Meet Seema Jalan

“For me, feminist leadership means recognizing that power and leadership potential, it can come from anywhere. It used to be that for women’s leadership, women leaders had to pass the torch. To me, that’s sort of an old school model, that there’s limited power, that those of us who have been traditionally marginalized have to share (…) young women are not waiting to have a torch passed to them. They are creating their own torches or lighting that of others”.

Seema Jalan, August 2019

Seema Jalan is the Executive Director of the Universal Access Project at the United Nations Foundation, a multi-stakeholder initiative of foundations and NGOs working to strengthen U.S. leadership on international family planning and reproductive health.

Seema comes to the UN Foundation from Women Thrive Worldwide with almost 15 years of experience on women’s human rights. At Women Thrive Worldwide, she led the organization’s work on aid reform, ensuring U.S. assistance reaches both women and men in developing countries, addressing violence against women internationally, and increasing access to women’s economic opportunity. Her work with the U.S. government contributed to the adoption of the first ever government wide strategy to address gender-based violence globally and USAID’s policy on Gender Equality and Female Empowerment.

Seema has worked with the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in Ethiopia, Women for Afghan Women and the United Nations.  She also worked with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in New York, where she supported the Representative’s work on the wage gap and gender inequity in the workplace. In 2007, she was honored as a Rising Star of politics by Campaigns and Elections magazine. Seema received her Master’s Degree from Columbia University and a B.A from New York University. When not in the office, you can find Seema spending time outside, ideally spending an afternoon on the beach and reading Oprah magazines while her son plays quietly next to her.

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