Françoise Girard is the President of the International Women’s Health Coalition. A lawyer by training, she is a longtime advocate and expert on women’s health, human rights, sexuality, and HIV and AIDS. She has played a key role in advocacy on sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights with UN agencies and at UN Conferences such as ICPD+5, Beijing+5, General Assembly Special Sessions on HIV/AIDS and on Children, ICPD+10, the 2005 World Summit (Millennium Development Goals), and the process to negotiate the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Françoise was previously Director of the Public Health Program at Open Society Foundations, where she was also Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and Haiti in the 1990s. From 1999 to 2003, she was Senior Program Officer for International Policy at IWHC, and thereafter a consultant for IWHC, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and DAWN, a network of women’s rights activists from the global South.
Françoise serves on the Board of the Women’s Funding Network, and on the Advisory Committee of the Health and Human Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. She was the Chair of the Leadership Programme Committee of the 2010 International AIDS Conference, a 20,000+ participant biannual scientific conference.
She has contributed articles to peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Health and Human Rights, Global Health Policy, International Family Planning Perspectives and Reproductive Health Matters. Her other publications include “Negotiating Sexual Rights and Sexual Orientation at the United Nations,” in SexPolitics: Report from the Front Lines, 2007; and “Advocacy for Sexuality and Women’s Rights: Continuities, Discontinuities and Strategies since ICPD” in Reproductive Health and Human Rights: The Way Forward, 2009. She has been quoted by BBC Radio, NPR, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, Washington Post, The Guardian(UK), Boston Globe, Associated Press, CBC/Radio-Canada, The New Yorker, and The Nation, among others. She blogs on women’s health and rights on HuffPost.
Françoise holds an M.A. in Political Science (Soviet Politics) from McGill University and an LL.B. from the Université de Montréal. She was a law clerk to Justice Charles Gonthier of the Supreme Court of Canada. She speaks French, Spanish and Russian. She and her husband David Knott are fans of Baroque opera.