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Lifetime's Remarkable Women campaign honors extraordinary women who inspire and empower others to make a difference in their communities and the world.
May 14: Ritu Sharma
Ritu Sharma; Co-founder and President of Women Thrive Worldwide
Hometown: Annapolis, MD Education: Georgetown University (BSFS in international economics) and Johns Hopkins University (Masters of Public Health) Family: Her two sons, Kai and Raam, and their Portuguese Water Dog, Rio
Ritu Sharma is a leading voice on international women’s issues and U.S. foreign policy. Due in large part to Ritu and Women Thrive Worldwide, the interests of women living in poverty worldwide are now being incorporated into U.S. economic assistance and trade policies and, in some cases, into U.S. law itself.
A first generation American of East Indian heritage, Ritu's family left behind generations of violence and poverty in Punjab, India to build a new life in the United States. Her family's legacy and her first-hand experience of the injustices suffered by women, combined with her strong belief that American citizens must ensure that the U.S. acts positively in the world, led Ritu to create Women Thrive Worldwide in 1998.
Ritu is an adept coalition builder, political strategist and communicator who has led numerous advocacy campaigns to success. In 1995, at age 26, she led a coalition of more than 100 organizations to influence the United Nations Summit on Social Development. Ritu also served on the official United States delegation to the Summit and later on the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly Session on Women, also known as "Beijing Plus Five."
She continues to build and grow diverse coalitions that link women's organizations from around the world with U.S. businesses, think tanks and NGOs to rally their efforts to help women in poverty.
She is an eloquent public speaker, drawing on her personal stories, travels, unusual insights and "out-of-the-box" thinking to inspire audiences to get involved to change women's lives for the better.
Ritu holds a BSFS in international economics from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.
She is the author of "An Introduction to Advocacy: A Training Guide," which has been translated into six languages and is a primary reference for advocates around the globe. She serves on the Board of Directors of InterAction and the Center for Global Engagement. Ritu is also a founding member of Pax World Mutual Funds Women's Advisory Council.
She lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her two sons, Kai and Raam, and their Portuguese Water Dog, Rio.