The World YWCA is a global women’s right movement.  In over 100 countries, we work with women, young women, and girls across faith, culture, and region. World YWCA is the largest organization of its kind, engaging millions of people each year. We believe that when women rise to leadership they transform power structures and policies around human rights, gender equality, peace, and justice. When women lead, they are empowered to address global agendas of sustainable development. World YWCA supports young women as they connect, inspire, mobilise and act for transformational change, for a sustainable world.


Our Goal 2035

“By 2035, 100 million young women and girls will transform power structures to create justice, gender equality and a world without violence and war; leading a sustainable YWCA movement, inclusive of all women.” Read more

Our strategic priorities

Every four years we develop Strategic Frameworks to implement our vision for 2035. For the next quadrennium, we have three strategic priorities:

  • Strengthening young women and girls’ transformative leadership
  • Realising human rights
  • Sustaining the YWCA movement

Read more


The YWCA was founded in the United Kingdom in 1855 by Lady Mary Jane Kinnaird and Emma Robarts. The movement spread quickly across the world and has been at the forefront to advance women’s rights in areas such as the European refugee crisis after World War II, the civil rights struggle in the USA and apartheid in South Africa. Read more



Every four years, the World YWCA Council meets to make decisions on the World YWCA’s policy, constitution, strategic direction and budgets. The Council includes representatives from the 100+ member associations that are affiliated to the global YWCA movement.

The World Council also elects 20 women to the World Board, the governing body of the World YWCA, which includes representatives from all regions. The World Board works closely with the World YWCA office, which handles day-to-day operations for the organisation in accordance with its policies, strategic direction and budgets. Read more about our Constitution  and our Policies.


Deborah Thomas-Austin, President (Trinidad & Tobago)
• Emma McCarthy, Treasurer (Australia)
• Haifia Baramki, Vice President (Palestine)
• Kathryn Ungard, Vice President (Canada)thumb_IMG_2182_1024
• Marissa Chester, Vice President (Trinidad and Tobago)
• Mimi Han, Vice President (Korea)
• Niveditha Sharat Chandran, Vice President (Aotearoa/NewZealand)
• Andrea Michelle Gradiz Díaz, Vice President (YWCA of Honduras)

World Board Members

• Angele Koloche Biao (Benin)
• Caroline Midttun Rostrup (Norway)
• Jamie Medicine Crane (Canada)
• Jenna Foster (USA)
• Jolien Roetman (The Netherlands)
• Kuena Diaho (Lesotho)
• Lucy Masiye (Zambia)
• Melanie Gentner (Germany)
• Nagham Nassar (Lebanon)
• Rajini Sureka Wijerupa (Sri Lanka)
• Silvina Mariel Gerbaldo (Argentina)
• Valerie Felicia Ho (Taiwan)

Nominations Committee

• Angele Koloche Biao (Benin)
• Lynne Kent (Canada)
• Roslyn Dundas (Australia)
• Younghee Won (South Korea)

World Office

The staff members at the World YWCA headquarter support YWCA work around the world. All staff can be reached at worldoffice@worldywca.org. Read more about them here. 

  • Casey Harden, General Secretary (United States)
  • Aïda Rehouma, Lead- Global Programming and Impact (Switzerland and Tunisia)
  • Suchi Gaur (Ph.D.), Lead- Global Engagement and Strategic Communications (India)
  • Thabani Sibanda, Lead- Strategic Partnerships and Resource Mobilisation (Zimbabwe)
  • Juli Dugdale, Senior Specialist, Young Women’s Leadership and Advocacy (Australia)
  • Helen Deslarzes, Senior Specialist- Finance and Operations (Philippines)
  • Daniela Zelaya Raudales, Specialist, Young Women Engagement and Mobilisation (Honduras)
  • Caterina Lemp Bitsacopoulos, Specialist, Governance and Member Services (Chile)
  • Victoria Genecand, Finance and Operations Associate (Brazil)
  • Ceylan Tokgoz, Global Programming and Impact Associate (Switzerland and Turkey)
  • Talisa Avanthay Garcia, Communications Assistant (Switzerland and Ecuador)
  • Clarissa Balan, World Council Coordinator (Philippines)
  • Pauline Westerbarkey, Leadership and Advocacy Specialist, Global Programming and Impact (Switzerland and Germany)

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Contact Us

World YWCA
16 L’Ancienne-Route
1218 Grand-Saconnex
Geneva Switzerland
Telephone: + 41 22 929 6040
Fax: + 41 22 929 6044
Email: worldoffice@worldywca.org

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