Dr Damaris Parsitau
Dr. Damaris Parsitau is the Country Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA), Kenya where she serves as the CEO, directing research programmes, managing the day to day operations of the institute and providing leadership to staff and researchers of the BIEA.
Dr. Parsitau also serves as the President of the African Association for the Study of Religion (AASR). She is also a Reader and Senior Lecturer of Religion and Gender Studies at Egerton University in Kenya. She holds a Ph.D Degree in Religion and Gender from Kenyatta University, an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Nairobi and a BA in History and Religious Studies (major) and a (minor) in Sociology from Egerton University in Kenya.
Dr Parsitau has over 25 years of experience in the field of education, research and evidence-based policy research through her work as a lecturer, career educationist, teacher, leadership coach, mentor, social justice educator and gender equality advocate. She has also conducted numerous research projects and published over 70 book chapters and peer reviewed journal articles with two forthcoming monographs. She has also published over 20 opinion pieces, policy blogs and briefs in both print and digital media, all dedicated to strengthening education actors and promoting the use of evidence-based research for effective policy action and practice. Dr. Parsitau’s research and teaching interests sits at the intersections of religion, gender and sexuality, religion and women’s bodies and religion and politics among other interests.
In the last one and a half decades, Dr. Parsitau has centered her work around girls’ education, women empowerment and gender equality social justice education and rights. Here, she has served as the as director of a largely women-centered institution, the Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies at Egerton University in Kenya. Her work has earned her recognition by Mawazo Institute and the Next Einstein Forum (NEF), in 2018, as 1 of 20 most influential scientists in Kenya. In 2021, she was also honored as a Gender Equality Champion by the National Diversity and Inclusive Awards and Recognition (DIAR Awards).
In recognition of her great professional, academic and community engagements, she was appointed Professor Extra-Ordinary at the University of South Africa (UNISA), the Institute of Gender Studies (IGS) and the Desmond Tutu Centre for Religion and Social Justice, University of Western Cape, SA respectively in 2021. She is also a former 2018-2019 visiting Research Associate at Harvard Divinity School (HDS) at the Women Studies in Religion Programme (WSRP) at Harvard University, USA. She was also a visiting Research fellow at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge UK (2007) and Edinburgh University in Scotland 2006. In 2017, Dr. Parsitau was selected for the Echidna Global Scholar Awards and is an alumni of the Brookings Institutions, in Washington DC, USA. She sits on a number of International Boards that include: The World Bicycle Relief (WBR) and Child and Maternal Health Canada as well as an active member of many editorial boards.