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Maria Ana Espinosa

2023 Fellow

VV Visionaries

Espinosa Maria Ana 1.jpg

Focus Areas

Access to Justice
Gender Equality & Women's Rights
Mentoring & Leadership

Maria Ana E. Espinosa is a human rights lawyer and feminist activist from the Philippines. As Program Officer of The Asia Foundation – Law and Human Rights Unit, she heads multisectoral projects for the promotion and protection of human rights. She is also the founder of Urgent Reforms for Development, Unity, Justice, and Advancement (URDUJA) Inc, n organization that provides mentoring to women to become transformative feminist leaders in their communities.

Espinosa is currently a fellow of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Academy of Political Management, which aims to train young progressive leaders to become advocates of social democracy. She previously worked at the Supreme Court of the Philippines and was appointed as the Assistant Committee Secretary of the Supreme Court Committee on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. She graduated with a bachelor’s in economics from the University of the Philippines, a Juris Doctor from Arellano University, and is finishing her master’s degree in Women and Development from the University of the Philippines. Her international education and trainings consist of being a recipient of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange Study (YES) Scholarship by the U.S. Department of State in 2005; an AIESEC Development Intern in Hangzhou, China in 2011; Philippine representative on the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) Regional Workshop in Advancing Gender Equality held in Brunei in 2019; and a mentor in U.S. Department of State’s Civic Education Week held in Washington D.C. in 2020.

“As a visionary leader, I aspire to empower more women to take up leadership roles and change the oppressive patriarchal system into an equitable and compassionate feminist form of leadership.”