The WIEGO Board of Directors is comprised of:
- four representatives of membership-based organizations of informal workers (one of whom serves as the Chair)
- two representatives each from WIEGO's other two constituencies: researchers and development practitioners, and
- other persons needed to carry out the functions of the Board.
The current Directors, most elected or re-elected to the Board at the WIEGO General Assembly in 2022, are:
Juana del Carmen Britez
Juana del Carmen Britez is Vice-President of the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), leads the Union of Auxiliary Personnel of Private Houses (UPACP) in Argentina and is the Director of Health Care Provisions at OSPACP (Auxiliary Personnel of Private Houses’ Health Insurance). Juana, who is a lawyer, has spent 30 years in the labour movement and the fight for the rights of domestic workers and has brought this to the fore with the ILO, UN Women and other international organizations. She has also worked as spokesperson for various unions and as an associate in several departments on workplace violence and care provisions. She has been part of feminist forums both in civil society organizations and ministries in Argentina.
Mirai Chatterjee is the Director of the Social Security Team at Self-Employed Women’s Association, (SEWA). She is responsible for SEWA’s Health Care, Child Care and Insurance programmes. Currently she serves as Chairperson of the National Insurance VimoSEWA Cooperative Ltd and is actively involved with the Lok Swasthya Health Cooperative, of which she is a founder. In addition, she is Chairperson of the Gujarat State Women’s SEWA Cooperative Federation of 106 primary cooperatives with 3 lakh members. She joined SEWA in 1984 and was its General Secretary after its Founder, Ela Bhatt.
Ms Chatterjee serves on the Boards of several organizations, including the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Save the Children and PRADAN. She was advisor to the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector and is in the Advisory Group on Community Action of the National Rural Health Mission. She was also a Commissioner in the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. She was a member of the National Advisory Council (NAC), appointed by the Prime Minister of India in 2010. She was conferred the Global Achievement award by the School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University.
Ms. Chatterjee has a B.A. from Harvard University in History and Science and a Masters from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health, USA.
A renowned development scholar, Marty steered WIEGO from its 1997 inception until 2017, turning the research, policy and action network into one of the world’s leading organizations focused on the informal economy. Her specialization includes employment, gender, and poverty with a focus on the working poor in the informal economy. Marty’s expertise is sought globally by a range of major institutions, from the European Commission and the International Labour Organization to the World Bank and the United Nations.
Marty served as International Coordinator for two decades and is currently a Senior Advisor at WIEGO. She is also a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and an Affiliated Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Before joining Harvard in 1987, she worked for two decades in South Asia: in Bangladesh, working with BRAC (now the world’s largest non-governmental organization) and in India, where she served as field representative for Oxfam America. She received her PhD in South Asia Regional Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
She was awarded a high civilian award, the Padma Shri, by the Government of India in April 2011; and a Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War award by the Government of Bangladesh in December 2012.
Marty's lifelong work as a champion of the working poor was featured in the alumnae magazine of her alma mater, Connecticut College. Marty's mother, Barbara "Barry" Beach Alter, also a Connecticut College alum, was honored in a separate story for her 35 years of missionary work in India. Read both interviews. At the 50th anniversary reunion of her graduation from Connecticut College, Marty was awarded the Connecticut College Medal, the highest alumni award, and gave a keynote address entitled “From India to Connecticut College - and Back” which traces her life’s journey as a third generation member of a missionary family in India.
Debra Davis is a US certified public accountant and holds a Masters in Business Administration. She was born and raised in the United States but has lived predominately in the United Kingdom since 1990. In 2002, she retired as a partner in the consulting firm Deloitte after a successful 18 year career. While at Deloitte, she worked with corporations involved in international business.
Since leaving Deloitte, Debra has played financial management and treasury leadership roles in a variety of settings. She is especially interested in social investment and gender issues, and currently holds a portfolio of directorships and trusteeships for organisations active in these areas. Debra also volunteers as a Business Mentor for the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, a charity in the UK which helps young people wishing to set up their own business.
Julie is the gender equality and projects international officer at the global union federation, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant and Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF), based in Geneva, Switzerland. She joined the IUF in November 2016, she was trained by Barbro Budin, who was also a member of the WIEGO board, and took over Barbro’s position when she retired. Before that, she worked at the ILO (unit POLNORM) during 2 years and then over 13 years for a Geneva-based NGO and publisher, CETIM. She was in charge of publications and on organizing conferences on the mechanisms at the origin of “maldevelopment”, on the inequal relations between the Global North and Global South, and on the promotion of economic, social, and cultural rights. She got in touch with many social movements from all around the world.
She graduated from Sciences-Po (IEP) in Aix-en-Provence, France. She holds 2 master degrees, one on international relations (Université Laval, Québec, Canada) and the other one on development studies (LSE, London, England). She is committed to the alter-globalization movement and involved in different grassroots organizations in Geneva.
A political economist working on social justice and decent work for over 30 years, Simel Esim has been involved with WIEGO since in 1997. Between 2000 and 2003 she was WIEGO’s regional advisor for Eastern Europe and the Arab States. She wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on women informal workers in Turkey. A founding member of the Support Group for Home-based Workers in Turkey, she also supported home-based workers' and waste pickers’ cooperatives in the country.
Between 2004 and 2012, Simel was a regional specialist on gender equality and women workers’ rights in the ILO’s Regional Office for Arab States. While there she coordinated a research initiative on gender equality and women empowerment in the informal economy of Arab States, partnering with WIEGO researchers. She also led the ILO initiatives in the region on migrant domestic workers’ rights including the issuance of the first ever standard unified contract, and dissemination of a workers’ rights booklet in multiple languages.
Since 2012 Simel has led ILO’s work on cooperatives and the wider social and solidarity economy (SSE), based in Geneva. In this capacity she has collaborated closely with WIEGO, SEWA and the Global MBOs on research, capacity development, advocacy and awareness raising on the role of SSE entities in advancing informal workers’ rights. She has supported SSE entities of informal workers in a number of countries. Most recently Simel was the technical lead for the ILO’s Office report on decent work and the SSE, the general discussion at the 110th International Labour Conference that led to the adoption of a resolution and conclusions on decent work and the SSE and the subsequent seven year strategy and an action plan on decent work and the social and solidarity economy (2023-2029) adopted by the 346th Governing Body of the ILO. These three documents put an emphasis on the role of the SSE in the transition from the informal to the formal economy.
Simel is currently a member of the International Advisory Committee of WIEGO’s Organization and Representation Programme and represents the Development Constituency on the WIEGO Board along with Lin Lim.
Lin Lean Lim, an independent consultant, is a development economist by training. She retired from the International Labour Organization at the end of 2008, after serving for 20 years. From 2007-2008, she developed the ILO global programme to make decent work a central objective of the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. From 2004-2006, she was Deputy Regional Director of the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, where her responsibilities included technical supervision of regional programmes in areas such as labour migration, youth employment, labour market governance and local economic development. From 1994-2004, her positions at ILO Headquarters involved providing policy advice, implementing projects and conducting research dealing mainly with gender issues and the protection of vulnerable women workers. She wrote the technical report and served as the Secretary-General’s representative for the 2002 International Labour Conference discussion on Decent Work and the Informal Economy. The ILC resolution was a major breakthrough in terms of the technical approach and global programmes on the informal economy. She was also responsible for an ILO global programme on More and Better Jobs for Women. Before joining the ILO, she was Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Malaya and Visiting Fellow at several other universities. She is the author of several books, journal articles and technical reports.Since retiring, she has served on the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights, working with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She has also been a visiting senior fellow at the Khazanah Research Institute of Malaysia.
Uma Rani is Senior Economist at the Research Department with the International Labour Organization (ILO), which she joined in 2008. She is part of the ILO Technical Secretariat for the Commission on Future of Work and is actively engaged in the deliberations and discussions. She holds a PhD in Development Economics from University of Hyderabad, India. Prior to joining the ILO, she worked as an Associate Professor at Gujarat Institute of Development Research, Ahmedabad, India and also taught at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune, India. She has held Visiting Fellow positions at Institute of Developing Economies, Japan; ETH-NADEL, Zürich and Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement, Paris to undertake research on informal employment, precarious and non-standard forms of work. Her main research interest lies in development economics, the informal sector, minimum wages, social policies and gender. She has published widely in journals and edited volumes, and has co-authored a number of books.In 2013, she led a research project on comparative international minimum wage research and one of the articles published in the International Labour Review. “Minimum wage coverage and compliance in developing countries” in 2013 had a policy impact as it was extensively cited and used by the National Minimum Wage Panel that was set up in South Africa to formulate recommendations to the Deputy President for national minimum wages. A long-standing member of WIEGO, her current research focuses on minimum wages, income inequality, global supply chains in electronics sector and the platform economy with a focus on informal and precarious employment.
Lorraine Sibanda, born Lorraine Ndhlovu is a lifelong activist for women's rights, workers and human rights. She is currently the President of Street Network International and is the first woman to reach the position since Street Net's inception.
She is also the National President of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA), a pioneer organisation that has revolutionised the struggle for the rights of informal economy workers in Zimbabwe.
As is the case with so many women workers before her, Lorraine did not plan to become an informal economy worker. She is a qualified teacher who worked in primary schools for ten years and turned to cross border trade, vending and goat farming as her employment conditions continued to deteriorate. Lorraine has always been outspoken in the face of injustice. She became an active trade unionist while working in a factory, before she went to university. During her university days she became the first female Students Representative Council President- representing and leading fellow students to stand up for their rights. It is therefore no surprise that when Lorraine involuntarily became a full time informal economy worker, she did not cross her arms, but actively searched for other workers who were already organising workers in the informal economy. As a member of ZCIEA, she grew through the ranks of the organisation. Her determination, devotion and hard work led fellow ZCIEA comrades to choose her to lead the organisation.
At the international level, Lorraine continues to make the voices of informal economy workers heard. She has, through WIEGO and Street Network International, represented and spoken on behalf of informal economy workers in the International Labour Conference in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 . Lorraine is adamant that informal economy workers be recognised as workers, fully integrated into the labour movement and that women must be given the necessary tools, encouragement and resources to lead. For Lorraine there is no such thing as a voiceless person. "I don't believe in being the voice of the voiceless, but merely a mouthpiece of those that I represent. Because I believe only the affected can articulate their Issues".
- 1st female Students Representative Council President- 2001 to 2003)
- Teacher, Sports, Music, Arts director - (2001 to 2007)
- Gwanda Chapter Chairperson, Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe (2007 to 2017)
- ZCIEA Gwanda Vice Chairperson (2008 to 2010)
- ZCIEA Gwanda Territorial President (2011 to 2015)
- Gwanda Residents Association Women's Representative (2012 to 2016)
- ZCIEA National President (2015 to 2021, re-elected in 2021 to date)
- StreetNet International President (2016 to 2019, re-elected 2019 to date)
Poonsap Suanmuang Tulaphan
For over four decades, Poonsap S. Tulaphan has been a leader for women, home-based workers, and the informal economy sector in Thailand. Currently she is dedicated to organising membership-based organisations of informal economy workers, as well as promoting and advocating for social protection policies and legislation.
Poonsap is sitting as a labour specialist for the Homeworkers Protection Committee which provides recommendations to the Labour Ministry of Thailand on policies to protect, promote and develop homeworkers’ quality of life such as: good working practices, occupational health and safety, skill development measures, the rates of remuneration for work done at home.
She has played a key role to promote the economic empowerment of home-based workers by using social and solidarity economy concepts to establish HomeNet Thailand Brand, a social enterprise that helps build entrepreneurship and production skills of home-based workers.
Poonsap is currently a Board member of HomeNet Thailand Association (HNTA), a membership-based organisation of around 5,000 home-based workers and the Director of the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion (FLEP), an organisation that advocates for the rights and well-being of informal economy workers. FLEP and HNTA are raising awareness on women’s rights and working towards ending violence against women amongst home-based workers and the society. In addition, together with other civil society organisations in Thailand, FLEP and HNTA are advocating for universal child allowance, effective and relevance day care centres for home-based workers and other informal workers.
Poonsap’s efforts paved the way for FLEP and HNTA to organise the Federation of Informal Workers in Thailand (FIT), an organisation that represents more than 10,000 informal economy workers from HNTA, the Network of Domestic Workers, the Confederation of Street Vendors in Bangkok, and the Motorcycle Taxi Drivers Association. Some of the results from her continuous advocacy for legal protection of informal economy workers are the Homeworkers Protection Act, the Ministerial Regulation No.14 - protecting domestic workers rights- and the Social Security Scheme covering informal economy workers under Article 40 of the Social Security Law in Thailand.
Poonsap is presently a member of HomeNet International’s Working Committee, representing home-based workers from Southeast Asia. She is also representing home-based workers in the sub-committee of the Informal Workers Insurers, working towards developing better social insurance benefits for informal economy workers. She is also a member of the National Informal Workers Administration of Thailand Committee, that works to promote quality of life of informal workers in Thailand.
Professor Imraan Valodia, is Professor of Economics; Pro Vice-Chancellor: Climate, Sustainability and Inequality; and Director of the Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits).
His research interests include: inequality, climate justice, competition policy and industrial development and employment in developing countries.
Professor Valodia played a leading role in establishing and leading Wits University’s Southern Centre for Inequality Studies (SCIS). The SCIS is a a multi-disciplinary, cross-country initiative to promote research and policy change to advance greater equality.
Professor Valodia has led and participated in a number of large national and international studies. He has, among others, led an international study, in 10 cities across the globe, of the informal economy. He co-led a pathbreaking three-year research project, conducted in 8 countries, on the gender impacts of direct and indirect taxation. More recently, through the SCIS, he has worked on global studies on employment and inequality and wealth inequality in the global South. He has published extensively in leading academic journals and in the popular press on issues related to his research interests. He is recognised nationally and internationally for his research in economic development. His most recent book is the Oxford Handbook of the South African Economy, a detailed and wide-ranging coverage of the key economic questions in South Africa, which he co-edited.
Professor Valodia is a part-time member of the Competition Tribunal in South Africa. He is also a Commissioner of National Minimum Wage Commission and Chair of the Academy of Science of South Africa (Assaf) Standing Committee on Science for the Reduction of Poverty and Inequality. In August 2016 Professor Valodia was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to chair the Advisory Panel on the National Minimum Wage. This led to the introduction of a National Minimum Wage in South Africa. In early 2018, he was appointed to a Panel to advise the Minister of Economic Development on amendments to the Competition Act. Professor Valodia has also served on a Panel of Experts to advise the Minister of Finance on Value-Added Taxes and zero-rating, and the Minister of Higher Education on the funding of higher education in South Africa. He serves as a member of President Ramaphosa’s Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) in South Africa.
Professor Valodia has worked with a number of international institutions including the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and UN Women. He is a member of the Board of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), and a member of the Board of the research network, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester.