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Raksha Authar is the executive assistant to CGD’s president, Masood Ahmed. Prior to CGD, she worked as an executive assistant in corporate management consulting within Consumer Finance and Global Investigations.
Authar was born and raised in South Africa. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and her MA in Gender and Women’s Studies, and Human and Feminist Geography from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. As a researcher at UCT, she was affiliated with the African Center for Cities and African Gender Institute where she conducted research in both rural South Africa and pilgrimage cities in India. Her research adopted a narrative approach that delved into women’s notions and enactments of agency, activism, and respectability relative to prevailing social, cultural, political, and religious constructs. She also led research trips for visiting semester abroad students at UCT to explore South African urban and political landscapes. Authar also worked as a project director of a widows’ ashram in Vrindavan, India for the Guild for Service, where she conducted her graduate research. During this time, she oversaw the implementation of the Center’s UN-Women projects and furthered existing programs on rural income-generation and vocational training to improve women’s economic self-sufficiency and wage-earning potential. She has also worked with several US-based non-profits focused on women’s and children’s issues within the fundraising and program service streams.