Zeba Sathar is a senior associate and directs the Population Council’s office in Islamabad, Pakistan, overseeing technical assistance and capacity-building, social science research, and population and demographic dividend research that informs national policy discussions and developments. Sathar also represents the Council through advisory meetings with government officials in Pakistan. Her expertise includes cross-national comparative research, advocacy for policy change, analysis of demographic trends and patterns, and evaluations of health service delivery systems. She works closely with other country directors and senior Council leaders to align research and policy outreach efforts, while also highlighting the importance of prioritizing population and reproductive health as key issues within Pakistan.
Sathar joined the Council in 1994 as a deputy representative in the Islamabad office, where she conducted research on fertility and family planning, planned and implemented research projects, and managed relationships with donors. Prior to joining the Council, Sathar was chief of research and demography at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics and a population consultant with the World Bank in Islamabad.
In 2006, Sathar received the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz award from the President of Pakistan in recognition of her public service to the development sector in Pakistan. She is also the first Pakistani to be elected to the governing council of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, and is a co-lead of FP2020’s Performance, Monitoring and Accountability working group. Sathar is a lead author on the Population Council’s publication Capturing the Demographic Dividend in Pakistan, an evaluation of population trends, challenges in achieving demographic change, and policies for capturing the demographic dividend in Pakistan.
Sathar has a PhD in medical demography from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an MSc in demography from the London School of Economics. She frequently publishes articles on gender and equality, safe abortion and postabortion care, maternal and child health, and family planning, and presents her research at national and international scientific conferences.