As a feminist advocate, strategist, grantmaker, and storyteller for communities and organisations, I have led initiatives nationally in India and the United States, regionally across the global South, and internationally for over 20 years. I am committed to amplifying voices ‘from the margins’ in both virtual and physical worlds, while unpacking issues of power, privilege, and access (including my own).
My work so far has encompassed supporting and strengthening free knowledge, human rights and social justice movements and communities of practice. I am currently co-founder and Co-Director, with Siko Bouterse and Adele Vrana, of Whose Knowledge?, a campaign to correct the skewed representations of knowledge of the internet, aka making knowledge on the internet feel less white, male, straight, and global North in origin. I have a 2017 Shuttleworth Fellowship for this work, focused on expanding knowledge from the global South and other marginalised communities. I received a 2018 Internet and Society award from the Oxford Internet Institute for the “innovative use of the Internet as a platform to amplify marginalised voices in the virtual and physical world”.
I am on the Scholars Council of the Center for Critical Internet Inquiry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and on the Board of Directors for the Nonprofit Quarterly, a leading news and analysis site for US civil society. I am an advisor to the Internet Archive, the online library providing free public access to digitised material. I am also an advisor to Equality Labs, the first tech start up at the intersections of story, art, and security, led by historically marginalised communities from South Asia.
In other avatars while based in the United States, I was Chief Grantmaking Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation from 2012-2015, creating and then heading the Grantmaking department (now Community Engagement). We supported Wikimedia communities worldwide in their efforts to create and enable free and open knowledge. Before that, I was the Regional Program Director for Asia and the Pacific Islands, at the Global Fund for Women, resourcing women’s rights organisations and feminist movements across the largest region of the world.
While in India, I designed and led a UNICEF partnership with the Karnataka police on responding to violence against women and children. I was also lead facilitator and researcher with Gender at Work, supporting organisational change strategy in a peer learning process with community-based groups and movements across India.
I have founded campaigns, and been involved with national and international networks against religious and cultural fundamentalisms, and for sexual and reproductive rights and women’s health.
My attempts to combine activism and academia include the book – Defending Our Dreams: global feminist voices for a new generation (AWID and Zed Books, 2006) – arguably the first international anthology of young feminist analyses and experience. In addition, I have been published in different research, nonprofit and media spaces, interviewed in local and international media, and asked to speak at various fora on feminist and social justice issues.
I hold an M.Phil. in Development Studies from Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford, where I studied as a Rhodes Scholar. I received my undergraduate Economics (Honours) degree from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. My other passions include poetry, music, theatre and Wikipedia; yarns of both the fibre and wordy kind; centering through yoga and the potter’s wheel; and hikes through the redwoods.
If you’re still not satisfied, here’s my CV.
Why the tagline gladly beyond any distance? I believe strongly in affirming difference, while challenging the distance (and the discrimination) it tends to create in many individuals, and in the institutions we build together.