Helene Gayle

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"I’m privileged to witness the unsung courage of women who confront grueling, often dangerous tasks without hesitation, knowing that their children and families are relying on them to survive."

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Helene's Selections


Curator's Statement: Helene Gayle on Courage

What is courage? To some, courage means an act of exceptional athletic daring such as climbing a tall mountain. To others it means knowingly risking danger to help others, as medical personnel in combat zones do. 

Those are indeed acts of courage truly worthy of our deep admiration. There’s another kind of courage though; a typically unsung courage that these 10 selections highlight. It’s the courage of women who confront grueling, often dangerous tasks everyday – tasks they tackle without hesitation because they know their children and families are relying on them to eat, stay housed, stay clothed, go to school, or go to a doctor – in other words, to survive. 

As President and CEO of CARE, one of the world’s largest poverty-fighting organizations, I’m privileged to witness the courage of people who take on and overcome enormous challenges every day. I created this selection with those inspiring people in mind. .


About Helene

Helene D. Gayle is president and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization. An expert on health, global development and humanitarian issues, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control, working primarily on HIV/AIDS. Dr. Gayle then worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, directing programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues. Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women,” she has published numerous scientific articles on HIV/AIDS and other public health issues. .

Get to Know Helene

Learn more about Helene and why she's involved in IMOW's Curating Change.

  • IMOW matters to me because... women’s issues are everyone’s issues, and women’s rights are, in fact, human rights. IMOW is constantly shining a light on thoughtful, inspiring people whose work proves that the path to a better world begins with empowered women.
  • A mantra to live by... Be authentic, and follow your passion.
  • I Exhibit Change By... Working every day to help empower women and girls to live, earn and lead.

Take Action

Learn which causes and organizations matter most to Helene and how you can connect with them.


Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE delivers lasting change to the world’s poorest communities; empowering girls and women with the tools they need to improve their lives and pursue their dreams.


ICRW is a global research institute that works to empower women, advance gender equality and fight poverty in the developing world. They identify both women’s contributions and the obstacles that hold them back from being economically secure, full participants in society. These insights help chart a course of action that honors women’s human rights, ensures gender equality and creates the conditions in which all women can thrive.


CARE is a proud partner of the film Girl Rising, which highlights the importance of educating girls around the world. This International Women’s Day, Girl Rising will showcase Senna, a CARE program participant. Her path from bathroom attendant to high school graduate is inspiring.

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Explore our other guest curators' selections and see what organizations they support.

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