Thereafter, she worked internationally including as Civil Society Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, New York (1997-2000), Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations (2000 – 2007), and from 2008 – 2016 as Scholar Associate at AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development). She has also served on the boards of several International and national women’s rights and development organizations (WEDO, PLAN, AWID, ISTSR, Just Associates, Gender at Work) and currently serves on the International Advisory Board of IHRB (Institute for Human Rights and Business), the Advisory Council of the Population Foundation of India, the Governing Council of the Srishti Institute for Art, Design and Technology, and chairs the Board of IT for Change.

Srilatha has written and published extensively on a range of gender issues, and is best known for her work on women’s empowerment, women’s movements, feminist leadership, and feminist approaches to monitoring and evaluation. Her most recent publications are (i) “Feminist Mentoring for Feminist Futures”,All About Power and “All About Movements, primers for activists; and (ii) “Engaging with Empowerment – An Intellectual and Experiential Journey” (Women Unlimited, 2014, and eBook version 2015), a collection of her writings of the past twenty years.  

Srilatha commutes between homes in Bangalore and the Nilgiri Hills of South India and is an active feminist grandmother to her four grandchildren!  

Favourite quotes: A dream is not something you see in your sleep. It is the thing that does not let you sleep! (APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India); Only when you stop moving can you see where to go next… (Pico Iyer).

Favourite books: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, The Colour Purple by Alice Walker, and The Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Favourite pastimes: baking, sewing, watching Netflix.