DSC04393Dr. Tara Patricia Cookson is Co-Founder and Director of Ladysmith.  Tara earned her PhD from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar. She is author of Unjust Conditions: Women’s Work and the Hidden Cost of Cash Transfer Programs, an ethnographic account of women’s experiences of participating in the world’s most widely implemented anti-poverty programs. In 2014 she received the Bill Gates Sr Prize for founding a leadership program called Learning for Purpose. Tara is a SSHRC Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia, a Seattle Women’s Commissioner, and has served as a proud board member of the Kelowna Women’s Resource Centre, not far from her grandmother’s birthplace, Ladysmith. Email Tara at



Dr. Lorena Fuentes is Co-Founder and Principal of Ladysmith. Lorena earned her PhD from the University of London, Birkbeck, as a School of Social Sciences Fellow and as Chair of the Gender & Social Policy in Latin America Academic Working Group. Her recent research analyzes how gender norms shape and constrain policy interventions around gender-based violence and insecurity. Lorena is a Lecturer in the department of International Development Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and also proudly serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Justice for My Sister Collective. Email Lorena at



Abha Saxena is an Affiliate Researcher at Ladysmith. Driven by a deep sense of equality and social justice, she specializes in M&E and policy and program analysis to ensure that all perspectives and voices are represented. Abha is a trained social worker and social psychologist, and her method is rooted in a natural ability to empathize with and understand people and their stories. Her extensive work in South and Southeast Asia includes two landmark studies on the implications of economic integration on women migrant workers for the ASEAN Economic Community, and women’s political participation in radically inclusive local governance structures in India.


JZ portraits-1Julia Zulver is an Affiliate Researcher at Ladysmith. She earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of Oxford, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow. Her research looks at women’s mobilization in high risk contexts, with a focus on Latin America (including Colombia and El Salvador). She has worked for the Centre for Reproductive Rights, and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. Her work has appeared in Gender and Development, Gender, Place & Culture, Al Jazeera, the Guardian, and Ms Magazine. She is currently based in Bogotá, Colombia, where she lectures at the Universidad del Rosario.



Barbara Clabots is an Affiliate Researcher at Ladysmith. Bringing gender equality and environmental research into conversation, and using quantitative methods, Barbara identifies trends in intersecting worlds. She earned a Masters of Marine Affairs at the University of Washington as a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow in Southeast Asian Studies, and has worked for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Global Gender Office and advises Washington Women for Climate Action Now. Her analyses and advocacy pieces are published in the Seattle Globalist, Yes! Magazine, and The Establishment.


Fabienne Doiron is an Affiliate Researcher at Ladysmith. fabienne-photo-e1542741525995.jpgShe is currently completing her PhD in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies at York University, where she has held a Paavo and Aino Lukkari Human Rights Fellowship at the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC), a Helena Orton Memorial Scholarship at Osgood Hall Law School, and a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship. Her research on gender issues in post-conflict Guatemala have been informed by her solidarity and social justice work, since 2005, with the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network, on whose Steering Committee she also serves.  She specializes in transnational, postcolonial, and anti-racist theory and in feminist understandings of gender-based and racialized violence.