Strategic Plan 2011-2013
Gender at Work ( is an international non-profit (501c3) incorporated in
the Washington D...
2. To spotlight and change the overt and covert rules and exclusionary practices of social

institutions and organizations...
In the last plan period we have:
4. Implemented our program methodology in a wide range of organizations and settings
organizations.” Our partners report that we are asking the key questions about cultural norms
and root causes of inequalit...
Where Are We Now?
Our work, framework and tools highlight gender equality. But at the same time, in our work,
we deal with...
dilution of its key elements is a drawback. As we expand our facilitator pool, we will also pay
close attention to the qua...
developmental disabilities, unionizing women in precarious employment and creating
opportunities and social networks for u...
businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in the trillions of U.S. dollars, substantial
financial commitments incu...
relevant and effective resource on gender equality to a wider range of development actors in
the north and south. We will ...
based materials, workshops and apprenticeship experiences to support and ensure the
highest level of practice. In addition...
5. Dissemination: To date we have utilized a “broadcast” strategy by posting our writing
on our website. We will now explo...
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G@W Strategic Plan 2011-13


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G@W Strategic Plan 2011-13

  1. 1. Strategic Plan 2011-2013
  2. 2. Introduction Gender at Work ( is an international non-profit (501c3) incorporated in the Washington DC and in Toronto, Canada. Gender at Work was founded in 2003 by the Association of Women’s Rights in Development, UNIFEM, CIVICUS, and Women’s Learning Partnership. As a virtual network with no central office, our Associates and Facilitators are located in different parts of the world. We currently have strong teams of Associates and Facilitators in India (3 Associates, 4 Facilitators) and South Africa (1 Associate, one Program Associate and 3 Facilitators). These teams along with our Global Associates carry out national, regional and international programs. Programs are currently being carried out in South Africa, India, Morocco, Albania, Nepal and Rwanda. We recently completed a program in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda and another in Ethiopia, Somaliland, and Sudan. Gender at Work is governed by a small international Board of Directors and a small staff in Toronto support Associates and Facilitators to carry out their work and international efforts. With an annual budget of approximately USD 1 million, our work focuses on partnering with other organizations to improve their ability to achieve women’s empowerment and contribute to gender equality. With the aim of creating new norms and cultures of equality, we take on complex organizational change processes in challenging environments. We support local, national and international social change organizations to change their structures, culture, processes and programs in order to be able to negotiate new meanings and values, support the empowerment of women and facilitate progress toward gender equality goals within the sphere of public action. Gender at Work’s experience to date is that, with the right tools and support, organizations can create transformative change internally and within the communities they serve. Gender at Work’s Strategic Plan 2011-2013 builds upon and largely continues the directions set in our earlier strategic plan (2008-2011). This plan endorses the mission and goals delineated in 2008: Our mission Gender at Work is an international collaborative that strengthens organizations to build cultures of equality and social justice, with a particular focus on gender equality. Our Goals We will achieve our mission through pursuing the following goals: 1. To advance gender equality and transform power relations by supporting both local and global social change organizations to change their structures, processes, and programs. 2
  3. 3. 2. To spotlight and change the overt and covert rules and exclusionary practices of social institutions and organizations that maintain inequalities, through new analytical tools, ways of thinking, and practices. 3. To grow, strengthen and sustain Gender at Work and its partnerships in a way that reflects our values: equality, accountability and work-life balance. What Have We Accomplished? From 2001 when Gender at Work began program work, to the beginning of our current plan, our primary accomplishments have been to: 1. Develop our thinking regarding institutions and organizations and the role they play in maintaining gender inequality. Our writing and presentations on this have resonated with a variety of people in the field, and have been widely applied and adapted1. 2. Develop a holistic view of the “what” of change – that is, what needs to change based on the integral framework of Ken Wilber2. 3 3. Develop a program methodology which reflects that analysis . 1 Gender at Work’s framework is used by several development agencies in their programmatic and organizational change work --_ For example, Oxfam Canada at headquarters and in the Pace Program in the Horn of Africa and in Mozambique; AWID’s “ Towards A Feminist Meta Framework For Monitoring & Evaluation” developed by Srilatha Batliwala; CREA’s South Asia Movement Building and Human Rights Institute (; Justice and Women (JAW) in South Africa is using the G@W integral framework as the basis for the internal and external system of planning, monitoring and evaluation; they are developing an evaluation tool based on the framework and the G@W approach; AWID’s Feminist Movement Building Program is translating segments of Change is a Slow Dance into French and Spanish to distribute to members; the document has been included as part of AWID’s updated library; Numerous requests from academic institutions to develop a module presentation for use in an academic setting – for example, three-hour seminar for adult education diploma students in South Africa, mostly from community organizations, schools, corporations, etc., on gender and organizational change, especially with regards to power relations; Earthscan reader in NGO Management re-published an article that was first published in Gender and Development entitled "Is there life after gender mainstreaming?" by Aruna Rao and David Kelleher; In Southern Africa, SAfAIDS, in partnership with Seke Rural, implemented a pilot project in Zimbabwe in which Community Dialogues were used to address harmful cultural practices, profiling G@W’s methodology on page 30 of their training handbook on gender, violence and HIV/AIDS. They have also created the poster (clearly drawing on the G@W framework). 2 Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything, Shambhala, 1996. 3David Kelleher, Action Learning for Gender Equality, Gender at Work, 2009 (; Michel Friedman and Ray Gordezky, A Holistic Approach to Social Justice, Presentation to the International Organization Development Association, 2010, ( 3
  4. 4. In the last plan period we have: 4. Implemented our program methodology in a wide range of organizations and settings around the world: we have successfully completed organizational strengthening programs with 8 organizations in South Africa, 8 organizations in East Africa; 5 organizations in India and 6 organizations in the Horn of Africa 5. Developed and have begun implementing the Dalit Women’s Accountability Initiative (2010-2011) in India in partnership with Dalit Stree Shakti, a Dalit women’s union in South India, and with funding from the UNIFEM Gender Equality Fund 6. Applied our understandings of gender and institutional change in designing programs and assessing institutional features of global organizations such as UNIFEM in their Gender & Democratic Governance Program, the Swiss Development Corporation, the United Nations Development Group, and a set of development finance institutions including CDC, FMO, IFC and Norfund. In addition, several international and national organizations (e.g. Oxfam Novib’s GMLT Program, Oxfam Canada, The Global Fund for Women, SAfAIDS in South Africa and SPARC in Mumbai) are using the Gender at Work framework for program design, training of gender and organizational change facilitators, and program evaluation. 7. Expanded our pool of Associates and Facilitators and held an Associates and Facilitators Capacity Building & Reflection Workshop in Canada in April 2009 8. Developed and disseminated several new publications through our website; this includes analytical papers and several short stories. 9. Re-vamped our web site; daily visits to the site have since doubled and monthly visits have increased by at least 160% since Oct 2009 - on average 16,000 to 28,000 hits per month. Recently, we have added social media - Facebook and Twitter - to the site as well as member’s space. 10. Implemented a new organizational and staff structure by hiring an Executive Director and a part-time financial manager; we have also formed an Executive Committee of senior Associates who regularly meet by telephone to guide the management and work of the organization. As elaborated in our last Strategic Plan, our niche is defined by “our commitment to tackling the hardest part of transforming power: changing the rules of society – especially unwritten norms, values and behaviors that are complicit in prolonging inequalities, by working through 4
  5. 5. organizations.” Our partners report that we are asking the key questions about cultural norms and root causes of inequalities. Because our work is done over time and is rigorous but nonprescriptive, our processes encourage partners to find out for themselves what they have to do and allow transformational process to take root. In trying to understand each organization in its own terms, we allow recognition of their virtues and values and surface what is not fully explicit in the organizations and what is seldom considered by external resource providers. There are strong indications that the Civil Society Strengthening Program is working well -participant evaluations, Gender at Work’s own evaluation of the South Africa program, Oxfam Canada’s evaluation of the Horn program all point to good results in changing persons, organizations and communities. The work with bilateral and multilateral organizations has also been rated positively though in those settings tangible results are less obvious and the sustainability of effects is unclear. Our work is rooted in a theory of change4; the Gender at Work framework is seen as an extremely powerful analytical tool and the processes we facilitate draw on complex systems thinking and practice. We weave different strands of theory and practice together - feminist theory, organizational development and change, and energy practices such as T’ai Chi – and our mind, body, spirit approach is viewed as central for shifting power. Gender at Work has had a significant impact in the personal lives of participants and we have strengthened the ability of individuals to contribute to the collective. Our choice of partners and our approach reflects our values and our politics – we invest in organizations that are key players in building just and equitable cultures and societies; we invest in a feminist journey with mixed organizations as well as women’s organizations; we advocate for global change but partner with local level organizations to actually make change happen; and are able to visualize micro level changes and link them to macro perspectives, arguments and mechanisms at the level of regional commissions, the World Bank and the UN. Our Associates are viewed as top-notch; each with long and varied experience and our publications are compelling as they reflect knowledge based on practice. Thus, as we look toward the next three years, we do so from a strong foundation, confident that we have a product and a process that works and is in much demand. 4 See for example, “Gender at Work’s Approach to Change” ( and Aruna Rao and David Kelleher, Is there Life After Mainstreaming? Gender and Development: Mainstreaming A Critical Review, Volume 13, Number 2, Oxfam UKI, July 2005 5
  6. 6. Where Are We Now? Our work, framework and tools highlight gender equality. But at the same time, in our work, we deal with exclusion based on multiple dimensions of identity: for example, race, ethnicity, religion, economic poverty and age. We want to develop our ability to deal with these intersectionalities in a way that is more dynamic and realistic than conventional approaches have been to date. Currently, an individual is often asked to privilege one form of exclusion over another (e.g. Dalit issues rather than gender issues) or a person’s identity is seen as static rather than fluid, and there is limited capacity to transfer solidarity or learning from one dimension of identity to another. While most development organizations (and many governments) now recognize the reality of multiple and intersecting oppressions and exclusions, there is as yet no consensus on how to address them. The conceptual framework is still evolving. Methodologies and tools need to be developed and tested for their applicability across a range of local contexts. We feel that with practices and tools to deal with intersecting oppressions we can make our work more relevant and contribute to the thinking and practice of a broader set of organizations and change practitioners. Our gender action learning processes draw on various strains of theory and practice from organizational development, adult and popular education, holistic wellness practices, antioppression work and feminism. Many other organizations have drawn on these different theories and techniques in different contexts but we believe that Gender at Work combines them in a unique way. Our approach cannot be reduced to a limited number of elements but its power may lie in the creative tensions it generates by combining diverse principles. The skills, knowledge, experience, confidence and motivation of our Associates and Facilitators thus, are the key elements which enable us to create and carry out gender action learning processes. So far, we have operated with a very small group of part time, local practitioners in both India and South Africa. In order to undertake more such work in India, South Africa or the region, we would need to expand our human resources. But given the high levels of competence our work requires in both theory and practice, identifying and mentoring new facilitators will be a key challenge in strengthening Gender at Work’s capacity in the coming years. We acknowledge that what we do in each situation – the Gender at Work approach – differs depending to some extent on who is doing it. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. To be able to adapt the ideas driving our work and apply the framework in different contexts, in different organizational sites from local organizations to multilateral development agencies, and for different purposes is necessary. But any diminution of the quality of the approach and a 6
  7. 7. dilution of its key elements is a drawback. As we expand our facilitator pool, we will also pay close attention to the quality of our practices. This will require a critical assessment of our own work; developing a competency framework which delineates the key elements of working with mind/body/spirit or the soft and hard skills of gender and institutional change; and then applying that standard as a litmus test for ‘good’ work. As an organization devoted to changing organizational culture and practices to transform power relations between women and men, Gender at Work confronts significant challenges when describing, tracking and communicating the results of our work, particularly because changes in gender relations or organizational cultures are often complex, long term, and context specific. There is an increasing tension between an external concern with “managing for results” and the evaluation community’s concern with “embracing complexity” in evaluation by engaging (rigorously) with complexity and accepting that results are often emergent rather than predictable and easily measurable. Despite the difficulties, we believe that measuring and communicating results more effectively can help us better understand how to bring about change and make better decisions about where to focus our efforts. To become more successful, we both need and want to improve our monitoring and learning practices. Over the next few years, in partnership with research institutes and implementing partners, we will invest in this important area of work. While Gender at Work’s global work constitutes a significant portion of work and will continue to do so, we have also grown organically in South Africa and India. Building on pre-Gender at Work linkages with feminist organizations, organizational development agencies, researchers, transformative leaders and change practitioners, Gender at Work began in 2004 in South Africa to create a robust network of national actors who are transforming practices and organizations for gender equality. Our partners are actively and strategically challenging the root causes of inequality (deep within informal culture) and establishing new equitable norms at the organizational and individual level. In this past plan period, we have worked to deepen four of these partners’ work for gender justice: The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union, Treatment Action Campaign, Justice and Women, Women on Farms – focused on building women’s leadership and an organizational culture to support women’s leadership. These innovative change projects challenged power and power hierarchies from a feminist perspective (although not always articulated in this way by partners) and developed alternative structures, ways of organizing and support for staff/member development and leadership. More recently we have worked with community-based organizations with predominantly female memberships that focus on different areas (anti-privatization, skills for people with 7
  8. 8. developmental disabilities, unionizing women in precarious employment and creating opportunities and social networks for under and unemployed people). These CBOs from Gauteng have forged a powerful alliance of support, learning and collaborative community effort. Writings by these community activists and change practitioners have been interwoven into the landscape of knowledge on transformational change in South Africa. Similarly in India, with efforts beginning in 2004, Gender at Work has worked to build the capacity and commitment to gender equality in mixed organizations, that is, organizations that include both women and men. These include organizations focused on child rights, inclusive education, women’s rights and indigenous rights. Men in traditional roles within traditional development organizational structures become increasingly willing to take risks and act in new ways in response to their G@W-supported analysis. For instance, MASVAW was able to make significant shifts in gender awareness among the men in their networks (some coming from areas of India with deeply entrenched patriarchal views), who now role model gender-sensitive masculinity within their communities. In both places, we have strong Gender at Work teams of thought leaders and facilitators. As the programs gain traction and success, increasing demands are being made to expand our partnerships and programs. Thus, both teams feel the need to consolidate and fertilize the growth in those contexts. We have applied our frameworks and action learning processes in civil society organizations, in large development agencies such as Oxfam Canada, as well as in United Nations agencies. In India, we are focusing more and more on socially excluded/marginalized groups such as Dalits and religious minorities; in South Africa based on our track record, we are poised to work more intensively with trade unions and with groupings of organizations in particular sectors such as those working in HIV/Aids and on employment issues. Our work with international agencies will expand as the demand for our approach increases. Similarly with the UN, given our success in energizing and focusing the work of Gender Theme Groups, an area that will get increased attention by the new UN Women agency, we are well positioned to expand this work. Where Are We Going? The world in which Gender at Work is now operating has changed in fundamental ways. The financial crisis that has been unfolding over the last three years is considered by economists to be the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It contributed to the failure of key 8
  9. 9. businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in the trillions of U.S. dollars, substantial financial commitments incurred by governments, and a significant decline in economic activity. The ripple effects are being felt all over the world. While the impact of the financial crisis on foreign aid in general is a subject of continuous debate, we are already seeing signs of cuts in some development aid budgets (such as the Netherlands) and a reduction of recipient countries. As the Netherlands has been an active supporter of gender equality efforts globally, this is a troubling sign as others are likely to follow suit. Thus, Gender at Work and organizations like us will be facing a diminishing resource landscape. At the same time, there is a renewed enthusiasm for growing the next generation of gender equality strategies, for holistically addressing social exclusion in the public and private sectors and in civil society, for social movement building, and knowledge building in partnership with diverse actors. In the last decade, there has been an important shift in development economics from an emphasis on growth in output toward a reduction of poverty, generation of employment, more equitable distribution of income and wealth, institutional development, and sustainable development strategies. The emphasis now is on the reduction of inequalities and poverty through direct provision of facilities to meet basic needs. The MDGs, which were widely criticized some years ago as watered down development targets which leave unchanged structural inequalities that perpetuate poverty, now seem like distant goals. Many countries are unlikely to reach their MDG targets for 2015 because of poverty. Equally if not more relevant for our work, there is a far greater emphasis now on examining, understanding and changing social structures, cultural norms, values and attitude systems and organizational inefficiencies that limit growth and equity. Our best successes have been in changing informal norms and relationships of power. We focus on the power relationships between individuals within organizations, households and communities on the assumption that both individuals and organizations can change if the relationships between them change. Methodologically, the shift in development economics has also given more importance to the interplay between experimentation and theoretical thinking and the importance of field based research and practices of change as a tool in elaborating our understanding of economic and social issues relevant to poverty and inequality. These challenging times present significant opportunities for our work. Gender at Work has a proven product and process that works, that is in much demand, and that can be adapted to various issues and local situations. We also have a dedicated set of highly reputable Associates and Facilitators. Over the next three years, we intend to grow our impact and become a more 9
  10. 10. relevant and effective resource on gender equality to a wider range of development actors in the north and south. We will do this by: · Building and testing a new conceptual framework and action-learning practices and tools for organizational transformation on gender and social inclusion; · Developing and implementing more systematic measures for tracking progress on gender and institutional change; · Expanding our Facilitator pool; · Honing our action-learning practices through partnerships with existing partners and new kinds of organizations such as trade unions, women’s organizations, social movements, and international organizations, including UN agencies; · Actively disseminating our new frameworks, tools and learning; · Consolidating our institutional roots in India and South Africa; and · Re-organizing our organizational core to support our growth strategies in ways that build on proven strengths and competencies. Our Key Result Areas 1. Conceptual Framework and Practice - Gender and Social Exclusion: By 2013 Gender at Work will have developed a conceptual framework, and piloted approaches that will bring other fault lines of social exclusion (such as race, caste, class, sexuality) together with gender inequality into the foreground in our work with organizations. To accomplish this, Gender at Work will build a 2-year program in partnership with 3-4 likeminded organizations which have experience in addressing issues of gender and social inclusion in different regions of the world. This program will: (i) seek a broad range of examples of ‘building cultures of social justice and gender equality’ at the individual, organizational and community levels; (ii) bring partners together to collectively analyze their experiences and draw out essential principles and (iii) apply these insights and lessons to propose a conceptual framework on gender and social inclusion that can be used as a starting point for organizational change. This work will also draw on relevant theoretical and empirical work on organizational learning, gender equality, social inclusion, and human rights. 2. Expanding the Facilitator pool: By 2013 Gender at Work will have increased the Gender at Work facilitator pool. All the new Gender at Work facilitators will have a clear understanding of G@W concepts, and the required competency to work with partner organizations to apply and implement them. Also, we will have developed a set of web10
  11. 11. based materials, workshops and apprenticeship experiences to support and ensure the highest level of practice. In addition, by 2013, Gender at Work will create supportive structures under which those involved in addressing gender equality can meet, share learning and develop new approaches to societal change. 3. Tracking and Understanding Results: By 2013, in collaboration with the Participation, Power and Social Change (PPSC) Team at IDS Sussex and together with other researchers and implementing partners, Gender at Work will convene an ‘Initiative for Measuring Gender Equality’ which will: (i) develop an approach to understanding impact and results that marries a need for tracking results with the understandings that come from rigorous analysis of systemic and emergent factors in change; and (ii) develop ways of understanding change in organizations and social movements looking at such difficult to measure areas as organizational culture. These methods will be also used to understand the impacts of each of our programs. We will share our learning using the appropriate messages and communication mediums to reach a diverse audience of researchers, community-based change agents, and policy makers. We will produce a document on frameworks and approaches and several case studies which highlight key insights and learnings from specific organizations, which will be available electronically. Lessons from our work on intersectionality will also inform and enrich this exercise. 4. Growing our Impact: Gender at Work will continue to contribute to global efforts toward gender equality through action learning and institutional change. Over the period 2011 to 2013, we will work with 25 additional CBOs, regional and national NGOs; 5 additional international NGOs, and also with mult5ilateral and bilateral agencies using both the action-learning methodology with a diverse set of actors in one country as well as other approaches to organizational change (such as a ‘community of change’ approach involving a group of actors working in the same sector/issue such as HIV/AIDS or employment in a country or working on action learning with a set of organizations in a region such as the Horn of Africa to assist those organizations to enhance women’s empowerment and gender equality and to build cultures of equality and peace. Central to this result area is a commitment to learning from each of these projects so that we can both improve our own capacity and also to be able to speak to the field about what works and what does not work. We will build strong organizational mechanisms to ensure we can do this with authority. 11
  12. 12. 5. Dissemination: To date we have utilized a “broadcast” strategy by posting our writing on our website. We will now explore more consciously strategic dissemination of our work, including, if resources permit, through face to face meetings in regions where we are working to engage local practitioners in a discussion of what we are finding, and developing. By 2013, Gender at Work will consolidate its contributions to the field, stories of change and learning in a book. Gender at Work will share our contributions locally and regionally where we work with research institutes, gender activists and organizational development practitioners; and at international meetings and conferences such as the 2012 AWID conference in Istanbul. 6. Institutional Growth and Development in South Africa and India: Over the plan period we will develop organizational structures in these two countries which will allow us to deepen our roots, be more closely engaged with local social change actors, and to align our work with the currents of change in these countries. This work will also closely inform our global knowledge building efforts. By 2013, Gender at Work will register as a local NGO in both India and South Africa with a Director and a small complement of staff in each country. 7. Our own Institutional Development: Over the next three years we will work on three inter-related strands of development: we will carry out a re-organization of the senior management team; we will define the relationship between the existing organization and emerging Gender at Work entities in India and South Africa; and we will continue to develop the board governance function. The re-organization of our leadership functions will strengthen the core leadership structure and will retain important aspects of our structure. One of which is that we are a “collaborative” and espouse a set of values related to co-responsibility and accountability. We function as a professional organization which recognizes that Associates will develop and lead projects while managers will support and link them. The collaborative, non-hierarchical approach is working and is an important part of our functioning. To manage the collaborative, we are developing a co-management structure. The key leadership functions will be shared between Director responsible for strategy and external relations and a Senior Manager, International Programs and Operations responsible for the day to day internal and programmatic functioning of the organization. Both positions will report to the Board. A third role, the Associate for Program Development and Donor Relations will support both the senior leaders. 12