Skip to main content
Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity
Roos Saalbrink AFSEE

Roos Saalbrink

Global Lead on Economic Justice and Public Services, ActionAid International

Roos is a feminist and economic justice activist passionate about creating inclusive spaces to discuss power, women’s rights, and economics. She is currently the Global Lead on Economic Justice and Public Services at ActionAid International, leading ActionAid’s policy work and external engagement on economic justice with a particular focus on fiscal policy (tax, debt, and austerity) and their impact on the financing of gender-responsive public services, social protection, and environmental policies, while looking at systemic economic injustices and the structural causes of women’s economic inequality through a feminist analysis of the current global political economy.

Challenging the IMF’s role in maintaining a neoliberal extractive financial system built on colonial legacies and the impact that restrictive fiscal policy frameworks have on women’s rights, together with David Archer, Roos supported the analysis of a ten country research project the ‘Public Versus Austerity: Why public sector wage bill constraints must end, which analysed how IMF austerity cuts in just 15 countries have blocked the recruitment of over 3 million nurses, teachers and other essential public sector workers. Roos' more recent work, The Care Contradiction: The IMF, Gender and Austerity highlights the devastating impacts of IMF policies, such as public sector cuts are having on women in low income countries, who face a triple threat of losing access to services, having fewer opportunities to access decent work and being forced to take on the rising burden of unpaid care work.

Previously, Roos was Policy and Advocacy Manager on Women's Economic Rights at Womankind Worldwide, a UK-based women’s rights organisation, focusing on Working towards a just feminist economy: The role of decent work, public services, progressive taxation and corporate accountability in achieving women’s rights. She was co-coordinator of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice working group on Tax and Gender of which she remains a Steering Committee member, supporting the development of 'Framing Feminist Taxation': Making Taxes Work for Women. She was an Advisory Group member of the Gender and Development Network (GADN) in the UK and worked as World Bank Gender Project Lead & Communications Manager at the Bretton Woods Project, a UK-based civil society watchdog of the World Bank and the IMF, challenging the ways macroeconomic policies promoted by international financial institutions undermine gender equality. She has worked for the UK-based Central America Women’s Network, supporting projects ranging from sexual and reproductive health rights to women’s voices in the media. She also worked as an intern at Adelante Foundation in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Roos has an MSc in Comparative Politics (Politics and Markets) from LSE, and a BSc in Human Geography and Planning with a minor in Spanish and Development Studies from Utrecht University. Roos first came to London on an Erasmus exchange to the geography department at University College London.

I have a deep appreciation for the people, activists, and artists who came before us to fight for rights. Their art, music, and stories allow us to understand their struggles, building a collective understanding across time and geographies. For example, the late Berta Caceres’ inspirational fight for her community’s land rights in Honduras or Aletta Jacobs, making history as the first woman to go to university in the Netherlands. Continuing their fight, I am hopeful for what is ahead, continuing to imagine different realities, find creative solutions, and dream of a just feminist future.

Roos Saalbrink


Register your interest to receive updates and information about the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme.