UW Women's Center

Our Executive Director

Sutapa Basu, PhD
Director, University of Washington Women’s Center

Sutapa Basu, PhD, is the executive director of the University of Washington Women’s Center, which is a vital place where women and men partner to build a culture of gender equity community-wide and supports many programs locally, nationally and abroad.  Under Dr. Basu’s leadership is now one of the largest university-based women’s center in the country. At the UW Women’s Center, Dr. Basu ensures the educational, professional, and personal support programs offered to women and girls provide the choices and resources to make the best decisions for their future. Her work is grounded in her dedication to empower women to speak out more, take leadership roles, demand better working conditions, seek support against domestic violence and improve education and family health for women and children.

Dr. Basu’s area of academic specialization is women in developing economies and international development. She has worked extensively with women’s groups in India and the U.S, and is known internationally for her work on women’s issues, girls education, gender equality, sustainable development, social justice and human rights and human trafficking. The primary focus of her current research and activism is ending violence against women and fighting the global trafficking of women and children. Her work on food security issues and building sustainable communities helps create options for women in civil societies.

Dr. Basu has been recognized as a national leader and advocate for young immigrant women, particularly those who have been victims of human trafficking abuse. Through her work at the UW Women’s Center, she helped create the first statewide anti-trafficking legislation. Similar legislation has now been introduced in all 50 states. She also supports various women’s organizations in India, including institutions working against trafficking and violence, microcredit programming for underserved populations, and a school for girls in impoverished circumstances. She travels to India annually to build upon the network of programs that support the advancement and education of women and young girls in communities of need.

“Dr. Basu’s courage and ability to recognize the disparities and challenges that exist for women are what make her a strong leader in advocating for women’s rights,” states Dolores Sibonga, a UW Women’s Center Board member and former Seattle City Council member. “Throughout her life, Dr. Basu has had the courage to challenge the roles that were expected of her and women in society.”

“Women around the world need support systems and many have taken on leadership roles that have defied cultural norms. In every society women account for nearly two-thirds of the aggregate labor market and despite the inequities we are seeing women taking on more responsible roles and leadership positions in civil societies,” says Dr. Basu, “We provide education programs, support, training workshops, and mentoring opportunities and offer women the chance to build upon their dreams.”

Dr. Basu has received many awards for her advocacy and advancement of women in society, including:

Awards

  • United Nations Human Rights Award
  • Women of Inspiration, Seattle Storms
  • Florence Merrick Award, North West Women’s Law Center
  • Women Helping Women Award, Soroptimist International
  • Woman of Year Award, Northwest Asian Weekly
  • Community Voice Award, International Examiner
  • Role Model Empowering Young Women as Leaders, Women of Color Empowered
  • Excellence Award, The Junior League of Seattle for commitment to service in the Greater Seattle Community

Basu serves on many boards and committees on the UW campus and Washington State community, see below for a selected list.

Public Service:

  • After School Girl’s project Board;
  • Anti-Dowry Movement, India, Board Member and Volunteer;
  • Asian Pacific Women’s Caucus;
  • Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) 9th International Forum, Guadalajara, Mexico;
  • DARSHN (Microcredit organization for women) Advisory Board;
  • Diversity Committee, University of Washington;
  • Every Women’s Delegation to Cuba, Member of the Delegation;
  • Executive Ethics Board, State of Washington, appointed by Governor Gary Locke;
  • Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, China, Representative of the University of Washington;
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Community Advisory Council Board;
  • Indian American Political Advocacy Council;
  • International Women’s Forum;
  • KCTS Advisory Board;
  • King County Civil Rights Commissioner ,appointed by Governor Gary Locke;
  • King County Women’s Programs, appointed by King County Councilmember Ron Sims;
  • Leading a case study in Kerala, India, examining the effects of trafficking on local women;
  • Northwest Women’s Law Center;
  • Pan Asian International Women’s Coalition;
  • President’s Advisory Committee on Women of Color;
  • President’s Advisory Committee on Women, University of Washington, appointed by UW President;
  • Special Committee on Faculty Women, University of Washington, appointed by Chair of UW Faculty Senate;
  • The Bankura Women’s Samities Co-op Program, West Bengal, India: Worked with Women and Community-Supported Agriculture in the Villages;
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change, University of Washington;
  • UW Department of Global Health Resource Center Advisory Board;
  • UW Women’s Center Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force;
  • Voice of People Organization: Program Development and Fund Raiser, India;
  • Washington State Task Force Against the Trafficking of Persons;
  • Women + Business, Board;
  • Women in Academia Council;
  • Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), Affiliate Participate in their annual meetings. Advise on issues regarding Indian women and work;
  • Women of Vision, Power and Potential Conference, University of Washington;

 

Publications

 

Forthcoming book documenting experiences of immigrant women in Washington State (University of Washington Press)

 

“Human Trafficking and Supply Chains: Report to Legislature.” (Washington Department of Commerce 2017)

 

“Sex, money, brutality.” Contexts Magazine (American Sociological Association 2014)

 

“Human trafficking and Bangladesh factories” Seattle Times 2013

 

“Trafficking in Women and Children,” in Race, Culture, Psychology and Law,” K. Barett and W. George, editors (Sage Publications 2005).

 

“Trafficking of Women and Children: Challenges and Solutions,” Conference Proceedings (University of Washington 2002).

 

“Macroeconomic Policies: Effects on Women’s Lives in India,” Sisters of Color International Journal, (November 2000).

 

“Pioneering Hindu Women in India: Overcoming Barriers and Claiming Their Places in Today’s Society,” in Remarkable Women Perspectives on Female Talent Development, K. Arnold, K. Noble and R. Subotnik, editors (Hampton Press 1996).

 

 

 

Partial List of Speaking Engagements on Violence Against Women

  • American Bar Association Human Trafficking Summit
  • Asian Elected Officials of Washington
  • Association of Women in Communications, University of Washington
  • AWID International Forum, Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Business and Professional Women of Seattle
  • Federal Women’s Programs
  • Forensic Nursing Conference, Continuing Nursing Education, University of Washington
  • Global Health and Justice Conference, University of Washington School of Law
  • Globalization, Justice and the Trafficking of Women and Children International Conference, University of Washington
  • Department of Global Health, University of Washington of Washington
  • International Women’s Conference, New Delhi, India
  • Kennedy School of Public Policy, Harvard University
  • Kerala Women’s College, Cochin, India
  • Kiran Anjali Project
  • Network of Indian Professionals of North America
  • Politics, Social Justice and Global Health Regional International Health Conference, University of Washington
  • Seattle University Leadership Program
  • Seattle Women’s Commission
  • South Asian Women’s Conference, UCLA
  • Mary’s College, Kerala, India
  • Trafficking of Women and Children: Challenges and Solutions Conference, University of Washington
  • University of Kerala, Kerala, India
  • West Seattle Democratic Women
  • Women and International Development Conference, Harvard University,
  • Women’s Program, Calcutta University, India