What Comes After #GlobalDevWomen and #AidToo?
5 Steps Organizations Can Take
Since October and the re-launch of the #MeToo hashtag, we have seen a number of high-profile sexual harassment cases become public, and many organizations taking concrete steps to ensure that people are held accountable. We have also seen a number of industries begin to look at the issue more closely. One example of this is the #AidToo campaign launched by DevEx that is taking a closer look at sexual harassment in an industry where 86% of aid workers know a colleague who has experienced sexual violence as part of their work.
Identifying cases of sexual harassment is a great first step. But, what can we do to create a long-term, systemic change that shifts the conversation?
First, we need to be having more #CourageousConversations. To do this, we need to create safe spaces where women and men come forward and share their experiences and be believed. We have to break through a culture of silence, and through the culture of disbelief. That is what the Women Working in Global Development Campaign that we have co-sponsored with DevEx is all about - bringing stories to light.
Second, we need to take an intersectional approach that acknowledges that people have multiple identities. These identities cannot be separated, and so our colleagues have to be able to speak about all of their identities when they speak about their experiences.
Third, we have to acknowledge our unconscious biases. We are dedicated professionals out to change the world. But, having good intentions does not mean that every single one of our actions is also good. We are also human. We too have unconscious biases that affect us every day.
Fourth, we need to look at systemic issues. The conversations around sexual harassment and sexual violence are critical - but there are underlying causes that have allowed these to continue for so long. The causes are rooted in broader issues of diversity and inclusion in our industry.
Fifth, we have to make systemic changes. This includes training and empowering our staff to understand diversity and inclusion. This means assessing our offices - particularly headquarters - to understand the scope of the challenges we face. This means changing office cultures. This means re-doing processes and systems to remove barriers to inclusion. This means creating spaces where everyone can be their best selves and unleash their full potential.
The good news is that this is all doable, especially when organizations, leadership teams and staff are committed to change.
We at Quantum Impact believe that this change will not only make our offices better places to work, but that ultimately, this will help us do better development work and have greater social impact around the globe. Please follow join the conversation at #GlobalDevWomen or contact us for more information.