Feminist | Leader | Changemaker
Maryam Monsef is the Founder and CEO of ONWARD. As a speaker, facilitator, convener and advocate, she continues to advance her vision for a world where women and their families are thriving.
Maryam has led public policy files at the highest levels of Government. She has spent thousands of hours delivering powerful speeches, and giving media appearances, from Davos, the G7, G20 and the UN, to hot seat political shows, classrooms and workplaces.
In 2015, Maryam was elected as Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha and chosen to serve in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet. Between 2015 to 2021, she served as President of the Queen’s Privy Council, Minister for Democratic Institutions, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister of International Development, Minister of Rural Economic Development and established Canada’s first full department for Women and Gender Equality as its Minister. Across these portfolios, she was tasked with driving social and economic justice files for the Government both in Canada and around the world.
Under her stewardship, Canada was recognized as a world leader in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, investments in domestic and international grassroots women’s organizations, and for its intersectional response to COVID-19.
In 2018 and 2019, Monsef was recognized by Apolitical as one of the Top 20 global influencers on gender equality, along with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai.
A global traveller who loves exploring different cultures, her home base is Peterborough, Canada. She chairs the Women United Campaign with the United Way Peterborough & District, is part of the Trent University community, and works with Afghan women human rights defenders and other high-impact teams locally, nationally and globally to deliver strong results.