FAQs

1.    What are the main concerns and demands of FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders?
We want to achieve a FAIR SHARE of women in leadership positions in the international civil society sector. We collect data on the percentage of women in senior management teams and boards of the largest international civil society organisations (CSOs) and call on them to achieve gender equality in their organisations by 2030. We annually track progress towards 2030. We also aim to contribute to a new, feminist leadership culture in the sector.

2.    What is the FAIR SHARE Monitor?
Through the FAIR SHARE Monitor, we publish data on women in leadership positions for some of the largest and well known international CSOs. Based on the data collected, we compile a ranking of organisations who have a fair share of women in leadership. We issued the first FAIR SHARE Monitor in March 2019. Currently, our database features 31international CSOs. In addition, we present a number of organisational Monitors, which include data of both the international secretariat and national affiliates or country offices. Our Monitor “Around the World” shows national organisations that have approached us to become part of the FAIR SHARE movement.

In March 2020, we are launching our first national FAIR SHARE Monitor. We are starting with Germany but intend to add many of the world’s key countries over the next few years.

3.    What are the main results of the first FAIR SHARE monitor?
Based on our first data analysis, we can say:
• The workforce in the sector consists predominantly of women: In the organisations that provided us with staff figures 58% of all employees are women.
• The sector increasingly understands the need for gender equality in our sector: The vast majority (83.9%) of the organisations cooperated with us in compiling the data. This is 19.6% higher than last year. 48.4% of leading international civil society organisations have a FAIR SHARE of women leaders. This is an increase of 16.3% compared to last year.
• But there is still work to do: A man is almost three times more likely to achieve a leadership position in the sector than a women.

4.    How do you define a FAIR SHARE of women in leadership?
An organisation has achieved a FAIR SHARE of women leaders if it has
• At least 50% women leaders in senior management and the Board or
• a correspondingly higher proportion of women in leadership positions if there are more than 50% women in the workforce.

5.    Why is a 50:50 ratio of women in leadership not enough?
In contrast to many other sectors, the proportion of women in the civil society workforce is on average higher than 50%. This should be reflected in the management and board positions of CSOs. Otherwise, this imbalance would suggest that a man has better chances to reach a leadership position than a woman.

6.    How is the FAIR SHARE Monitor created?
This is how the first FAIR SHARE Monitor and its first update in 2020 was created.
1.    We got in touch with the senior leadership of some of the largest and well-known international CSOs and asked them to provide us with the following data about their organisations:
• Total number of their staff
• Total number of women in their staff
• The number of women and men on their senior management team
• Total number of women and men on their board
Organisations who sign on to the FAIR SHARE Commitment also commit to data updates every year.
2.    We researched publicly available information on the websites and in annual reports of the organisations to the best of our knowledge and belief.
3.    We shared the data researched by us with the CSOs who did not deliver the data for their review and edits as necessary.
4.    We inserted the data in our Monitor, adhering to our above mentioned methodology. The sequence of deriving at data looked as follows
• Wherever possible, we have used the data directly submitted by a CSO to FAIR SHARE.
• Where data was not submitted directly by a CSO, FAIR SHARE researched it and has published only the data as verified by the CSO.
• Where data was not confirmed by a CSO, FAIR SHARE has published the data researched by our team.
All data we received by 27 February is included in the Monitor.

7.    How were the organisations for the FAIR SHARE Monitor selected?
We focused on the largest international “brands” covering a wide variety of issues from poverty to children’s rights, environmental protection and humanitarian work within the international CSO sector. In addition, some organisations approached us who wished to join the initiative. We aim to add further organisations in the coming years to show a wider picture of gender equality in our sector.

8.    How many organisations feature in the FAIR SHARE Monitor?
Currently, our database features
• The International CSO Monitor – comprising data of 31 largest and well known CSOs
• Four Organisational Monitors – comprising data of the international secretariat and national affiliates of CARE, Plan International, Oxfam and Greenpeace
• The ‘Around the World’ Monitor – Commitments from CSOs from all parts of the world who wanted to join FAIR SHARE. Currently there are organisations from Malawi, Nigeria, UK and Bangladesh.
We endeavour to broaden our reach to key countries with large civil society sectors.

9.    What is the FAIR SHARE commitment?
We ask all organisations to commit to achieving a FAIR SHARE of women by
• achieving an adequate representation of women in leadership at the latest by 2030. This means at least 50% of leadership positions (Board and Senior Management Team) will be women. If women make up more than 50% of staff, the percentage of women in leadership positions will be aligned to the percentage of women in our staff.
• reporting annually (by February each year) the figures and percentages of women in staff and in the following leadership positions: Board Chairs, Deputy Chairs and Board Members, CEOs, Deputy CEOs and Senior Leadership Teams.
So far, 18 international and 36 national organisations have signed the commitment.

10. What is the FAIR SHARE Index and how is it 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 4 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. Over the years, we aim to measure whether an organisation’s FAIR SHARE Index improves or declines. The detailed figures can be downloaded here.

11. You estimate that a man is about three times more likely to achieve a leadership position than a woman. How did you calculate this number?
We first calculated the likeliness of women to make it to the top within individual organisations by dividing the percentage of women on staff by the percentage of women in leadership. We did the same for men within one organisation. Next, we divided the result for women by the result for men to calculate the comparative advantage for men. Based on the results by organisations we calculated the average figure across all organisations listed in the Monitor.

12. Why do some organisations who have a high percentage of women leaders score worse than organisations who have a lower percentage of women leaders?
We call for a FAIR SHARE and not for the highest percentage of women leaders possible. This means that also organisations who have a much higher percentage of women leaders than women staff members score lower. We are aware that to achieve gender equality in organisations there might be a need to have more women leaders on top during a transformation phase, but we cannot acknowledge this in our FAIR SHARE Monitor in a meaningful way.

13. Can organisations choose whether they are listed in the FAIR SHARE Monitor or not?
No. Gender equality is a key objective for our societies: it is listed as one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and many countries have introduced laws on gender equality.  CSOs have a special responsibility to contribute to a more equal and just society and it should not be at their discretion whether they live up to this standard or not. Therefore, we have selected the largest organisations as the biggest levers for change to hold them to account. Organisations not yet listed are invited to join the Monitor voluntarily!

14. Why do you estimate the number of women on staff at 70% for organisations who did not submit data?
For the organisations that did not provide or confirm any data and where there was no public data available, we estimated the proportion of women in their workforce at 70%. According to the very few available studies, this is the average proportion of women in the workforce of the sector. However, our 2020 Monitor where we received data from a large number of organisations shows, that for those 33 organisations we look at, the average number of women on staff is about 60%. The more data we collect over the years, the more accurate our averages will become.

15. How does FAIR SHARE guarantee data protection?
We do not publish any personal data, but always and only the aggregated number of women at the different organisational levels. The holders of leadership positions are usually publicly available on the websites of the organisations.

16. Why does the FAIR SHARE Monitor only focus on women in leadership and does not include any other diversity aspects?
Women are half of the population and deliver most of the work in the sector. Thus, we focus on the largest under-represented group in the leadership of these organisations for which data is available. We also want more diversity in terms of age, sexual orientation, religion, social background or nationality in the management and governance levels of civil society and want to contribute to this necessary cultural change with our initiative. With other activities such as The Feminist Leadership Project and the Action Circle, we advocate for an intersectional approach in our sector.

17. You call on all social impact organisations to achieve a FAIR SHARE of women leaders but only feature civil society organisations (or NGOs) in your Monitor. Why?
Our ambition is to reach the entire sector working on social justice, human rights and gender equality; including foundations, social businesses and other actors. Our leaders also come from a variety of backgrounds, for example women entrepreneurs. As we expand the Monitor, more organisation types will be featured successively to also reflect our ambition in the Monitor.

18. What are the next steps for FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders?
Having commenced in March 2019, the FAIR SHARE Monitor will be updated annually towards 2030. We aim to expand the FAIR SHARE Monitor to other countries in the coming years. In addition, we want to work with the committed organisations on shared strategies, best practice and peer exchange around gender equality and feminist leadership.

19. Why and by whom was FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders founded?
The idea of FAIR SHARE came from several meetings between women from the development sector who were shocked by a series of reports on sexual and power abuse in the sector, and who wanted to make a difference. Since then, we have systematically started to build a movement with for example the Action Circle who leads our voice and strategy, the Chief Advisers who lend their expertise and network to FAIR SHARE and the many individuals who subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media. FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders e.V. is a charitable non-profit association registered in Germany. Read more about us here.

20. How is FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders financed?
The foundation and start-up phase of our organization was supported by the feminist philanthropist Ise Bosch. Our work in Germany is supported by the campact Demokratie-Stiftung. So far, most of those involved have worked for the association on a voluntary basis.

21. How can I support FAIR SHARE of Women Leaders?
We are looking for strong partners who
• Join our commitment to a FAIR SHARE of women leaders by 2030
• Support us financially to ensure our long-term operations
• Support us as volunteers with research, translations, communication or fundraising
You got more questions? Write us at hello@fairsharewl.org

Wherever we write “women”, we refer to everyone identifying as woman.