Anita Zaidi

President: Gender Equality
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Anita Zaidi President of Gender Equality Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Anita Zaidi is the president of the foundation’s Gender Equality Division. In this role, Anita oversees the foundation’s efforts to achieve gender equality by ensuring that women and girls in Africa and South Asia can enjoy good health, make their own choices, earn their own money, be leaders in their societies, and children survive and thrive.

Anita joined the foundation in 2014 to lead a team focused on vaccine development for people in the poorest parts of the world, surveillance to identify and address causes of death in children in the most under-served areas, and significantly reducing the adverse consequences of diarrheal and enteric infections on children’s health in low and middle-income countries. She served as the foundation’s director of the Vaccine Development, Surveillance, and Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases programs until November 2022. In those roles, she championed the creation of the foundation’s Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Discovery & Tools program; the prioritization of HPV vaccination to prevent cervical cancer; and the creation of the Women Leaders in Global Health program—now called WomenLift Health—to promote diversity in global health leadership. She has led the Gender Equality division since November 2020.

Previously, Anita was the department chair of Pediatrics and Child Health at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. She obtained her medical degree specializing in pediatric infectious diseases at Aga Khan University, and completed further trainings at Duke University, Boston’s Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

In 2013, Anita became the first recipient of the $1 million Caplow Children’s Prize for her pioneering work in bringing health services and wraparound care to mothers and children in poverty-stricken communities in Karachi. In 2014, she was nominated as a physician of the year by Medscape. In 2021, she was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Medicine.

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