On International Women’s Day 2021, the Parliamentary Centre recognizes the important contributions made by women to strengthen democracy and inclusive governance, but we also acknowledge their under-representation in positions of power inside the international democratic development community.
This year, we #ChooseToChallenge ourselves and our peers to #WalkTheTalk by combating the formal and informal exclusion of women from senior leadership positions in democratic development organizations. We are challenging ourselves and our own sector to do better when it comes to inclusion.
Around the world, women are discriminated against and excluded from leadership positions in every economic, political, and cultural sector. When we look ourselves in the mirror and examine our senior leadership positions, we see the same problems in our own sector. The majority of democracy support organizations historically have been, and continue to be, male-led and male-dominated at senior management and executive levels. It is essential to the cause of inclusive democracy and gender equality that more women are included at every step of the corporate ladder in international democracy support organizations, but especially in executive decision-making positions.
In an effort to advance inclusivity and gender equality, we are pledging to undertake the following steps:
- Acknowledge our own biases and outlooks and identify how our actions, words, and thoughts reflect the history of sexism and exclusion that continues to affect women.
- Recognize the crucial and important lived experiences and contributions of women in our field.
- Reassess and adjust existing policies, procedures and practices through a gendered lens to make sure all women get the formal and informal support that other employees do.
- Remove barriers to entry and to professional advancement that disproportionately affect women by creating work environments that are flexible to women’s needs.
- Reshape our organizations so they actively address and combat gender biases and exclusion at every organizational level, now and in the future.
Will you join us?
As international development and democracy support practitioners, we have committed our lives to support inclusive institutions in the respect of the core democratic values of inclusion, representation, and the rights of all without discrimination. Countless development programs are dedicated to encouraging greater political participation by women and girls because, as we know, democracy CANNOT be complete without the full participation and representation of women.
Like the institutions we are looking to make more inclusive, development organizations are also struggling to advance gender equality and equity internally. Women, particularly women of colour and transwomen, face disproportionate barriers to advancement due in part to a collection of informal networks that have benefited men in rising to leadership roles. This often results in programming for women being designed and implemented by men. While the active participation of women in politics is essential to inclusive governance, the role of women leaders within democratic development organizations is equally important.
From today until March 31st, we will be collecting signatures from individuals and organizations who also want to do better. If your organization wants to show its support for this initiative or if you have any questions, reach out to us firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are an individual who wants to show your support, please fill out this form.