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The research is clear: When a balance of diverse women and men are at the top of organizations, everyone benefits. Studies in the private sector indicate that companies with diverse and gender-balanced leadership and management teams yield higher returns on investments and have smaller gendered pay gaps.

How gender balance can strengthen our humanitarian impact: A conversation and a commitment

Our live panel discussion on International Women’s Day. Leadership from across our humanitarian network took a critical look at where we are, and what will realistically be done and achieved during 2019.

2 PM CET, Friday, 8 March 2019


Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights

Aishath Noora Mohamed, Secretary General of Maldivian Red Crescent

Elhadj As Sy, IFRC Secretary General

Yves Daccord, ICRC Director General

Moderated by:

Nadia Younes, Chief Innovation Officer at EDGE

Steps towards a diverse and inclusive national society: gender parity

During 2019, National Societies from across our 190 strong membership will work together to adopt measures which improve gender balance in their workforce. The IFRC, together with the ICRC, and supported by National Societies such as Norwegian Red Cross have developed the Gender Balance Toolkit: a guide for National Societies to set and achieve their targets.

Why it matters

More diverse teams promote environments where ideas and innovation can flourish, and where better decisions are made for the organization. Research shows that teams of only men make better decisions 58 per cent of the time, while gender-diverse teams make better decisions 73 per cent of the time. Teams that comprise people of different ages and geographic locations, in addition to gender diversity, are found to make better business decisions 87 per cent of the time.

More than half the world’s population are women and yet globally women only make up 33 per cent of managers, 26 per cent of senior managers and only 20 per cent of executives. A similar story is true across the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network. This means that the productivity, intelligence, and insight of women is not being represented or used at our highest levels of decision making. We have committed to change this and will set targets to achieve gender balance at all levels.

Diversity is also about building trust.

When we have greater diversity and gender balance, we all benefit from enhanced reputation and credibility among the communities we serve, the public, and our volunteers and staff.

Stronger and more effective emergency response operations are directly correlated to having more diversity and better gender balance across humanitarian organizations. A more diverse, gender balanced leadership contributes to more meaningful engagement with, and representation of, all groups within affected communities. This includes better understanding and use of local capacities and ensuring that all people feel that they are both seen and heard, which contributes to more effective response operations.

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