Empowering all: Our commitment to Gender Equality and Social Inclusion

Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) is an organisational priority for us here at IOD PARC. In 2022, we refreshed our approach to strengthening GESI within our organisation and our projects.

A gender-responsive and inclusive organisation

We’ve worked on our GESI approach on a cross-organisational level as well as within our teams. At the start of this initiative, we developed a GESI Action Plan, which has been regularly updated and reported against. It includes integrating GESI across our work plans and HR policies, building a common internal understanding of what GESI means to us, and conducting surveys to measure our progress. We believe it is important that we are transparent and accountable about how we are doing and the steps we are taking.

In 2023, we became a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), an initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women that aims to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

In line with the WEPS, we have:

  • Established high-level corporate leadership for gender equality by nominating a Director as well as another member of the Senior Leadership Team to oversee gender responsiveness in all aspects of our work, in line with the company GESI Action Plan.
  • Adopted a gender-responsive approach to working processes, starting with recruitment procedures to ensure a diverse and gender-equal workforce and pool of associates, and a safe working environment where discrimination and abuses can safely be reported.
  • Endeavoured to protect the health, safety and well-being of workers of all genders and backgrounds.
  • Offered professional development and leadership opportunities for women and GESI training for staff.

GESI knowledge sharing and thought leadership

We’ve worked to embed GESI within our organisational consciousness by sharing knowledge internally. We’ve written wikis so staff can access information on feminist evaluation, gender methodologies, and GESI within climate change and water. We’ve held sessions with speakers on feminist methodologies and gender identities, marked International Women’s Day 2023 by reflecting on what it means for us and will mark 2024 with a learning session on feminist approaches to leadership and a working session on inclusion at IOD PARC.

Gender mainstreaming on consulting projects

Our internal processes support staff to incorporate gender sensitivity into our project lifecycle across design, delivery and learning. We aim to apply a gender lens to project objectives and methodologies in bids regardless of whether they have a stated gender focus. We support clients on projects and evaluations dedicated to promoting gender equality in development and conflict-affected settings.

In our evaluation of FLOW 2 (Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women), we took an overall gender-responsive and explicitly feminist approach, centring an examination of the issues of power at the core of gender inequalities. Our analysis and interpretation of data focussed on understanding women’s rights and structural gender relations and prioritised questions that can advance knowledge on how to progress gender equality and women’s empowerment.

IOD PARC and GESI into 2024

We know we still have more to do to ensure that GESI is fully and meaningfully incorporated into our everyday work – this includes bringing a stronger focus onto social inclusion and asking what this means for our work in the same way we have for gender. We also want to expand our view of ‘gender’ beyond men and women. We want to continue to strengthen our capacity to integrate GESI considerations into our bids and projects and expand our pool of associates with GESI expertise. Importantly, we must look more closely at how we link GESI with ethics within our work.

Over the coming months, we will focus on continuing to ensure that all staff have access to appropriate training, continuing our discussions to improve our understanding of how to become even more inclusive, and ensuring gender and social inclusion are considered at all stages of our evaluation project cycles. We will also examine what more we need to do to meaningfully ensure that gender equality and social inclusion is a foundational element of our work in our new strategic period and understand how to further support the localisation agenda.