Jun 15, 2023 | FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders

How do we build a feminist social impact sector?

Four years since FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders was established, we are so excited to share our learnings so far and our vision for the next years in our first-ever strategic framework: “Building a feminist social impact sector”.

In it, we share our reflections on FAIR SHARE’s first chapters, beginning with identifying a need for change in the sector. We then listened to our community, tested programmes and formats, and learned from each experiment. Along the way, we identified productive tensions within the work of Feminist Leaders and gender equity. This led us to the roles we aim to play in the sector, all while continuing our own Feminist Leadership journey.

So what are those roles? Which productive tensions exactly? And how does all of this come together in concrete project and programmes? Explore the rest of the story here.

As some of you know, this process started quite a while ago already. In October 2021, we sent out a survey to over 100 of our partners, advisors and critical friends asking for their perspective on our work – what was working well? What wasn’t? What should we prioritise to have the biggest impact? In addition to gathering this invaluable input from our community, we also took the following steps:

  • An environmental scan to identify our unique contribution to change in the sector
  • Envisioning scenarios of what FAIR SHARE could look by 2030 based on multiple different directions
  • Based on the input from the survey, a stop/start/continue exercise

All relatively standard – so why did this process take us until now?

One reason was that, as with all of our work, we wanted to develop this strategy framework with participation from our stakeholders – so we took the extra time needed to involve partners and stakeholders. And time was already scarce: a major challenge was giving this work the attention it deserved with limited team capacity and no resources dedicated towards organisational development. Lastly, we found it surprisingly tricky to find a format and language that felt true to our values and ways of working while also presenting a clear narrative to our audience.

Here’s what we learned from this journey to develop our first Strategic Framework:

  • Involve the team early: Though 3 of (at the time) 5 team members were involved in the process, we should have had more team-wide discussions earlier on
  • Don’t box yourself in: The term “strategy” which immediately came with certain assumptions or ideas about what the process and outcome should look like, so at some point we gave it the internal nickname “Daisy Duck” to refresh our perspectives
  • This work needs resources: a breakthrough moment was our first core funding grant from the Schöpflin Foundation, which allowed us to carve out time for externally facilitated reflections and discussions as a team

We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to “Building a feminist social impact sector”, including our Board who were involved from start to finish. Though we use the word “finish” loosely – we purposefully didn’t give this document a timeframe because we hope that through updating the page on the website, we can keep it a living, breathing document that can continue to guide us for many years to come.

We hope you enjoy exploring the story of FAIR SHARE – we’re looking forward to writing the next chapters together with you.

Explore our first Strategic Framework

and discover our plans for the future, including an international Feminist Leadership Lab, intersectional Monitoring, and much more.