We are six intersectional feminist leaders in the global social impact sector who have decided to join forces to disrupt the status quo. It’s 2019, and women in our sector are still under-represented in leadership positions. The data speaks for itself: The 2020 edition of the FAIR SHARE Monitor shows that only 13 out of 30 international organisations have a fair share of women leaders in their organisations. One out of every five organisations based in the US do not have a single woman serving on their leadership teams, according to the Quantum Impact Report 2018. On top of that, women of color, LGBTQIA+ and women with disabilities face multiple challenges, with little data available to even measure their prevalence in leadership positions. This is no longer acceptable, and change has been too slow to come.
In the past few months, our sector has hosted numerous conversations – and taken action – around sexual exploitation and abuse, following the devastating reports about sexual misconduct within several large civil society organisations. While this is an important step towards gender justice, it does not fully address the breadth of structural inequalities, nor power and privilege issues that continue to be deeply rooted in the structures of our institutions.
Our sector is committed to seeing a world free of inequalities by 2030, and is working hard to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet internally, many of our organisations don’t live up to the gender justice and equality goals we promote.
We, as well as many others, believe it is time for our sector to truly embrace a feminist agenda that promotes parity, equality and representation at all levels of our organisations. We know things can be different. We envision a global social impact sector that practices feminist leadership and sustains organizations that embrace feminist principles and culture at all levels.
Amidst a global momentum around the importance of equality, inclusion, and representation, we believe our sector is ready to look at feminist leadership as a powerful – and collective – strategy for transformative change. Throughout our careers, feminism has traditionally been seen as an individual affiliation rather than an institutional strategy. However, some organisations within our sector are publicly embracing feminist principles, and exploring what a public shift towards feminism would mean for them and their work.
We want to fast-track a sector-wide transformation, and unite those who want to be part of this journey into a strong and impactful community for whom women in leadership as well as inclusive feminist leadership are strong priorities.
That’s why we are proud to announce the creation of the FAIR SHARE Action Circle who will drive FAIR SHARE’s mission to equip individuals and institutions within the global social impact sector with feminist tools and strategies; mobilize and advocate for feminist leadership at all levels; and hold the sector accountable to parity and representation. This shared leadership opportunity is also a way of presenting an alternative to our usual governance mechanisms, promoting horizontal leadership, and showcasing what feminist governance could potentially look like in our sector.
We do not claim to have all the answers, and we certainly do not hold the monopoly of a feminist leadership agenda within our sector. So many have taken on the challenge of truly transforming their organizations and teams, and we look forward to working together to make change happen. We will be working closely with the FAIR SHARE membership, as well as other allies and champions, men and women from all corners of our sector. This is a learning journey and a collective endeavour.