Gender Forum Speakers

Adriana Siddle

Technical Advisor, CARE Australia

Adriana Siddle is a Technical Adviser for CARE Australia, based in the Mekong region. She has been working with CARE for over two years on projects to address sexual harassment and improve working conditions for women in the garment, hospitality and construction sectors. Prior to working for CARE, Adriana worked in public policy at the Australian Human Rights Commission and Australian Commonwealth Treasury. She has honors degrees in law and philosophy.


Afroza khan

Secretary in Charge at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Bangladesh

Afroza is the Secretary in Charge at the Ministry of Labour and Employment. She is a seasoned and passionate civil servant with over 27 years of experience working for different ministries within the government of Bangladesh. In her career, she has worked for the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. She has represented Bangladesh on behalf of the ministries in various bilateral investment agreement negotiations with different countries.


Aya matsuurA

Gender specialist South Asia, Decent Work Technical Team

Aya has been working in the areas of equality and non-discrimination, women’s economic and social empowerment, women’s entrepreneurship development, and gender-based violence. She has many years of experience in promoting the mainstreaming of gender issues in programme, project and research design, programme/project implementation, monitoring and evaluation, policy advice, and training and facilitation. She has worked in various roles in Thailand, Bangladesh, Viet Nam and Indonesia. In her current role, she provides technical advisory services to seven countries in the sub-region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and the Maldives.


Manager, ITCILO Gender Academy 

Benedetta has worked at ITCILO as an expert in training and capacity building for gender equality in the world of work for over 20 years.  She has managed many large-scale capacity building projects—at the international and EU level—and authored toolkits and training materials on this topic. She has particular experience in gender mainstreaming and RBM (risk-based monitoring) in development cooperation, participatory gender audits and non-discrimination and equality at the workplace. Currently, she has become involved in gender issues in scientific research environments.


Catelene passchier

Chair of the Workers Group in the ILO

Catelene has recently been appointed as Chair of the Workers Group in the ILO. She also works for the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV). Until May, she was the vice president and a member of its Executive Board. Currently, she is a special advisor to the president. She has been responsible for international and European policy, ILO matters, international trade policy, labour law and industrial relations, worker participation and company law, migration and free movement of workers, and equality/diversity.

dean laplonge

Principal Consultant and Director, Factive

Dean has more than twenty years of global experience exploring gender and safety. He has supported the work of UNFPA, the ILO, UN Women, the World Bank, the Danish Refugee Council, BHP Billiton, INPEX, and Australian government bodies. He holds a PhD in cultural and gender studies, Masters degrees in both theatre studies and international development, and a Bachelors in Chinese and Japanese. He is widely published in academic journals, and has contributed extensively to the debate on gender and safety in mining and other male-dominated industries.


Geert de Wael

Sourcing, Sustainability & Quality Manager for Stanley/Stella

Geert is Sourcing Manager at Stanley/Stella and has been leading the Company Liaison Office in Dhaka for 18 months. He has done extensive work to improve the labour conditions of workers. He strongly believes that Corporate Social Responsibility is key for successful business relations. Recently he has focused on gender equality. He has helped set up anti-harassment committees in Stanley/Stella’s main production units. Geert is an independent entrepreneur who has worked for several clothing companies in the UK, Belgium and The Netherlands over the last 20 years.


Dr Jane Pillinger

Researcher and policy advisor, Open University, UK

Jane is an independent researcher and policy advisor and Visiting Fellow in the Department of Social Policy and Criminology, Open University, UK. She has advised governments, employers, trade unions and NGOs across the world on gender equality and gender-based violence at work. She is author of several books and numerous publications, the most recent of which is Violence and Harassment Against Women and Men in the World of Work: Trade Union Perspectives and Action (ILO, 2017).



Program Officer for Asia at CNV Internationaal

Janneke is the Program Officer for Asia at CNV Internationaal. Before joining CNV, she was the owner of Research, Text & Organization in development cooperation, during which she worked on a refugee project for the Sen Foundation and for the International Institute For Global Leadership on CSR awareness raising. She organized the Third Hague Peace Conference and lectured at Leiden and The Hague on refugees and the SDGs. Furthermore, she worked on a development project in Sumatra, for the Sen Foundation and for the UNHCR.


Jo Morris

Visiting Professor in Practice, London School of Economics and Advisor to Fair Wear Foundation

Jo worked for more than 30 years in the British, European and global trade union movement, as well as with NGOs, specialising in equal pay, working time and reconciliation, and international development. Following her retirement, Jo now provides research and policy advice on gender and employment to labour rights organisations and government bodies. She is the author of  publications on gender and employment and currently sits on several boards and advisory committees.


Juliette li

FWF Coordinator for Gender and Audits

Juliette Li is the country coordinator for FWF.  She is in charge of FWF’s activities in the production countries.  She also leads a multi-year programme to reduce workplace violence against women in Bangladesh.  She holds a Master’s of Public Health from Maastricht University in the Netherlands.  She has worked for over 10 years in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility, with an emphasis on gender, health and labour rights across Asia, including several years as FWF’s audit supervisor in China.


Lisa Süss

Country coordinator India, Fair Wear Foundation

Lisa Süss is responsible for FWF’s work in India as well as FWF’s Workplace Education Programme. As part of this work she coordinates a programme which aims to build supervisory skills of women garment workers. Before joining FWF, she worked for a German development agency in various capacities; focusing on sustainability standards in global supply chains. Süss holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Sustainability Management.



Gender-based violence specialist, CARE International

As the gender-based violence specialist at Care International in Vietnam, Ms Le Thi Hong Giang is responsible for the development and implementation of GBV programs, the coordination of joint programme of NGOs with UN agencies and the Government of Vietnam and to link the initiatives of CARE with national effort to end GBV in Vietnam. Ms Le Thi Hong Giang has a MA in Health Social Sciences from Mahildol University, as well as additional training in Human Resource Management and Qualitative Research.She also has experienced in training on gender equality, domestic violence prevention, violence against women, and gender and the media.

Mahandra naidoo

Chief Technical Advisor, Social Dialogue and Industrial Relations Project, ILO

Mahandra manages the Social Dialogue and Industrial Relations Project that is being implemented by the ILO in Bangladesh. The project focuses on the country’s ready-made garment sector, and includes a strong focus on gender mainstreaming. He has more than 20 years of experience in social dialogue, policy development and public sector management. Mahandra also led the National Economic Development and Labour Council, which is South Africa’s apex national social dialogue institution.

miriam berlak

Gender Consultant, Mondiaal FNV Argentina

Miriam is a gender consultant for Mondiaal FNV. She has extensive experience with gender issues in many Latin American countries, and has worked from 2004 in the trade union movement on working women rights. She has worked with ITUC in Latin America, UNI and FES.

Advocate Nahida Anjum Kona

Legal advisor and trainer, Awaj Foundation, Bangladesh

Since 1999, Kona has worked as lawyer in the Labour Court and Labour Appellate Tribunal in Bangladesh and as a legal advisor and trainer for Awaj Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works with companies and factories to improve labor conditions for garments workers. As a Master trainer for GIZ in Bangladesh, Kona specialises in training on “Gender Equity”, to secure the rights of garment workers. For FWF, she is the lead trainer in the prevention of sexual harassment in the RMG sector. She also works to establish anti-harassment committees inside factories in order to develop internal grievance handling systems, enhance communication systems and eliminate gender-based violence.

Nyske Janssen

Programme Officer at Better Factories Cambodia, ILO

Nyske works on analysing gender dynamics in the Cambodian garment industry and in other countries where Better Work operates. Based on factory compliance data and academic research she develops tools and interventions that respond to and transform gender dynamics at factory level. Nyske is also driving Better Work’s gender strategy. With the ILO, she has worked on projects in Bangladesh and Cambodia. She has a MA in gender studies from the University of Sussex.



Forum Theatre Facilitator

Olivier is an experienced Forum Theatre facilitator with 15 years of global experience. He has used Forum Theatre in Africa, Latin America and Europe to engage women and men in staging and participatory solving of sensitive social problems at personal and community levels.


Pauline eizema

The Deputy Head of Mission from the Dutch Embassy 

Pauline has worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands for over 20 years. Since 2016, Pauline is head of Economic & Development affairs at the Dutch Embassy in Hanoi. With her team, she is actively involved in the Dutch business community, focusing on topics like sustainability and innovation. The Netherlands attaches importance to strengthening the capacity of civil society to combat structural causes of poverty and inequality. Within the ‘dialogue and dissent’ programme, the Netherlands supports the Fair Wear Alliance (including FWF, FNV and CNV) in Vietnam to advise on and advocate for the protection, respect and remedy of human rights in the RMG supply chain, while ensuring a healthy and viable industry in Vietnam.


rahel ayele taffsse

Head of the Women Affairs Department, CETU

Rahel is the Head of the Women Affairs Department of CETU, the Ethiopian trade union confederation. In this capacity she provides training on gender, including GBV, to union and federation leaders and women committees. She also works on GBV campaigns and recently she conducted research on women in the garment sector in Ethiopia.




Director at the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association

Salma Ali is a leading human rights activist in Bangladesh, member of the Bangladesh Supreme Court and Executive Director of Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA). She is a member of different national ministerial committees & international networks. Her work as a Petitioner in case related sexual harassment resulted in the landmark judgment on sexual harassment at educational institutions & work places. She is one of the initiators of drafting law regarding domestic violence, human trafficking and gender discrimination issues. Salma has a broad knowledge, experience & expertise in cross border trafficking, migrant workers and the refugees crisis.

shammin Sultana

Programme officer, Gender Mainstreaming, ILO Bangladesh

Shammin is the Gender Specialist/Programme Officer – Gender Mainstreaming for the Improving Working Conditions in the RMG Sector Programme of the ILO in Bangladesh. Shammin comes with a wealth of experience in women’s empowerment and gender equality issues with more than 17 years of working experience in Bangladesh and Nepal. She worked in progressively responsible positions in different NGOs, INGOs, bi-later projects and UN Agencies like UNDP, UNFPA and UN Women.  She has wide experience in designing and managing projects and programmes on Women’s Economic Empowerment, Political Participation, Gender Based violence with Government and private sector partners.

Shipra Chowdhury

Training Officer, Better Work Bangladesh Programme

Shipra Chowdhury is currently working as the Training Officer for the Better Work Bangladesh Programme under the Improving Working Conditions in the RMG Sector Programme of ILO in Bangladesh. She is also the Gender Focal person for the Better Work Programme in Bangladesh. She has wide-ranging experience in building the capacity of the garment workers and owners in the Better Work Factories in Bangladesh. Since her joining with ILO/Better Work Bangladesh Programme in 2015, she is working to raise awareness and practices at the factory level to address sexual harassment and violence against women and men at the work place.


Associate Director, Fair Wear Foundation

Sophie Koers is the associate director of FWF. She has over ten years of experience as a communications specialist in the field of sustainable development and social justice. As part of the Management Team, she contributes to the organisation’s overall strategy, policy development as well as heading her team and representing her organisation. With an MA in literature, Sophie worked as a journalist for many years, specialising in sustainable development and international cooperation. She is also the author of Practical Idealism, a book that is a source of inspiration and instruction for those who want to reduce their impact on the earth.on projects in Bangladesh and Cambodia.



Verification OFficer, Fair Wear Foundation

After years of working for one of FWF’s oldest German member companies, Hess Natur, Stefanie joined the FWF verification team in 2012. During her work at Hess Natur, she was trained as social auditor herself. At FWF, Stefanie is responsible for the verification activities of several brands as well as policy work in Germany.  In addition, she is leading FWF’s work in complaints handling. She is the project manager for the Gender Forum.



Country Representative for India, Fair Wear Foundation

Sushasini is the India country representative for FWF. Before FWF, she was the Programme Director at CIVIDEP. Since 2007, she has focused her work on labour rights issues in the export-oriented garment industry, primarily concerned with the working and living condition of women workers. She has authored of a number of articles and research reports on working conditions for garment workers and corporate accountability in global supply chains. Singh is a Commerce graduate and holds a MBA with a specialisation in Rural Development. She lives in Bangalore with her husband and two children.



Chairperson of Perempuan Mahardhik

Vivi is a chairperson at Perempuan Mahardhik, a nation-wide feminist association working among women, students and workers in Indonesia. She has been active for many years to combat gender based discrimination and violence against women. One of her latest activities is to conduct a survey of cases of GBV at workplace; the first ever in Indonesia. She also spearheaded the distribution of the ILO questionnaire related to violence and harassment against women and men at workplace in order to support the adoption of an ILO convention on this issue.








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