Mendy Marsh

Director of our NYC Office
Lead on Humanitarian Portfolio


What did you want to be when you were a kid? 

My mom provided physical therapy services in my small hometown, and everywhere I went, I ran into grateful people she had helped. That made me want to help people too. She was also a trailblazer. She had to work hard in a very male dominated work environment, which would have been very difficult in this conservative community in those days and may have lost her some friends and colleagues.

What happened in-between?

Playing sports was one of the first ways that I unknowingly started to push against oppressive norms. I was a pretty fierce young girl in a patriarchal household, and sports provided me with a channel for my anger and a platform for growing my confidence. After college I joined Peace Corps and was sent to a rural village in Burkina Faso, West Africa for a couple of years. In the back of my mind I had probably always wanted to work on violence against women and girls, but when I moved to Burkina it all came into focus.

What are you doing now? Do you like that?

After 10 years at UNICEF headquarters working on violence against women and girls, my exciting new challenge is to get the Equality Institute’s New York Office up and running. I’m thrilled to work in an organisation that is unapologetically feminist and taking a creative, positive and empowering approach.

Does the patriarchy get you down? Like, do you ever just feel really annoyed by the way women get treated?

I feel like I’m constantly having to dig my way out of the patriarchy. But I believe that the patriarchy is now shaking in a way that it never has before. Thanks to all the feminist warriors before me, and those who will come. We are going to make it crumble!

Who's your fave feminist icon?

I could listen to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speak all day long. She’s a novelist but she might be most famous for her TED talk that became a book, We Should All Be Feminists. She unpacks frustrating issues with such humor and grace.