The FAIR SHARE Monitor

Our goal is to see a FAIR SHARE of women leaders in the civil society sector by 2030, and the FAIR SHARE Monitor is a data-based tool tracking progress towards that goal.

We use it to collect and publish data on the proportion of women in staff and leadership of civil society organisations, which in turn encourages transparency and accountability. We began collecting this data in 2019 and will continue to do so until 2030, in line with Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development agenda. Read more about why we built the Monitor on our blog.

Based on the data collected, we rank organisations according to how close they are to a FAIR SHARE of women in their leadership (see the bottom of the page for our definition of a FAIR SHARE). The Monitor can therefore be used by both individual organisations and the sector in general to set benchmarks and measure progress.

About the FAIR SHARE Monitor 2021

The annual data collection for the FAIR SHARE Monitor takes place between November and February. Organisations are called upon to participate by sharing their figures online via our new digital platform. Organisations we did not directly invite can also volunteer to participate by contacting us.

When organisations do not share their data with us, we research it for them via their websites and then give them the opportunity to confirm the figures. Once all the data is in, we begin data analysis, aiming to publish the results in early March to coincide with International Women’s Day.

For the FAIR SHARE Monitor 2021, 56 NGOs were invited to participate. About 46% actively supported us in collecting data, either submitting figures on their own or confirming data researched by us. Take a look at this year's FAIR SHARE Monitor here.


Which data do we collect for the FAIR SHARE Monitor?

Our questionnaire is short and sweet and, thanks to our new digital platform, easy to fill out online. You can see full FAIR SHARE Monitor 2021 questionnaire here.

Originally, the FAIR SHARE Monitor collected data only about the number of women and men in staff and leadership. This year, for the first time, we are also asking about Black, Brown, Indigenous women or women of colour (BIWoC). Read more on that here.

In summary, we are currently collecting the following figures:

  • The total number of employees in your organisation.
  • The number of employees who identify as women
  • The number of employees who identify as BIWoC
  • The number of women, BIWoC and men on your organisation's leadership team
  • The number of women, BIWoC and men on your organisation's supervisory board

We also ask participating organisations whether they have adopted an internal policy on equality and/or diversity.

We recognise that diversity encompasses significantly more dimensions than just gender and race/ethnicity. We see collecting data on BIWoC as a first step towards making the Monitor more intersectional, but by no means an exhaustive one. Through our other work, such as advocating for Feminist Leadership, we aim to contribute to wider cultural change and help create the conditions for a truly equitable and inclusive sector.


Which organisations are invited to participate in the Monitor?

Over 50 civil society organisations have been part of the FAIR SHARE Monitor so far. This selection is expanded annually by FAIR SHARE and we welcome any additional civil society organisation that would like to be included in the FAIR SHARE Monitor on its own initiative. If you are interested, please contact us at

The current list includes the largest and most established international civil society organisations.

How do we define a FAIR SHARE?

We define a FAIR SHARE as follows:

  • At least 50% of management positions are held by women, especially in senior management (including executive management) and on the board of directors.
  • If the workforce consists of more than 50% women, a correspondingly higher proportion of women should also be achieved at management level.

How is the FAIR SHARE Index calculated?

The FAIR SHARE Index shows how well or poorly women are represented in leadership based on our criteria for a FAIR SHARE (see point 2 above). It takes into account: 

  • If there are at least 50% of women on all organisational levels (the average representation gap, across overall staffing, senior management and Boards) and if there is a difference between the share of women in the total workforce and women in leadership (the FAIR SHARE Gap). 
  • Both gaps are added to calculate the FAIR SHARE Index. 

The lower the index, the more fairly women are represented in leadership. The perfect Index would be “0” but to acknowledge fluctuations in staff, we defined an index below 15 as a desirable FAIR SHARE.  

An update to the FAIR SHARE Index

However, calculating the index this way meant organisations with more women leaders than the share of women staff received a negative score, and the higher the proportion of women leaders, the worse this score would be. For example, an organisation made up of 40% women staff and 60% women leaders would be penalised for this gap, even though it actually indicates a positive shift from the norm and a willingness to go beyond the minimum benchmark of 50/50. 

In 2021 we therefore adjusted the formula to ensure that a FAIR SHARE gap in favour of women (more women leaders than their share of staff) would not be penalised in the same way as a FAIR SHARE gap in favour of men (more male leaders than their share of staff). We do this by applying a 50% correction to the score of such organisations.  

Our vision is not that eventually all organisations are fully led by women. However, given that for so long the norm has been that men dominate the ranks at all levels, we understand gender dynamics skewed towards women as part of the process towards gender equality.  

We answer further questions about our work in our FAQ.