Championing gender equality since 2005.

We work across the Global South breaking new ground for gender equality.

Gender-based violence, access to education, economic empowerment — every issue that impacts women’s access to a better life is currently under-resourced and underfunded globally. We are committed to overcoming barriers and unlocking women and girl’s potential so entire communities can thrive. We do this by incubating and funding visionary programmes in unexplored areas for transformative change.

Our History

Womanity was set up in 2005 by Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist Yann Borgstedt. At that time, Yann had recently established and then sold a successful business, feeling an overwhelming need to contribute to society and challenge prevailing norms. The impetus for creating Womanity came from a profound desire to provide others with opportunities for growth and success.

While travelling through Morocco, he came in contact with an organisation dedicated to helping young girls—between the ages of 6 and 12—return to school after they had been placed by “recruiters” into domestic labour roles. This poignant experience highlighted the harsh realities these girls faced, with some ending up as street prostitutes or becoming pregnant at an age when they should have been playing and studying.

It was clear that immediate action was necessary. Yann resolved to work tirelessly to advance a world where all women and men could enjoy equal social, economic, and political rights. This focus on women’s empowerment was seen as not only just but also as a means to strengthen entire communities and foster broader societal progress.

And so, Womanity came into being, founded on the principle that supporting women and girls would have a transformative impact, creating ripple effects that benefit everyone.

Gender equality is 131 years away. We're working to change this.

Meet Our Team

The support, skills, and immense dedication of our team, board members and partners, is what makes everything possible.

shivani

SHIVANI GUPTA

Co-CEO & Land for Women Programme Director

Shivani brings more than 25 years of consulting, technology and development sector experience to Womanity. 

Shivani spent two decades with global consulting companies before transitioning to the development sector. In addition to being the Co-CEO of Womanity, Shivani is deeply involved in our work in India. She has been instrumental in designing and overseeing our Land for Women programme in India.

laura

LAURA SOMOGGI

Co-CEO & Womanity Award Programme Director

Laura is an accomplished international development professional with a deep understanding of gender equality and equity and women’s rights, social impact, trust-based philanthropy, and strategic cross-sector partnerships. She joined Womanity in 2017, starting her journey in philanthropy – her third career, after spending a decade working as journalist and another decade in the corporate sector. In addition to being the Co-CEO, she leads Womanity’s programme focused on prevention of violence against women and girls Laura also sits on the board of Right to Be (formerly Hollaback!), a global movement focused on ending harassment in all its forms.

AURELIA OVAN

AURELIA OVAN

Operations Director

Aurelia joined Womanity in 2007 and has over 18 years experience in multidisciplinary roles: administrative, event management, communication and sociology research in private and non-profit sectors.

As the Operations Director, she works with the other heads to improve the working environment and business processes of the organisation.

valentina

VALENTINA DI FELICE

Head of Impact and Evidence

Valentina has been with Womanity since 2010 and is responsible for overseeing the impact of the foundation and of our programmes. Valentina also designed and supervised the Girls Can Code programme and the B100Ragl series. Additionally, she co-designed the initial Business plan for Radio Nisaa.

joey

JOEYTA BOSE

Grants Fundraiser

Joeyta is a passionate advocate for women’s power and gender equality, with over 20 years’ experience in grants fundraising and business development. She has deep expertise in creating and managing grant cycles from prospecting through project design, bid writing and reporting; building collaborative teams and processes; and developing complex technical proposals with a high success rate.

SABINE ROSSET

SABINE ROSSET

Partnerships & External Resources

Sabine joined Womanity in 2016. Her role is to strengthen the network of donors and investors in Switzerland who are supporting social innovation benefiting women and girls around the world. She is a specialist in fundraising and advising philanthropic organisations on how to develop their partnerships and funding humanitarian programmes.

linzi

LINZI SARKAR

Senior Programme Officer, Land for Women

Linzi joined Womanity in 2016, lending support towards implementation of the WomenChangeMakers programme. Over the years, she has undertaken various responsibilities to keep the programme dynamic and efficient. She also played an integral part in developing and launching the Land for Women programme in India and is currently deeply involved in its operation.

aparna

APARNA SUBRAMANYAM

Head of Communications

Aparna has been with Womanity since 2023. She has over 15 years experience advising organisations both in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors on how to leverage the power of ‘brand’ to advance ideas, products, and services that catalyse social change. She is passionate about incorporating creative strategy and purpose-led storytelling to effect greater change in the development sector.

michelle

MICHELLE FARHAT

Digital Media Manager

Michelle has 10 years of experience in media and communication, translation, and social media. She joined Womanity in 2020  as community manager, responsible for managing and handling digital communications and content creation. Michelle acts as the liaison between the foundation and its audience, providing community support, content distribution, and digital engagement to build online presence and trust.

Noori

MOHAMMAD ZIA NOORI

Programme Director, Afghanistan

Mohammad Zia Noori joined Womanity in September 2011 as Programme Director in Afghanistan. He has over 18 years’ experience in program implementation, project planning, management, supervision, and budgeting. He specialises in education, child protection, health and hygiene education and promotion, community development, and girls’ education in technical subjects (computer literacy and coding).

His years of experience has honed his strategic communication and negotiation skills so that he can effectively serve as a liaison between different stakeholders.

carol

CAROL SHEMERI

Senior Programme Officer, Womanity Award

Carol joined Womanity in 2024 as Senior Programme Officer, Womanity Award. She is a lawyer, gender expert, and feminist with over 12 years of experience in programs promoting justice for women and children. Carol has facilitated dialogue on discrimination and violence against women and girls among communities, local leaders, policymakers, and justice system actors. She has also been involved in advocacy for gender-responsive policy and legal reforms in Uganda, working with multi-sectoral partners to improve justice system responses. Carol holds a Master’s in Gender and Women Studies, a Diploma in Legal Practice, and a Bachelor’s in Law from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

Meet Our Board

yann

YANN BORGSTEDT

Founder, President & UK Trustee

Yann Borgstedt is a Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist. Born and raised in Geneva, he pursued his studies in the USA. He created Womanity in 2005 and has been recognised for his work to accelerate gender equality. In 2016 he received the BNP Paribas Award for Individual Philanthropy. In 2018, he was awarded the Global Philanthropic Philanthropy Prize for his innovative work with women and the YPO 2018 SEN (Social Enterprise Network) Sustainability Award for Equality.


Yann also sits on the board of the “Gender Equality Project”, a Swiss Foundation working towards equal professional opportunities for men and women. He is also on the board of Internews, an international non-profit organisation and is a member of YPO network (Young Presidents Organization).

ARNAUD MOUROT

ARNAUD MOUROT

Board Member – Switzerland

Since 2005, Arnaud has served as the CEO of Ashoka France, Belgium and Switzerland. He launched and developed the activities of the association in these countries, with a focus on the core programme of Ashoka: the selection and support of innovative social entrepreneurs. 

A former high-level athlete, he competed with the French National Wrestling Team for 10 years and founded Sport Sans Frontières in 1999, using sport for education and psychological reconstruction in post-conflict areas.

FELIX BOLLMANN

FELIX BOLLMANN

Board Member – Switzerland

Felix has been a leading actor in the world of cultural tourism, public service media and humanitarian aid in Switzerland and beyond for over 30 years.

He has  spearheaded major projects such as the creation of World Radio Geneva, an English radio station in Geneva, the celebration of the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation and the universal exhibition hosted by Switzerland in 2002.

Connecting the worlds of media and humanitarian aid from 2000-2012, he also acted as Director of the Swiss Foundation for Swiss Solidarity, successfully leading the expansion of this collaboration between public service media and major non-governmental humanitarian organisations.

AUDREY SELIAN

Board Member – Switzerland

Audrey is a driving force in the sustainable investment and social development fields, worldwide. She started her career in management consulting at PricewaterhouseCooper.

Since then she has  worked as a consultant for various organisations, including USAID on the use of information and communication technologies for development, as well as in a technology start-up. In 2006, she transitioned into advising venture philanthropic foundations in their strategic portfolio development. She is presently acting as Director of Impact Investments for Rianta Capital Zurich, an advisory structure to the Singh Family Trust.

DR MAXIMILIAN MARTIN

DR. MAXIMILIAN MARTIN

Board Member – Switzerland

Maximilian  advises on, conceives and develops social change and impact investment concepts, platforms, programmes, products and services. His work has involved creating the first university course on social entrepreneurship in Europe at the University of Geneva and Europe’s first wealth management philanthropic advisory and knowledge exchange platform, UBS Philanthropy Services. In addition to lecturing appointments at the University of Geneva and St. Gallen, his engagements include or have included serving as founding chief strategist at IJ Partners as well as global head, managing director of UBS Philanthropy Services, head of research at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, senior consultant with McKinsey & Company, instructor at Harvard’s Economics Department, and fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

STEFANIA AVANZINI

Board Member – Switzerland

Stefania is impact-driven and passionate about collective transformations. As Director of One Planet Business for Biodiversity, she is working to scale the adoption of regenerative agriculture globally through the organisation’s cross-sectoral membership that spans the agricultural value chain from production to distribution. Prior to her work at OP2B, Stefania worked for Danone’s investment fund for social business, and for Ashoka – the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs. Stefania believes in the power of business to transform agricultural systems in a way that is beneficial for people, climate, and nature.

JOHN REA

Board Member – Switzerland

John was enrolled as a solicitor in the N. Ireland Supreme Court in 1978. He practised for a number of years in the UK and then worked in banking, becoming Managing Director of the trust division and private client asset management group of Grindlays Private Bank. For the last 12 years he has been the Director of a large private Family Office. He is very interested in issues surrounding Leadership and the creation of Leaders who possess clear and demonstrable qualities of empowerment and  high ethical standards.John has also worked in a supporting role in a Ugandan based Foundation, which focuses on Malaria prevention through education, effective use of malaria nets and direct treatment.

NADA FORNIER

Board Member – Switzerland

Inspired by innovation and creativity Nada brings more than 25 years of experience in management, influencer marketing, communication strategies and business development and protection across developing and developed markets. Dedicated to disruptive ideas to develop socially responsible brands that can build business while having a social impact, Nada is an inclusive and impactful Communications leader.

Nada was featured as one of the most successful Arab women in the book Domains of Influence by Jacqueline Hassink. Nada has also been featured in the book Leading with Care: How Women Around the World Are Inspiring Businesses, Empowering Communities, and Creating Opportunity, by Mary Cantando.

Clotilde Floret Saint-Cricq

Board Member – Switzerland​

Clotilde holds an MA from the Graduate Institute in Geneva and an MBA from IMD Lausanne. Throughout her career in the finance industry, she worked with British stockbrokers and international banks in Geneva, focusing on research and private banking for international clients. Clotilde has traveled extensively for personal purposes across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Her interests include the political situations of the countries she visited, art and literature, and women’s development. In the 1980s, she served as president of Career Women in Geneva and remains committed to gender equality and women’s education.

RANAJOY BASU

UK Trustee - Chairman

Ranajoy Basu is a Partner at Reed Smith and the Co-Chair of Reed Smith’s India practice. He has significant experience in renewable energy project bonds, particularly solar bonds and solar securitisations. He also has extensive experience in advising on cross-border social impact finance structures and has been recognised as one of the leading lawyers in this space. Ranajoy has advised on some of the most innovative financial inclusion structures around the world, including the Development Impact Bond (DIB) of Educate Girls in India (one of Womanity’s WomenChangeMakers Fellow organisations). He is one of the founding members of the firm’s Social Impact Finance Group.

ruth

RUTH SZABO

UK Trustee - Secretary

Ruth has worked as in-house legal adviser for international not-for-profit organisations, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the GAVI Alliance, for over 18 years. Since 2012, she has been an independent legal consultant providing services to international organisations and their employees in the areas of organisational development, governance and workplace conflicts.

Ruth has been involved in a number of charitable initiatives, serves on the Executive Committee of Giving Women in Geneva, and has been a volunteer for Womanity since its inception.

NATALIE PINON

UK Trustee - Treasurer

Natalie graduated from the London School of Economics and Sciences-Po Paris. In 2013, she joined Social and Sustainable Capital (UK) from the Charities Aid Foundation, where she had managed the global philanthropy advisory practice working with philanthropists and investors to help them achieve their social impact objectives.

Natalie Pinon is an affiliate of the Marmanie Consulting platform, one of the first UK-based impact investment advisory firms. She is also the co-founder of the social enterprise Development Ratings, an intermediary service for donors to assess the performance and impact of social sector organisations.

AASTHA GURBAX

UK Trustee

Aastha is Senior Banker and Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in London. Aastha oversees client advisory, discretionary, credit relationships and is responsible for developing business principally in the Ultra High Net Worth International Market in the UK, both for principals and family offices.

Aastha won the prestigious Rising Star Spears Wealth Management Award in 2016 and was featured in the Top 50 UK UHNW Wealth Advisors by Spears in 2016 and 2017.

ZIAD TABET

UK Trustee

Ziad is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Amakor Capital. He has over 20 years’ experience in finance. Prior to founding Amakor Capital, Ziad ran the event-driven fund at Jabre Capital for over seven years and managed the segregated event-driven book within Jabre Capital Multi-Strategy Fund.

Previously, Ziad Tabet worked for three years with Tribeca Capital where he launched the firm’s European event-driven strategy. Prior to that, he was a senior analyst at Holte Capital.

MAURICE OSTRO

UK Trustee

Maurice is a serial entrepreneur in commercial and charitable spheres looking for innovative solutions to complex problems. His businesses have a commitment to positive social impact. He is the founder of Air Fayre, which changed the model for the airline catering industry globally. He invented and patented products and business methodologies internationally and has won multiple international awards for his business and charitable achievements.