Independent Task Force on Workplace Gender Discrimination and Harassment at UNICEF

Introducing members of the Independent Task Force on Workplace Gender Discrimination and Harassment

UNICEF is pleased to introduce the members of its recently launched Independent Task Force on Workplace Gender Discrimination and Harassment. The Task Force brings together external leaders from a range of backgrounds, including from the development, business and non-profit sectors, as well as experts in gender equality and human rights advocacy. All of them share a commitment to, and experience in, shaping positive, inclusive, non-discriminatory and gender-equitable work environments. Following a review of current practices, the Task Force will provide recommendations to effectively and systematically prevent and address gender-related discrimination, harassment and abuse of power in the UNICEF workplace.

Members of the Task Force will work for approximately six months to examine UNICEF’s organizational processes, systems, policies, procedures, reporting structures and redress measures. They will be given full scope to obtain data, staff perspectives and all relevant information for shaping their recommendations.  They will also be free to consult with outside experts and resources and draw from the experience of others.

A Secretariat led by UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Fatoumata Ndiaye will support the work of the Task Force. The Secretariat will also serve as liaison and facilitator for the Task Force’s interactions with UNICEF stakeholders, including an Internal Reference Group composed of UNICEF staff members representing various job functions, offices and backgrounds. This group will serve as both a resource and a sounding board for Task Force members.

When the Task Force completes its review, it will present recommendations to UNICEF’s staff and Executive Board, and will develop and swiftly implement a follow-up Action Plan.

Meet the Task Force

The members of the Task Force have a wealth and wide variety of experience. Collectively, they have been champions of gender equity, diversity and organizational change. They all have established reputations in their sectors and were selected on that basis.



The Co-Chairs

Photo of Purnima Mane.

Purnima Mane has served as the President and CEO of Pathfinder International, as an Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and as Deputy Executive Director for Programmes at the United Nations Population Fund. She has an ongoing appointment as Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Mane has also served as Director of Policy, Evidence and Partnership at UNAIDS, as Vice President at the Population Council and in senior roles at the World Health Organization. She holds a doctorate from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, India, and has had an illustrious career addressing public health and gender-related issues.

Photo of Debrework Zewdie.

Debrework Zewdie is a distinguished scholar at the City University of New York’s School of Public Health and Health Policy. She was formerly the Director of the World Bank Global AIDS Program, and Deputy Executive Director and COO of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Zewdie is an Ethiopian national who has led strategy, implemented policy and managed development programmes at the country, regional and global levels.  As an advocate for women’s health, she was a founding Vice President of the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa.

The Members

Photo of Mabel Abraham.

Mabel Abraham is an Assistant Professor of Management at Columbia Business School, where she examines gender inequality, entrepreneurship and social networks, and assesses how organizational and social processes contribute to gender differences in business outcomes. Her academic work includes comparing the relative benefits received by male and female entrepreneurs through the strategic social networks they use to generate new clients. Prior to focusing on this research, Abraham spent five years working for Fidelity Investments in Boston and New York City.

Photo of Chernor Bah.

Chernor Bah is a former refugee who founded a children’s parliament in Sierra Leone and is now a global advocate for education and girls’ rights. Bah is the co-founder and Executive Director of Purposeful Productions, which supports movements to empower girls and positively transform communities in Africa. He also co-founded A World at School, a global education campaign, and has been a leader of the girls’ rights and education campaign inspired by Malala Yousafzai. At Girl Effect, an organization that highlights girls’ potential to help end poverty, Bah co-led a project to boost their voices and visibility in Ethiopia. At the Population Council, he led an initiative for adolescent girls affected by the Ebola outbreak. At the United Nations, the Secretary-General has appointed him to two high-level committees – on global education and on youth, peace and security.

Photo of Stefano Bertozzi.

Stefano Bertozzi was formerly the Dean and is currently Dean Emeritus and Professor at the School of Public Health, Berkeley. Previously, he directed the HIV and tuberculosis programmes at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and worked at the Mexican National Institute of Public Health as Director of its Center for Evaluation Research and Surveys. He was also the Director of the World Health Organization’s Global Programme on AIDS and has held positions with UNAIDS, the World Bank and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Photo of Amel Karboul.

Amel Karboul, a social entrepreneur, author and politician, is currently CEO of the Education Outcomes Fund for Africa and the Middle East, and Commissioner of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity. She has held leadership roles at Mercedes-Benz and DaimlerChrysler, was a senior strategic advisor at the Boston Consulting Group and served as Secretary-General of the Maghreb Economic Forum. Karboul was also Minister of Tourism in Tunisia’s transition government from January 2014 to February 2015, following successful negotiations by the country’s National Dialogue Quartet, which won the Nobel Peace Prize. At the time, Jeune Afrique magazine named Karboul one of Africa’s 10 most influential young politicians. Her 2015 book, Coffin Corner, outlines a new leadership culture suited to the complexity and dynamics of the 21st century.

Photo of Marcelo Modica

Marcelo Modica is the Chief People Officer at the global consulting firm Mercer, where he is responsible for developing the company’s talent strategy through all aspects of human resources management. Modica joined Mercer from JP Morgan Chase, where he was the General Manager driving a culturally relevant strategy for Hispanic customers. He had previously served as the Managing Director and Head of Human Resources for Consumer and Business Banking at Chase. Before joining Chase, Modica was the Chief Human Resources Officer at Discover Financial Services, where he developed talent strategy, managed his unit’s 2007 spin-off from Morgan Stanley and was a member of Discover’s Management and Operational Risk Committees. He has also worked for Prudential Securities and Lehman Brothers.

Photo of John Mullen.

John Mullen has extensive experience in international transportation and logistics. With more than two decades in senior positions at some of the world’s largest transport companies, Mullen has lived and worked in 12 countries. He is currently Chairman of Telstra, Executive Chairman of the Toll Group and a director of Brookfield Infrastructure, a publicly traded company, and recently retired as CEO of Asciano, Australia’s largest rail and ports operator. Mullen was previously the global CEO of DHL Express – a US$20 billion company employing over 140,000 people – and spent 10 years with the TNT Group, including a stint as CEO of TNT Express Worldwide, based in the Netherlands. He has served as the Chairman of the National Foreign Trade Council in Washington, DC, a member of the Advisory Council of the Australian Graduate School of Management and Chairman of the Australian National Maritime Museum Foundation.

Photo of Aimee Sentmat de Grimaldo.

Aimee Sentmat de Grimaldo is CEO of Banistmo, Panama’s second-largest bank, and a member of the Board of Directors at Sumarse, a non-governmental organization that supports social responsibility programmes to advance sustainable development across Panama. As the only woman leading a major Panamanian bank, she works to build gender equality and women’s access to financial solutions. Under her leadership, Banistmo was the first bank in Panama to join the Global Banking Alliance for Women, and its cooperation with other gender-focused initiatives and organizations is ongoing.

Photo of Madjiguene Sock.

Madjiguene Sock is Dalberg Advisors’ Global Operations Partner based in Dakar, Senegal. She has supported development projects and organizational transformation initiatives in various sectors, including agriculture, health, information and communication technologies, and economic development. Prior to joining Dalberg, Sock worked for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in Washington DC, where she managed a project promoting economic empowerment in South Africa’s agricultural sector and served on one of the world’s largest corruption investigations, involving Indonesia.