New Perspectives and New Operational Phase

Press Release

Geneva, Switzerland, 16 May 2022

RightsTech Women is pleased to welcome to its board two new board members, Arwa Al-Fakih and Magda Bunkowska. Stepping into the role of board President is Alexandra Schafhauser. Founder Ellen Walker is moving to an operational staff role of Executive Director. RightsTech Women is taking a new step, moving forward from a startup phase to a more operational, growth phase. 

Pictured: Alexandra Schafhauser

“This is a fantastic development for RightsTech Women, professionalizing the organization by hiring our first Executive Director. And by welcoming two new board members, we bring in new valuable experiences that will inform our strategy,” says Alexandra Schafhauser, newly-elected president of RightsTech Women.

RightsTech Women anticipates new opportunities to work with organizations in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) and Eastern Europe regions, drawing on the new board members’ experience and knowledge.

Pictured: Arwa Al-Fakih

Arwa Al-Fakih brings to RightsTech Women’s board strong experience in managing protection programs. She has worked for human rights NGOs in Yemen, in children’s and women’s human rights advocacy and in law and policy development in the MENA region. ”As a human rights defender and incoming board member, I’d love to see STEM empowering women and girls in their societies to play a major role in all aspects of life through our innovative programs, and to advocate to convince the community around girls and women and the influencers to support women’s human rights,” says Arwa Al-Fakih. Arwa Al-Fakih endeavors to create a clear path that informs everyone how to defend and protect women’s human rights, and that creates an appropriate environment to empower women in the field of technology.

Pictured: Magdalena Bunkowska

Socially and ecologically conscious, incoming board member, Magdalena Bunkowska, likes to see the big picture and dreams that women and girls will soon fill STEM organisations and businesses and drive more innovation that is for human well-being and not solely profit.

“I felt honored by the nomination and immediately taken by the warm and welcoming attitude of all to-date members. It is highly motivating to see the commitment and professionalism of each person on the one side and their simpleness and openness on the other,” says Magdalena Bunkowska.

About RightsTech Women

RightsTech Women is a Geneva-based nonprofit that advances the human rights of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). RightsTech Women works to achieve gender-equitable STEM education and employment by 2030. To date, RightsTech Women has partnered with organizations such as the City of Geneva, CERN, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva. RightsTech Women has been recognized in ITU’s 2021 WSIS Prizes Champion (Category 1) and in the 2020 ITU Equals Awards Finalist (Leadership in Technology).

RightsTech Women’s board members

  • Arwa Al-Fakih brings experience as a protection program manager for the Yemeni human rights NGO, Democracy School (DCI-Yemen) and as a board member of Defense for Children International. At regional and international level, she has coordinated and facilitated the implementation of protection programs across the Middle East, participating in the processes which influence decision-makers through regional studies on the situation of childhood in the Arab world. Arwa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Languages from Sana’a University, Faculty of Languages, Yemen and has completed and provided multiple professional human rights and advocacy trainings/trainings-of-trainers.
  • Magdalena Bunkowska has 10+ years of international experience as a specialist or assistant in administration, finance, operations in the domains of information and communication technologies (ICT), wholesale and religious institutions. Magda holds a MA in Economics from Warsaw School of Economics (PL) and is fluent in Polish, English and French.
  • Brice Copy is a software engineer at CERN since 2003, where he works on open-source industrial control projects for the LHC and general CERN infrastructure. He is passionate about technology and making it more accessible to further education methods, gender equality and human progress. Brice holds an MSc in Distributed Computing from Kent University (UK) and is fluent in English and French.
  • Makoto Ikeda (Treasurer) is a qualified physics, chemistry, and math’s teacher. He recognised the need to nurture the interest in STEM fields among the girls in his classes and that teachers had an important role to help them navigate obstacles. Before he entered teaching, he worked in particle physics research in CERN and in computing and telecommunications. Makoto holds a BSc from MIT, MSc from the University of Michigan, and a PhD from the University of California. His teaching qualification (PGCE) is from Durham University (UK).
  • Alexandra Schafhauser (President) holds a masters degree in law and more than ten years of experience from working in the European Parliament in Brussels. She has a long professional background as well as personal commitment for gender equality and is passionate about bringing the aspect of human rights and in particular women’s rights into STEM. Alexandra has been a member of the board of RightsTech Women since 2019.

RTW’s Founder and Executive Director

Ellen Walker is an international human rights lawyer and educator with a serious passion for empowering rights holders to know their own rights, and how to claim them. She considers herself a technology learner, as she encourages all girls and women to do. Ellen envisioned and founded RightsTech Women (RTW) to get more women working in STEM jobs who know about their rights, while creating a bridge between technology and human rights. Ellen holds an LL.M. from the University of Geneva and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Media Contact: Ellen Walker       

info (at) 

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