First GenderPro Cohort Launches with Summit

September 1, 2019

Genderpro summit speaker

Catherine Poulton, UNICEF manager for gender-based violence in emergencies, addresses the GenderPro Summit. (William Atkins/GW Today)

International development workers will earn a first-of-its-kind certification in the gender field through GenderPro, a new capacity-building and credentialing program developed by GW in partnership with UNICEF with a grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

GW’s Global Women’s Institute (GWI) launched its inaugural GenderPro Summit in July with a weeklong culmination of a program designed to professionalize the gender field.

Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, a senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation, reflected on the successes and challenges in the field over the years. The absence of expertise in the field of gender led her to push for the creation of the program. GWI is leading GenderPro in partnership with the Elliott School of International Affairs and the College of Professional Studies.

“Overall, I would say that more so than ever before, the rhetoric is right, a lot of people in high places are talking about gender equality and that’s a good thing,” said Dr. Gupta, the former deputy executive director for UNICEF. “It’s just that it hasn’t necessarily been followed up with action.”

The GenderPro capacity-building program is a first-of-its kind, applied skills course to build the gender capacity of the international development field. The program builds a global network of gender and development professionals who share best practices and ideas for the advancement of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls around the world.

The first GenderPro cohort of more than 35 health, education, nutrition and child protection professionals, who work in development in 27 countries, including Pakistan, Nigeria, Myanmar, Tajikistan and Mexico, gathered July 15-19 in Funger Hall on GW’s Foggy Bottom campus in Washington, D.C. for a culminating week of in-person learning.

The residential Summit at GW followed about 30 hours of online learning over 14 weeks. The participants each selected one of two sector-specific tracks—public health or social development.


Mary Ellsberg, GW Global Women's Institute executive director

Mary Ellsberg, GW’s Global Women’s Institute executive director, makes remarks at a reception during the inaugural GenderPro Summit at GW. (William Atkins/GW Today)

During the Summit, GWI hosted a series of high-level panels on cutting-edge, gender-related topics, including a day on each of the following topics:  

  • Gender and Development in the Context of the SDGs (gender and sustainable development)
  • The Power of Girls 
  • The Power of Social Movements for Achieving Gender Equality
  • Gender in Conflict/Humanitarian Settings
  • Gender and Social Inclusion

The overall goal of the GenderPro Capacity Building Course is to provide international development professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to integrate gender into their existing program.

The application process for the second cohort is complete and students will meet this fall. Applications for the third cohort will be accepted until February 1, 2020. The program will begin on April 13, 2020.

More information about GenderPro and GW’s Global Women’s Institute.