Dr. Sutapa Basu
Executive Director of the Women’s Center
Affiliate Professor, Women’s Studies
Sutapa Basu, PhD, is the executive director of the University of Washington Women’s Center, which under Dr. Basu’s leadership is now 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, girl’s education, gender equality, sustainable development, social justice, and human rights and 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 24 other 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 support, training workshops, and mentoring opportunities and offer women the chance to build upon their dreams.”
Dr. Basu has received many awards worldwide for her advocacy and advancement of women in society. Dr. Basu serves on many boards and committees on the UW campus and Washington State community as the UW Women’s Center 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.