There are many inequities and indignities that women suffer around the world, which hold them back from participating fully in the economy, says Geeta Rao Gupta
US Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday swore in Indian-American Geeta Rao Gupta as the Ambassador at Large for Global Women's Issues in the State Department.
Gupta was confirmed by the US Senate by 51 to 47 votes for the position in May, this year.
According to Gupta, there are many inequities and indignities that women suffer around the world, which hold them back from participating fully in the economy.
“They are subject to threats to their safety and have a fear of violence even on a daily basis, and that determines their mobility. In situations of conflict and emergencies and humanitarian crises they are particularly vulnerable, both in terms of their safety but also in terms of their being able to look after their families and feed their families,” she said during her confirmation hearing last year.
Describing herself as a “first-generation immigrant,” she said, “I belong to a family of professional women, each of whom dedicated their lives to serving their communities and from a family of men who supported them fully.”
She told lawmakers that she did her doctoral research in India on understanding the barriers that women face in pursuing a career, which ultimately, propelled her toward a career focused on rectifying the inequities experienced by women. “That became both my passion and my profession,” she said.
“From the women entrepreneurs in Kenya and India who sustain small businesses despite limited access to financial services, to the brave women in Liberia who mobilised against great odds to demand peace for their families and communities, I have seen women use the limited resources they have to provide for their families and protect others,” Gupta said.
The brief ceremonial swearing was attended among others by the second Gentleman; her husband Arvind Gupta; daughter Nayna Gupta; Manjuli Maheshwari, sister-in-law and Carolina Rojas, a close family friend.
Till recently she was Executive Director of the 3D Program for Girls and Women and Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation.
Gupta served as Deputy Executive Director at UNICEF and as a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to that, for over a decade, Gupta was the president of the International Centre for Research on Women, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to using research to shape international development policies and programs to empower women and girls.