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Our Regional Director, East Africa, Helen Dalton, attended the WILD Network Virtual Forum this year. Held from 26 – 28 October, it was attended by 550 women and men from 220 organisations and 45 countries.

This was the largest conference bringing together women and men to advance women’s leadership, equity, diversity and inclusion in the global development sector. The theme this year was Power and Empowering others, and really focused on how to get a greater say in what you do and how you do it. Read More…

The conference was very hands on and provided an opportunity for women and men to gain skills and inspiration to lead more effectively and to build their networks. Within the lens of equity, diversity and inclusion, the conference provided opportunities for participants to learn about new frameworks, expand their skills to achieve their goals, and to learn to transform common business challenges into career-building opportunities. There were also opportunities for participants to gain knowledge about the research, theory, and practice of developing leaders, and promoting diverse leadership across organisations for greater performance. Finally, participants were able to learn about initiatives across the international development sector to promote equity, diversity and inclusion, and how they could participate in them.


Key takeaways:

  • Although the international development sector is doing much better than other sectors in terms of gender equity, there is still significant work to be done in order to achieve representative leadership in the sector.  While much of the work in development is centred around women and creating women leaders in society, only 30% of leaders in international development are women; 12 – 14% of heads of non-profits in the US are women and 24% in the UK.
  • In order to achieve goals in women’s leadership, equity, diversity and inclusion, there has to be a deliberate effort made at the individual, organisational and sector-wide levels.   At all levels it is important to have measurable goals, and accountability, and attention paid to the say -do gap.  At the individual level, women need to be supported and develop skills to climb up the leadership ladder.  Coaching for women leaders in development will accelerate these women to have even more impact and have a demonstratable effect.
  • Covid – 19 has fundamentally changed the nature of work which provides new flexibility and new opportunities for women to advance in leadership.  We are now living in a more complex world and the challenges of leadership are multifaceted.  We need leaders who can look at the problems differently and find solutions that are multi-dimensional.