(July 16, 2021) Exploring women’s leadership in 5 INGOs: A feminist learning journey is a recent report released by Bond UK that takes on the issues of misogyny and sexism in the charity sector.
In 2019, statistics showed that “70% of INGO staff were women, but only 30-35% were chief executive officers.”
Spurred on by the “slow progress” on issues of equity and inclusivity in the nonprofit sector, in early 2019, a group of female chief executives of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) working out of the UK were frustrated and wanted to take action. Part of the result is the Bond UK report written by Penny Lawrence and Tina Wallace, which documents just how underrepresented women are in leadership positions in the INGO sector, and suggests a path forward.
Bond UK worked closely with five organizations to assess their areas of action from 2019-2021 and through the COVID-19 pandemic including:
Building trust that allows for safe, open communication, both in the research process and within the workings of the INGOs and the importance of a safe and contained place to communicate provided by a reliable group of colleagues was, in and of itself, a major finding of the report.
“Working collaboratively and sharing learning across INGOs on such challenging issues is worthwhile and still relatively unusual,” according to the report.
“Those organisations which received high survey responses were also the ones that demonstrated accountability.”
At Restless Development and HelpAge International, for example, the challenge of COVID-related budget cuts provided an opportunity for restructuring that resulted in a more diverse and global team, as well as an increase in women and people of colour in senior positions. The report discusses the various discoveries and efforts of each organization in concise detail and provides questions for NGOs to self-assess their own diversity efforts.
With this report, Bond UK attempted to bring together a wide variety of perspectives and organizations. It joins a growing body of important survey work that includes Robin Doolitte’s Globe and Mail series The Power Gap Bond UK’s “cross-organizational” research approach reflects the necessity of interdisciplinary work in the challenges of our time. In general, the report reflects something that most of us know all too well that- that it is systemic patterns of power that drive inequality in the nonprofit sector, not just a few bad apples or policies.
Reporting on sector leadership demographics June 20, 2020
Charity, Philanthropy and the Structures of Racism June 17, 2021