Gayatri Patel is the Director of Gender Advocacy at CARE USA where she leads the organization’s U.S. Government advocacy on gender priorities, including women’s economic empowerment, gender-based violence, and gender in humanitarian emergencies. Gayatri leads various gender coalitions to advocate for strong policies and resources to advance gender equality globally, namely the Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girls Globally and the Coalition for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Equality (founding member).
Gayatri joined CARE after nearly 10 years advising the U.S. State Department on a variety of human rights and humanitarian issues. With an expertise on gender issues in South Asia, the Middle East, and East Asia, Gayatri served for five years within the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP). At J/TIP, she was a lead author of the U.S. TIP Report and designed interventions to improve anti-trafficking legal structures and victim protection policies. Gayatri also managed the UN Human Rights Council and UN Universal Periodic Review portfolios with the State Department Bureau of International Organization’s Office of Human Rights, where she focused on bringing children’s and women’s human rights to the forefront of UN resolutions and human rights reviews. She spent two years in the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration managing an intense, multi-stakeholder strategy to improve protection for migrants caught in countries in crisis, particularly vulnerable women and unaccompanied children.
Her field experience includes serving as the Director of Legal Programming at the Africa Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) organization, which provides pro bono legal services to refugees and asylum seekers in Cairo, Egypt. At AMERA, Gayatri spearheaded the development of programs aimed at improving access to justice and social services for refugee survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. She represented the organization in several UN-convened consultations with civil society on refugee assistance and broad humanitarian policy.
Gayatri has a law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law with a focus on international human rights and humanitarian law, and a Masters’ Degree from American University’s School for International Service where she concentrated on international politics and women’s human rights. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations with a concentration on East Asia and women’s studies.