SARAH HENDRIKS is a visionary leader and executive in global development with more than 20 years in program and policy work on gender equality. Sarah leads the Programme, Policy and Intergovernmental division at UN Women-the United Nations entity dedicated to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Prior to this role, Sarah led the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation's efforts to advance gender equality and unlock the empowerment of women and girls. Skilled at strategy design, Sarah led a team of experts who developed and launched the Gates Foundation's first-ever strategy on gender equality, driving new investment of $170 million to results on women's economic empowerment. Sarah's leadership also catalyzed an $80 million portfolio and institutional support on gender data, alongside a strategic program on gender integration for the Gates Foundation.
Previously, Sarah was the Director of Gender Equality & Social Inclusion for Plan International, where her expertise in policy and strategy work was integral to the organization's growth as a leader in the field. In this role, Sarah led the strategic direction that drove more than $500 million Euros in new resources towards innovative work on gender equality and adolescent girls' development. Sarah served for 9 years as the Chair of the Advisory Board governing Plan's research and policy report on the 'State of the World's Girls', a global initiative that reached audiences across more than 72 countries.
Before joining Plan International, Sarah worked for several development organizations, including Women and the Law in Southern Africa (Malawi), World Vision International (Zimbabwe) and as a gender equality consultant with Global Affairs Canada (on Gender-Based Violence), GIZ (on women's access to justice) and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (on gender mainstreaming in public sector delivery).
Sarah is an intuitive collaborator, skilled in international negotiation, cross-cultural communication and building high-performing teams. An influential communicator, Sarah is recognized as an authoritative voice on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, with skilled capacity to deliver messages effectively to diverse audiences, including high level forums. Sarah was recently named as one of Apolitical's 'Top 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy'.