I want to start by recognizing the conversations started by former employees about working at Women Deliver and acknowledge the gravity of the concerns they raise and the pain and trauma they have shared. Any form of abuse or discrimination has no place in our work or our organization, and we have initiated a review of these specific statements and are taking broader steps to reform the organization. We know that reform is about big change and accountability — from diversity in leadership to intersectionality in our work, and much more.
What is clear is that we as an organization and as individuals have work to do. As we said last week: we recognize the international development and nonprofit sectors have their own history of racist power dynamics that need to be dismantled and we are reexamining our own role in perpetuating those systems and structures. We acknowledge that we can’t just be against racism but must actively oppose racism as anti-racists.
That includes understanding where we’ve fallen short and doing better. In the past week, we have made a series of public commitments and have started internal work to build on those commitments. We commit to moving quickly and consistently to realize those promises.
We also know that this work is not just about our internal structure, but also about our broader mandate. To truly deliver for all girls and all women our work must also advance racial equality, LGBTQIA+ rights, disability rights, indigenous rights, and other pressing human rights issues. We must work to eradicate systems of oppression that lead to racial injustice, work that is intrinsically linked to our advocacy for a more gender-equal world. Women Deliver commits to being more intersectional in our work, in addition to our commitments to reform internally.
I and we will continue to humbly listen, respectfully learn, and boldly act towards that promise — for and with our staff, our partners, and all girls and all women.
Additional information on Women Deliver’s commitments:
1. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
- Accelerate and prioritize our ongoing DEI work by providing clear recommendations, action items, and metrics.
- Develop clear metrics and accountability mechanisms for our recent public commitments.
- Set clear Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion benchmarks for Women Deliver hiring processes and commit to sharing and reporting out this information.
- Examine our retention rates for people of color and minorities and commit to sharing and reporting out this information.
- Continue to hire more people of color and strengthen the diversity of our recruitment pipelines, including for our open leadership positions.
- Ensure that an intersectional lens, along with a DEI strategy, is included throughout our five-year strategic plan, which we are currently developing.
- Partner with all staff to activate DEI recommendations and seek feedback on how to better implement and develop checks against biases or blind spots.
2. Intersectionality in Our Work
- Outline a clear definition of what an intersectional lens means for Women Deliver.
- Apply an intersectional lens (with actions) to our five-year strategy, which is currently in development. We know that to truly deliver for all girls and all women our strategy must better reflect that girls and women have numerous intersecting and inseparable identities. Our strategy must work to advance gender equality alongside and linked to efforts to advance racial equality, LGBTQIA+ rights, disability rights, and other pressing human rights issues.
3. Human Resources and Employee Experience
- Provide additional, optional safe spaces for continued sharing with an emphasis on our Black colleagues and colleagues of color. These spaces will be confidential and dedicated to those who seek more focused support, facilitated by experts in this area.
- Ensure appropriate accountability, representation, and resourcing for our ongoing DEI priorities. To assist with this goal, establish a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group with volunteers.
- Respect that resourcing and visibility are important for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). We will launch new support for ERGs at Women Deliver, which will include a budget for activities and learning.