Françoise Girard became President of the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) on February 21, 2012. She is a longtime advocate and expert on women’s health, human rights, sexuality and HIV and AIDS.
Françoise recently concluded a six-year tenure as Director of the Public Health Program at Open Society Foundations (OSF), 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. She has played a key role in advocacy on 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, and the 2005 World Summit (Millennium Development Goals).
Françoise currently serves as Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Health and Human Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, and as a member of the advisory board of the journal Q/C/Q (Population Council). 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 many articles to peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Health and Human Rights, International Family Planning Perspectives and Reproductive Health Matters. Her other publications include Global Implications of U.S. Domestic and International Policies on Sexuality, 2004; “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, Washington Post, The Guardian (UK), CBC/Radio-Canada, Associated Press, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer and The Nation, among others.
Françoise holds an M.A. in Political Science 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 and is a member of the bar of Quebec. She and her husband, David Knott, live in Manhattan.