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THE WOMENLEADING THE WORLD'S LARGEST
BILATERAL AID AGENCIES
Women continue to hold fewer
leadership roles than men in
international development.
A Devex analysis in 2014 on gender
parity among 50 leading
international NGOs showed women
make up 44 percent of senior-le...
Devex wondered whether this
applied to the heads of bilateral
aid agencies.
To find out, we identified the
leaders of the ...
In instances when development
cooperation falls under a country’s
broader ministry of foreign affairs,
Devex chose the lea...
Gayle Smith was involved in shaping U.S. aid policy
long before she came on board as head of USAID.
She co-founded the Mod...
Smith has a number of plans for the aid agency,
including strengthening USAID’s policy bureau and
ensuring the continuatio...
D A N A H Y D E
C E O , M I L L E N N I U M C H A L L E N G E C O R P .
Dana Hyde broke two traditions when she became
CEO...
Hyde began talking about MCC’s future as soon as
she assumed the position, and early this year, she
finally put her though...
At Elizabeth Littlefield’s swearing-in ceremony in
2010, then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
talked of her "passi...
While working for J.P. Morgan, Littlefield engaged in
a number of passion projects, mostly for women.
She started a progra...
At OPIC, Littlefield faced a number of challenges,
not least of which was operating with a small team
to handle a multibil...
P R I T I P A T E L
U . K . S E C R E T A R Y O F S T A T E , D F I D
When new U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May
appointed P...
But in her first parliamentary hearing in September,
Patel put some of the U.K. aid community’s
concerns to rest regarding...
D I A N A N O B L E
C E O , C D C G R O U P P L C
Diana Noble sat at the helm of CDC in 2011 at a
pivotal moment for the U...
Today, CDC is acknowledged as helping create jobs
in some of the poorest places in the world, including
in Africa and Sout...
Noble will be leaving CDC in 2017, and the
development finance institution is now in the
process of finding a new CEO.
Cre...
A N N A R Y O T T
M A N A G I N G D I R E C T O R A N D C E O , S W E D F U N D
Anna Ryott’s career is full of twists and ...
“I benefit from and feel joy about having done so
many different things in my career,” she said in an
interview with Stock...
L I L I A N N E P L O U M E N
M I N I S T E R F O R F O R E I G N T R A D E A N D D E V E L O P M E N T
C O O P E R A T I ...
“Inequality is truly the mother of all crises,” she said
in an opinion piece for The Guardian early this year.
“Whether it...
C O N C E T T A F I E R R A V A N T I - W E L L S
M I N I S T E R F O R I N T E R N A T I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T A ...
“Conservatism is still a dirty word for some,” she said
in an interview at the National Press Club. “If you
believe in god...
“People may not agree with you, but they will
respect you more if you stand up for what you
believe in,” she said in a sep...
Marie-Claude Bibeau has a deep understanding and
knowledge of Canada’s foreign assistance. She used
to work for the defunc...
Bibeau is carrying forward the former conservative
government’s aid initiatives, from a focus on
maternal and child health...
T A N J A G Ö N N E R
C H A I R , M A N A G E M E N T B O A R D O F G I Z
GIZ was in its early years when Tanja Gönner joi...
In her first annual press conference in 2013 as chair
of GIZ’s management board, Gönner spoke of a GIZ
that’s expanded its...
Under Gönner’s leadership, GIZ has opened offices in
the U.S. and South Africa. Last year, the agency also
celebrated the ...
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The women leading the world's largest bilateral aid agencies

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The United Nations has yet to make history by appointing a woman secretary-general, but that doesn't mean women aren't already leading elsewhere in development. Devex took a look at the largest bilateral aid agencies to see how many of them are led by women.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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The women leading the world's largest bilateral aid agencies

  1. 1. THE WOMENLEADING THE WORLD'S LARGEST BILATERAL AID AGENCIES
  2. 2. Women continue to hold fewer leadership roles than men in international development.
  3. 3. A Devex analysis in 2014 on gender parity among 50 leading international NGOs showed women make up 44 percent of senior-level executives at headquarters and 27 percent in regional offices.
  4. 4. Devex wondered whether this applied to the heads of bilateral aid agencies. To find out, we identified the leaders of the main implementing agencies of the 10 largest OECD- DAC bilateral donors.
  5. 5. In instances when development cooperation falls under a country’s broader ministry of foreign affairs, Devex chose the leaders that specifically handle the international development portfolio. Also included in the list are the women leading the bilateral donors' development finance institutions.
  6. 6. Gayle Smith was involved in shaping U.S. aid policy long before she came on board as head of USAID. She co-founded the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network to advocate for more effective U.S. aid, and helped create the 2010 Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development during her time at the National Security Council. G A Y L E S M I T H A D M I N I S T R A T O R , U . S . A G E N C Y F O R I N T E R N A T I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T Credit:EllieVanHoutte/USAID/CCBY-NC
  7. 7. Smith has a number of plans for the aid agency, including strengthening USAID’s policy bureau and ensuring the continuation of President Barack Obama’s Feed the Future initiative through the Global Food Security Act. The latter became law in July, but how much time Smith has to achieve her other goals remains to be seen, given the eminent changes that accompany a new U.S. administration. Credit:EllieVanHoutte/USAID/CCBY-NC G A Y L E S M I T H A D M I N I S T R A T O R , U . S . A G E N C Y F O R I N T E R N A T I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T
  8. 8. D A N A H Y D E C E O , M I L L E N N I U M C H A L L E N G E C O R P . Dana Hyde broke two traditions when she became CEO of MCC in 2014: she’s the first woman to lead the development aid agency, and she’s the first to have a legal, not business, background. Credit:BenediktvonLoebell/WorldEconomicForum/CCBY-NC-SA
  9. 9. Hyde began talking about MCC’s future as soon as she assumed the position, and early this year, she finally put her thoughts in NEXT, the aid agency’s new five-year strategic plan. But with little time on her hands, experts are questioning where Hyde’s priorities will lie for the remainder of her term, which coincides with outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama. Credit:BenediktvonLoebell/WorldEconomicForum/CCBY-NC-SA D A N A H Y D E C E O , M I L L E N N I U M C H A L L E N G E C O R P .
  10. 10. At Elizabeth Littlefield’s swearing-in ceremony in 2010, then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked of her "passion for creating possibilities where others only see obstacles," referring to the initiatives Littlefield had taken on prior to the role. E L I Z A B E T H L I T T L E F I E L D P R E S I D E N T A N D C E O , O V E R S E A S P R I V A T E I N V E S T M E N T C O R P . Credit:MirkoRies/WorldEconomicForum/CCBY-NC-SA
  11. 11. While working for J.P. Morgan, Littlefield engaged in a number of passion projects, mostly for women. She started a program that brought Wall Street food to elderly women in Harlem, and used her annual leaves to volunteer in setting up and bringing microfinance to women in Africa. Credit:MirkoRies/WorldEconomicForum/CCBY-NC-SA E L I Z A B E T H L I T T L E F I E L D P R E S I D E N T A N D C E O , O V E R S E A S P R I V A T E I N V E S T M E N T C O R P .
  12. 12. At OPIC, Littlefield faced a number of challenges, not least of which was operating with a small team to handle a multibillion dollar portfolio. But she’s made strides: growing the organization’s commitments in sub-Saharan Africa while generating income for the U.S. government that reached over $400 million in 2013. Credit:MirkoRies/WorldEconomicForum/CCBY-NC-SA E L I Z A B E T H L I T T L E F I E L D P R E S I D E N T A N D C E O , O V E R S E A S P R I V A T E I N V E S T M E N T C O R P .
  13. 13. P R I T I P A T E L U . K . S E C R E T A R Y O F S T A T E , D F I D When new U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Priti Patel as the new head of DfID in July, concerns abound in the aid community, especially as Patel has previously been critical of the agency’s aid spending. She’s also a vocal supporter of Brexit. Credit:MichaelDean/OECD/CCBY-NC
  14. 14. But in her first parliamentary hearing in September, Patel put some of the U.K. aid community’s concerns to rest regarding the U.K.’s support to the European Development Fund. She also said she’ll uphold former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitment to spend 0.7 percent of the country’s GNI on aid and “uphold” her predecessor’s focus on women and girls. Credit:MichaelDean/OECD/CCBY-NC P R I T I P A T E L U . K . S E C R E T A R Y O F S T A T E , D F I D
  15. 15. D I A N A N O B L E C E O , C D C G R O U P P L C Diana Noble sat at the helm of CDC in 2011 at a pivotal moment for the U.K.’s development finance institution. Following a push from the head of DfID and the International Development Committee, she was tasked with refocusing the institution to make it work more like a development institution helping lift people out of poverty in developing countries rather than merely an investment company. Credit:CDCGroupplc
  16. 16. Today, CDC is acknowledged as helping create jobs in some of the poorest places in the world, including in Africa and South Asia, and for helping businesses and entrepreneurs there gain access to capital and other business know-how. In 2015, CDC also received its first new capital from DfID after 20 years, which CDC Chairman Graham Wrigley attributed to Noble’s “energy and passion. Credit:CDCGroupplc D I A N A N O B L E C E O , C D C G R O U P P L C
  17. 17. Noble will be leaving CDC in 2017, and the development finance institution is now in the process of finding a new CEO. Credit:CDCGroupplc D I A N A N O B L E C E O , C D C G R O U P P L C
  18. 18. A N N A R Y O T T M A N A G I N G D I R E C T O R A N D C E O , S W E D F U N D Anna Ryott’s career is full of twists and turns. She began as a financial analyst in the pharmaceutical industry, followed by work in advertising for seven years. After a while, she became interested in social issues, eventually applying and securing a job at UNICEF as marketing manager then at SOS Children's Villages as secretary-general before taking on the role of CEO at the Swedish government’s development finance institution. Credit:Swedfund
  19. 19. “I benefit from and feel joy about having done so many different things in my career,” she said in an interview with Stockholm University where she was a keynote speaker on its Alumni Day in 2015. “Today there are high demands on a leader which makes it important to understand that one cannot do everything yourself. You have to find your strengths, be clear with them and build a strong team who together develops the company in the right direction.” Credit:Swedfund A N N A R Y O T T M A N A G I N G D I R E C T O R A N D C E O , S W E D F U N D
  20. 20. L I L I A N N E P L O U M E N M I N I S T E R F O R F O R E I G N T R A D E A N D D E V E L O P M E N T C O O P E R A T I O N , N E T H E R L A N D S M I N I S T R Y O F F O R E I G N A F F A I R S Lilianne Ploumen, who has been the Netherlands’ foreign trade and aid minister since 2012, has put combating income inequality at the heart of her 2016 policy agenda, where she earmarked 35 million euros ($38.6 million) to promote inclusive economic growth in developing countries where Dutch aid is present. Credit:HervéCortinat/OECD/CCBY-NC
  21. 21. “Inequality is truly the mother of all crises,” she said in an opinion piece for The Guardian early this year. “Whether it is conflict, climate change, economic stagnation or migration flows, inequality is always a major underlying cause.” Credit:HervéCortinat/OECD/CCBY-NC L I L I A N N E P L O U M E N M I N I S T E R F O R F O R E I G N T R A D E A N D D E V E L O P M E N T C O O P E R A T I O N , N E T H E R L A N D S M I N I S T R Y O F F O R E I G N A F F A I R S
  22. 22. C O N C E T T A F I E R R A V A N T I - W E L L S M I N I S T E R F O R I N T E R N A T I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T A N D T H E P A C I F I C , D E P A R T M E N T O F F O R E I G N A F F A I R S A N D T R A D E A U S T R A L I A Concetta Fierravanti-Wells is known in Australian politics for her conservative views. She strongly voiced her opposition against same sex marriage in Australia, for example, saying marriage is a religious ceremony between a woman and man. Credit:DepartmentofForeignAffairsandTrade
  23. 23. “Conservatism is still a dirty word for some,” she said in an interview at the National Press Club. “If you believe in god, there is a cross against your name. If you believe in the traditional family and oppose same sex marriage — another cross. If you support our current constitutional arrangements, another cross. Goodness, if you believe that CO2 is plant food, two crosses.” Credit:DepartmentofForeignAffairsandTrade C O N C E T T A F I E R R A V A N T I - W E L L S M I N I S T E R F O R I N T E R N A T I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T A N D T H E P A C I F I C , D E P A R T M E N T O F F O R E I G N A F F A I R S A N D T R A D E A U S T R A L I A
  24. 24. “People may not agree with you, but they will respect you more if you stand up for what you believe in,” she said in a separate interview with SBS, Australia’s publicly funded multimedia platform. Credit:DepartmentofForeignAffairsandTrade C O N C E T T A F I E R R A V A N T I - W E L L S M I N I S T E R F O R I N T E R N A T I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T A N D T H E P A C I F I C , D E P A R T M E N T O F F O R E I G N A F F A I R S A N D T R A D E A U S T R A L I A
  25. 25. Marie-Claude Bibeau has a deep understanding and knowledge of Canada’s foreign assistance. She used to work for the defunct Canadian International Development Agency, serving in different postings in Africa. M A R I E - C L A U D E B I B E A U M I N I S T E R O F I N T E R N A T I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T A N D L A F R A N C O P H O N I E , G L O B A L A F F A I R S C A N A D A Credit:GlobalAffairsCanada
  26. 26. Bibeau is carrying forward the former conservative government’s aid initiatives, from a focus on maternal and child health to seriously considering the establishment of Canada’s own development finance institution. She is cautious in committing to any percentages though when it comes to Canada’s aid spending. Credit:GlobalAffairsCanada M A R I E - C L A U D E B I B E A U M I N I S T E R O F I N T E R N A T I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T A N D L A F R A N C O P H O N I E , G L O B A L A F F A I R S C A N A D A
  27. 27. T A N J A G Ö N N E R C H A I R , M A N A G E M E N T B O A R D O F G I Z GIZ was in its early years when Tanja Gönner joined the agency in 2012. The German government had just merged three of its technical cooperation agencies under the GIZ brand the previous year, meaning Gönner took charge of a much larger organization. that’s now the main provider of Germany’s technical cooperation. Credit:Chiussi/AgenturStandArt/CCBY-NC
  28. 28. In her first annual press conference in 2013 as chair of GIZ’s management board, Gönner spoke of a GIZ that’s expanded its focus to include not just developing countries, but also emerging and industrialized economies like Saudi Arabia, where GIZ experts trained vocational school teachers. Credit:Chiussi/AgenturStandArt/CCBY-NC T A N J A G Ö N N E R C H A I R , M A N A G E M E N T B O A R D O F G I Z
  29. 29. Under Gönner’s leadership, GIZ has opened offices in the U.S. and South Africa. Last year, the agency also celebrated the inauguration of its carbon neutral Bonn office. Credit:Chiussi/AgenturStandArt/CCBY-NC T A N J A G Ö N N E R C H A I R , M A N A G E M E N T B O A R D O F G I Z

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