Torild Skard

Psychologist, politician and UN official

Torild Skard as Chairman of the UNICEF Executive Board

Torild Skard is a psychologist, a politician, and a former high-ranking civil servant and official of several United Nations agencies. She has been described as “an icon of Norwegian feminism.” Torild Skard initiated the establishment of the Norwegian Women’s Lobby as an umbrella organisation for the Norwegian women’s movement.

She has served as a Member of Parliament and President of its Upper Chamber in Norway, representing the Socialist Left Party, as Director for Questions relating to the Status of Women of UNESCO, as Director-General and Deputy Secretary-General responsible for Development Cooperation at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Regional Director for West and Central Africa at UNICEF, directing UNICEF’s work in 23 countries.

She was Chairman of the UNICEF Executive Board at the international level 1988–1989 and was President of the Norwegian Association for Women’s Rights from 2006 to 2013. She served as a special adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1999–2003 and was a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs 2003–2011. She also lectures on women, leadership and the UN at the United Nations System Staff College.

She has written several books, including Continent of Mothers, Continent of Hope (2003) on African development and Women of Power (2014) on female heads of state or government worldwide. In 2012 Skard was appointed by King Harald V as a Commander of the Order of St. Olav for “her efforts to promote women’s and children’s rights.”