The Persistent Gender Pay Gap

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The ongoing Women’s World Cup has brought to the fore the issue of unequal pay between men and women, which affects virtually every country in the world.   Comprehensive reading about the issue can found in Wikipedia here.

In football, Norway and New Zealand are two of the few countries that have ensured (in the last two years) that their female and male players receive the same pay and the same rewards.  The reigning World Champions, USA, are currently taking legal action to state their case, whilst in the Netherlands an agreement has been reached to ensure that pay parity is reached by 2023.  Read more about these cases here

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) reported in 2018 that the global pay gap stands at around 18%.  Whilst several countries (notably Luxembourg, Italy and Belgium) have reduced this to 6% or less, there are many others with 30% or more, meaning that in those countries women are earning only 2/3 or less than men.  For a list of the “worst offenders”, please check this article from Business Insider.

Whilst there has been progress in recent years towards pay parity, there is still an enormous gap globally, highlighted by an interesting recent article from the UK Guardian focusing on Debunking the Myths.  Another article from the Guardian highlights the fact that 8 out of 10 firms pay men more than women in UK.


Doing Diversity & Inclusion better

We recently had a discussion on the global trends in Social Inclusion work – or Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) work as commonly known. We will summarise a few articles from thought leaders who have articulated these trends and shared recommendations on what works well. We would love to receive your thoughts, articles and even videos that articulate these trends and approaches. Especially those with a regional focus so that we can interrogate further on context.

  1. Eight truths on D&I - Deloitte
    Eight truths on D&I – Deloitte (2018)

    We love how Lucy Adams (Disruptive HR) articulates the trends in her article ‘Fresh Approaches to D&I’. So, why do traditional approaches to D&I rarely have much of an impact? Have a look at the below to see if you can identify an approach you have implemented.

  • Compliance approach, where D&I is driven by the numbers. We set targets for increasing numbers of X, Y or Z and document these in action plans. Numbers can become our only focus. A Compliance approach can hold people accountable – but we also create a punitive culture which can drive leaders to some short-term choices that aren’t really building inclusion.
  • Charismatic Personality approach where D&I is tied to the championship by one individual. It’s great when a leader cares passionately about a particular issue. Their status and their energy can shine a light on a cause, and you seem suddenly to be able to move mountains after years of being ignored! The downside is when they move on (or find another cause …) and things revert to relative indifference.
  • Fix The Difference approach which is pretty common. Our focus is all about helping the minority rather than engaging with the majority and changing implicit norms and culture.

  • Shaming and Finger Wagging approach where leaders and colleagues who don’t behave in the right ways or use the right language are placed in the spotlight to encourage them to change. Discriminatory or offending behaviour should be called out. However anything that discourages open discussion or leads people to be disingenuous for fear of saying the wrong thing is a problem.
  • Busy Bees approach where we flood our organisations with numerous initiatives and programmes. A lot of this energy gets diluted through the multiplicity of activity. Not only can this be confusing and exhausting but often these programmes are seeking short term results and are superficial rather than a long-term programme to achieve genuine culture change.

2. The Stanford Social Innovation review contributes to the discussion by outlining Practical Ideas for Improving Equity and Inclusion for Non Profits. by Emily Teitsworth. Among the suggestions she gives includes letting go of opportunities to allow others with diverse voices to also be heard. ‘Relatively small choices…can directly combat the inequitable distribution of resources. Making space for others to succeed is a revolutionary act; without it, other efforts to advance inclusion can’t prosper’

3. Lastly, we will share this link to The Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide which all practitioners can contextualise and will find useful in building inclusive practice.

Embedding equity and inclusion within your organisation – The A.E. Casey Foundation

Enjoy the read!


Tackling Sexual Harassment

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Sexual Harassment has been described as “a scourge”, “a plague”, “an emergency” and “a cultural problem”, among others.   Without a doubt, it is an enormous problem reflecting abuse of power usually by men towards women and children.  In this article, we use several examples, which highlight some of the challenges being faced and some of the efforts being made in both to tackle Sexual Harassment.

First, an article by The Conversation with the title ‘ Many Men are Sexually Harassed in the workplace – so why arent they speaking out?’. The article acknowledges the difficulties both men and women have in reporting abuse, the main one being stigma and also perceptual differences in defining the scope of sexual harassment.  Also,  sexist attitudes that justify and tolerate sexual harassment resulting into abuse and significant mental health impact.

In France, there have been some recent legal efforts to tackle Sexual Harassment have been made, including a new law giving instant fines for street harassment, which can be read about here.  However, a survey in early 2018 found that one in eight women in France have been raped at least once in their lifetime and over half of all women have been victims of sexual harassment and violence.  Read an article about the findings here and access the findings in detail here (in French).

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Please also read this article from Human Rights Watch (HRW) concerning the very high levels of sexual harassment in the garment industries of South and South East Asia.  HRW is advocating for  new international standard that will help prevent and respond to harassment and violence at work.

Everyday Sexism is a project started in 2012 to document cases of “everyday sexism” and has documented examples from more than 20 countries, including amongst Refugees.

For detailed information on Sexual Harassment, please check the Wikipedia page here and the UK Guardian’s Sexual Harassment 101 here

How can you prevent sexual harassment? By understanding and supporting advocacy against sexual harassment (changing norms) and by developing and enforcing anti harassment policies at all institutions and public spaces. More on this TED talk by Gretchen Carlson –

Finally, we present an important and powerful film made by SIHA (Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa) which focuses on the role of Men as Allies in the fight against Gender-Based Violence. Please have a look at the film of the project in Sudan below:

Leading Ladies

Leading Ladies is the name of a podcast being launched by the Museum of Women’s History in Lusaka, Zambia.  The first Podcast is now available and is called “The General”, telling the story of Changwe Mwape II who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Hear, see and learn about her remarkable story here.

You can also read more about the museum here or, alternatively, you listen to an introduction about the Museum by two of its founders, Mulenga Kapwepwe and Samba Yonga here.

Leading Ladies Africa is also the name of an organisation founded in 2011 with the aim of “driving leadership for African women, promoting women’s rights in Africa, developing, and equipping African women with the skills required to take on leadership roles across Business, Governance and Corporate sectors.”  Please take a look at their blog and some fascinating articles here.

Finally, we go back to Zambia to meet Besa Mumba  (below) who, in 2016, became Zambia’s youngest pilot at the age of 19.  Read about her here and watch a short film where she tells her inspiring story here.


Gender Equality Organisations

In this post, we wish to highlight several interesting organisations taking radical and progressive approaches in the field of Gender Equality.


The Society of Gender Professionals (SGP) is an international association of gender practitioners, academics, and activists dedicated to promoting feminist action and applied research, and raising the profile of gender expertise around the world.  Amongst their activities are the development of Communities of Practise, Running Gender Cafes and sharing of information and resources.  Membership is free and open to anyone engaged in Gender work – the membership form can be accessed here.

Women Deliver is another international organisation promoting Gender Equality, which hosts regular global conferences.  The 2019 Women Deliver Conference is taking place from 3-6 June in Vancouver, Canada with a wide range of speakers.  Information on past conferences is also accessible from here.

Promundo is a global organisation focused on promoting gender justice and preventing violence by engaging men and boys in partnership with women and girls with an excellent Resources page.

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The Inter-Agency Gender Working Group (IGWG) promotes gender equity in order to improve global health and foster sustainable development, and also has a range of very useful resources (toolkits, research reports, factsheets etc.) which can be accessed here.

The Global Women’s Institute is an organisation focused on “research, education and action for change.”  Amongst their recent research is a policy brief and report on Violence against Adolescent Girls in South Sudan.

Finally, it is important to mention the work of KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) in Netherlands which conducts research, training programmes in the field of Social Justice and Gender Equality.  For more about their Gender work, please click here.

Inter-Sectionality – What is it?

“There is no such thing as a single issue struggle as we do not live single issue lives” – Audre Lorde, African-American writer, feminist and civil rights activist.

We are dedicating this post to discussion and debate on Inter-Sectionality, a term that has been in use since 1989 but one that is not well understood beyond a few circles…

Social Inclusion, the inspiration for this blog, is deeply about Inter-Sectionality – it aims to understand the importance of not seeing the wide range of issues of Exclusion and Oppression in isolation from each other and, critically, not in competition with each other.  As was famously said many times, “oppression is oppression is oppression.”

In brief, many factors impact an individual’s experience, some of the key ones are detailed in the diagram below:

Image result for intersectionality

The term Inter-Sectionality was first coined by Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989 with particular reference to the inter-section between Race and Gender experienced by Black women.

More recently, a powerful book about British racism written by Reni Eddo-Lodge called “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about Race” refers in depth to the importance of inter-sectionality when discussing structural racism and feminism.  An extract from the book published by the Guardian in late 2017 can be read here and her blog can be accessed here.

Finally, please take some time to watch Kimberle Crenshaw’s TED Talk entitled “The Urgency of Inter-Sectionality” below:

Feminist Initiatives

As we approach International Women’s Day on March 8th, we would like to highlight some great feminist initiatives to promote reading, learning and education in general.



Starting in Scotland is the very unique Glasgow Women’s Library, which has been in existence since 1991 and which grew out of “Women in Profile”, an organisation that sought to highlight women’s contributions to Glasgow’s history, life and culture during 1990 when Glasgow was the European City of Culture.

A Guardian article from 2016 also described the Library as a “Treasure Trove that shows how far Feminism has come”.  You can access the article here and more information and useful links can be found from the Wikipedia page here.



The ground-breaking journal, “Women in Islam” has recently published its 4th edition (right) and this can be purchased at several bookshops in East Africa or through amazon, details of which are given here.  Digital editions for issues 1-3 are also available for purchase here.

The journal is an initiative of SIHA (Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa) and you may like to find out more by clicking on these links for Facebook or Twitter.  SIHA is also looking for contributors for the 5th edition of Women in Islam – the call for submissions can be found here.


Finally, a great series called 50 Books by African Women that everyone should Read was developed 5 years ago and contains classics, modern inspiration and everything in between.  To access part 1 (books 1-25), please click here and to find part 2 (books 26-50), please click here.