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Leader on Gender and Global Development Joins the Department of International Health’s Health Systems Program


Anju Malhotra, PhD, MA, a recognized leader on gender equality, reproductive and adolescent health, was appointed professor of the practice in the Health Systems Program of the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She brings extensive experience and thought leadership on gender intentional investments, programs, measurement, and evaluation systems.

In her 30 years of experience, Malhotra has worked with international institutions, the private sector, governments, and NGOs to more effectively design, execute, and measure the impact of gender equitable interventions and reforms. “Her experience in capacity-building and expanding institutional expertise in gender will be an asset to the Department. We look forward to her mentorship and guidance in this area,” says Sara Bennett, PhD, MPhil, professor in the Department of International Health and director of the Health Systems Program.

Malhotra joins the Department with a strategic leadership role on the Monitoring and Action for Gender Equity project, a Johns Hopkins University partnership with the Global Financing Facility (GFF) at the World Bank. In her embedded role at GFF, Malhotra will serve as the key connector between JHU and GFF in supporting low- and middle-income countries to effectively integrate and measure gender intentional health systems reforms. She will also contribute to the academic programs of the Department and help mentor the growing group of gender equity researchers within the Health Systems Program.

“Gender inequity—and its intersection with other social stratifiers—affects everybody’s health and wellbeing. Dr. Malhotra’s extensive gender expertise and experience will be a tremendous benefit to the Department and the Health Systems Program and will allow us to increase our research, education, and advocacy in this space,” says Rosemary Morgan, PhD, MSc, associate chair in Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism, and Equity (IDARE) in the Department.

Before joining Hopkins, Malhotra headed UNICEF’s work on gender equality, where she developed and implemented the game-changing Gender Action Plan, dramatically increasing focus, expenditure, and expertise on critical gender issues such as quality maternal care, adolescent girls’ rights, and gender equality in the health workforce. She has been a key architect of the SDG target and global movement to end child marriage. Malhotra established and managed the $100 million global program to end child marriage and has been the leading expert advancing the evidence base on child marriage and adolescent health, with collaborations across WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, governments, funders, national and international research organizations, and NGOs.

Malhotra also served on the executive team of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), directing programs and impact evaluations on adolescent sexual and reproductive health, leading the keynote paper for the landmark 2007 Women Deliver conference, and establishing the Fertility and Empowerment Network at ICRW to advance research on the link between family planning, fertility declines, and women’s empowerment. Her work on the conceptualization and measurement of women’s empowerment has been an important contributor to gender indicator and framework development. She also led the impact evaluation of the World Bank’s results-based initiatives on gender equality, the design and evaluation of Gap Inc’s PACE program for garment workers, and the formulation of Nike Foundation’s Girl Effect approach.