Geeta Rao Gupta was sworn in as the Ambassador-at-Large for the Office of Global Women's Issues in the United States. She was confirmed by the US Senate with 51 votes in favour to 47 votes in May of this year.
At the swearing-in ceremony held on July 10, 2023, US Vice President Kamala Harris welcomed Dr Gupta, an Indian-American, to her new position in the State Department. The brief ceremony was attended by her husband Arvind Gupta, daughter Nayna Gupta, and sister-in-law Manjuli Maheshwari, among others.
She is a prominent leader who promotes gender equality and women's financial security and actively opposes the inequities and indignities that women face worldwide, which hinder their full participation in the economy.
During her confirmation by US Senate last year, Dr Gupta said that “They (women) are subject to threats to their safety and have a fear of violence even on a daily basis, and that determines their mobility. In situations of conflict and emergencies and humanitarian crises, they are particularly vulnerable, both in terms of their safety but also in terms of their being able to look after their families and feed their families,”
She referred to herself as a ‘first-generation immigrant’ stating, “I belong to a family of professional women, each of whom dedicated their lives to serving their communities and from a family of men who supported them fully.”
Dr Gupta was introduced to the pervasive gender disparities in society. While she always voiced her concerns about these issues, her active involvement in various gender-related matters commenced during her time at the University of Delhi, which solidified her as a dedicated gender activist. She holds a PhD in Social Psychology from Bangalore University, as well as an MPhil and MA from the University of Delhi in India.
Before being sworn in as the US Ambassador, she worked closely with various United Nations (UN) agencies and programs. She held key positions, including Executive Director of the UN Foundation's 3D Programme for Girls and Women, and Co-chairperson of the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Education and Gender Equality.
Gupta's impact reaches beyond the United Nations. She co-led an international initiative commissioned by UNAIDS, focusing on the global response to HIV/AIDS over the next 25 years. Additionally, she held the position of Deputy Executive Director at UNICEF and served as a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to that, she dedicated over a decade to the International Centre for Research on Women, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, where she led influential research shaping international development policies and programs aimed at empowering women and girls.
While holding the position of President at the International Center for Research on Women, Dr Gupta received several awards, including the Anne Roe Award in 2006 from Harvard University and the "Women Who Mean Business" Award in 2007 from the Washington Business Journal."