Ritu Sharma leads the Global Center for Gender and Youth (GCGY) at the International Youth Foundation. Prior to IYF, Ritu was the co-founder and president of Women Thrive Worldwide, a leading advocacy organization bringing the voices of women and girls around the globe to Washington’s highest-level decision makers. Ritu’s advocacy was instrumental in the creation of the White House Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally, announced by President Obama in August 2012. Also under her direction, Women Thrive was the driving force behind the US Agency for International Development’s establishment of the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy in the same year. After 17 years at the helm of Women Thrive, Ritu departed in December 2014. In addition to her role as Director of the GCGY, Ritu trains groups around the world in the art of advocacy; advises non-profit and private firms on programs for youth, women and girls; and hosts an occasional radio special on SiriusXM’s Insight Channel. She is author of Teach a Woman to Fish: Overcoming Poverty Around the Globe, which is a firsthand account of how women in developing countries are leaving poverty behind and how American women can help them the most. Ritu was awarded the 2016 Perdita Huston Human Rights from the United Nations Association-National Capital Area for her work on gender equity worldwide.