WIEGO welcomes a new board chair – and celebrates outgoing chair

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Mirai Chatterjee
Mirai Chatterjee​​​​​

In March 2020, WIEGO’s board of directors met in Delhi and unanimously elected Mirai Chatterjee to be the new board chair. 

Mirai Chatterjee is the Director of the Social Security Team at the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a trade union in India with a membership of 1.7 million informal women workers. She is responsible for SEWA’s health care, child care and insurance programmes. She also chairs the SEWA Cooperative Federation of 106 primary cooperatives with 300,000 members in the state of Gujarat. Mirai joined SEWA in 1984 and was its General Secretary after its founder, Ela Bhatt. See her full biography and involvements.

Outgoing WIEGO chair Renana Jhabvala was lauded at the board meeting for her long and dedicated leadership.

In a farewell speech, Renana spoke of WIEGO’s original and ongoing purpose. “[W]e want change at the global level because we know that the global level is affecting us every day at the local level. And so we need the help of researchers to articulate our message … And the main thing that I think should be contributed to WIEGO, and which I will pass on to Mirai, is that systemic change happens not just through research. It is the combination of organizing and the research and figures [statistics] that change policies.”

Renana Jhabvala
Renana Jhabvala

Noting that WIEGO is “intellectually very alive,” Renana spoke of its instrumental work in conceptualizing and articulating the issues surrounding the informal economy and in establishing strong networks of membership-based organizations. And, she added, “WIEGO is emotionally also very alive.”

The change in Board Chair is the final stage of a leadership transition. In recent years, WIEGO has welcomed new Directors across its five programmes, and a new International Coordinator, Sally Roever, to the helm.

“Mirai brings a great deal of valuable expertise, insight and energy to the position, and we are very fortunate to have her as our Chair,” Sally Roever said. She noted that Renana will continue to provide advice and support to her, and that she will always remain part of the WIEGO family.

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