Origins

The idea for The Gender Breakfast originated when Lucina Di Meco and Shruthi Jayaram met at the Women’s Funding Network bi-annual conference in San Francisco in 2017, both having recently relocated from the East Coast.  Early conversations revealed a shared yearning for a community space to meet and learn from other gender equality professionals. They invited a small group of friends and colleagues to coffee at a cafe in SoMa, and The Gender Breakfast was born!   

Founders

Shruthi and Lucina are gender equality experts with experience across five continents and multiple sectors. They are feminists, connectors, women's rights advocates and have a shared passion for honest conversations, bold ideas and French pastries.

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Lucina Di Meco

Lucina is a senior gender expert, speaker and author with more than 15 years of experience in international development programs empowering women and girls worldwide. Gender equality is her life’s work and passion and she never gets tired of researching, writing, presenting and talking about it.

She currently serves as Director of Girls’ Education at Room to Read, an international nonprofit promoting gender equality through education, as well as Global Fellow for Women’s Leadership at The Wilson Center, one of the top 10 think tanks in the world.

Lucina started working on gender equality issues at the beginning of her career at UNDP in Mexico and it has since been her prime focus and passion. She worked in various capacities for a wide range of international nonprofits, including Vital Voices, the International Women’s Health Coalition and Women’s World Banking, as well as multilateral institutions (UN Women, UNIDO).

A former political activist in Italy, Lucina is also an expert on women’s political empowerment and has consulted on this topic for some of the leading international institutions in this field, including The Wilson Center, International IDEA, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the OECD.

Lucina has a Magna Cum Laude in Political Science from the University of Turin (Italy), a Master in Development Economics from the University of East Anglia (UK) and is a Harvard Women and Power Alumna. She lives in the Bay Area with her family and can be reached on LinkedIn here, or Twitter at @lucinadimeco.

Shruthi Jayaram

Shruthi is a Senior Project Manager at Dalberg Advisors, a strategy consulting firm focused on global justice and international development. At Dalberg, Shruthi specializes in projects that advance gender equality, e.g., via women’s economic empowerment and market inclusion, maternal health and nutrition, girls education, and gender based violence. Shruthi is particularly interested in addressing the underlying structural drivers of gender inequities, such as restrictive social norms and attitudes.

Shruthi works both globally and in the US. Examples of her project portfolio at Dalberg include strategy development for gender norm change in the US, developing a landscape of domestic violence in the US, investment opportunities to alleviate time poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, increasing women’s market inclusion in agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa , and strengthening antenatal access to nutrition for low income women globally. Her clients include non-profits, foundations, and corporations. Shruthi is also the co-Deputy of Dalberg’s Gender Empowerment Expertise Area.

Prior to Dalberg, Shruthi worked in the Singapore Government’s Economist Service. She holds a dual Master of Public Administration from Columbia University's SIPA and the National University of Singapore and a Bachelors in Economics from St. Stephen's College at the University of Delhi. She has served on the Grants Advisory Council of the New York Women’s Foundation and as an informal advisor to several local non-profits serving women in New York and San Francisco. She lives in the Bay Area with her family and can be reached on Twitter at @shruthi-jayar.