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Mary Beth Hastings, 

Director, Policy & Strategy

she / her

Mary Beth Hastings is Director, Policy & Strategy at Iris Group and an expert analyst of global health policies and programs and their impact on women and girls. She provides thought leadership and strategic direction to expand the impact of gender technical expertise within the broader international development sector, while identifying and pursuing opportunities to support policy development and implementation that advance gender equality. Her role also encompasses developing and maintaining strategic networks to increase the influence of feminist and gender equality movements, and providing strategic and technical support to foundations, international development implementing organizations, and civil society.


She has more than 25 years of academic and professional experience in gender mainstreaming, international sexual and reproductive health, and human rights issues. Her current work includes producing analyses of the political and economic context surrounding child, early, and forced marriage in eight countries. As project liaison for SHOPS Plus, she conducted gender analyses and advises the project on programmatic opportunities to improve family planning, HIV and child health outcomes through attention to gender. As part of this work, she marshalled support for a private health sector response to gender-based violence in Tanzania, and developed a set of recommendations for empowering women health providers through social franchising, informed by interviews with doctors, nurses, and midwives. Other recent work includes applying a gender lens to supportive supervision in the family planning and HIV health workforce to improve health provider recruitment, performance and retention. She has developed a conceptual framework, technical brief, training curriculum, and counseling tool on gender-transformative supportive supervision that encapsulates this work.

As vice president at the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), she designed, implemented, and evaluated programs for the U.S.-based sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy organization. Her thought leadership led to rapid advancement of programmatic systems and more accurate and participatory budgeting processes. Building on field research from three countries, she developed a rights-based framework for delivery of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services that guides the organization’s advocacy strategy. She also worked closely with advocacy and service delivery organizations in Latin America and Africa to pinpoint and pursue effective advocacy strategies. In Guatemala, she directed a networking effort that brought more than 200 young people from 30 organizations for an unprecedented summit on youth sexual and reproductive health and rights. In prior roles at Partners of the Americas and the League of Women Voters, Mary Beth worked with funding from USAID, State Department, and other donors to launch and direct initiatives on health, governance, citizen participation, women’s political and legal rights, and leadership.


Mary Beth holds a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University as well as a BA in International Affairs from GWU.

Specialist Areas of Work
Recent Projects
Evidence Review & Strategy Recommendations for BMGF Stronger Mothers Initiative
Gender Training for Burundi Reaching an AIDS Free Generation (RAFG) Project
Jordan Communication Advocacy and Policy Project
Political Economy Analysis of Child Marriage in Seven Countries
Sustaining Health Outcomes Through the Private Sector Project Plus (SHOPS Plus)
Languages Spoken

English, Portuguese and Spanish

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