Giving Compass' Take:
- Anu Kumar, president and CEO of Ipas, an international reproductive health and rights organization, examines gender and racial diversity within the nonprofit sector.
- How can the sector better support diverse leadership?
- Read about creating diverse pipelines within nonprofit organizations.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
It is a myth that “do-gooders” are more self-aware and better equipped than others to challenge the power imbalances that exist in society at large. The racial, gender and class power structures that apply in the wider world are also on display in the nonprofit world.
For example, I am the first nonwhite woman to lead my organization in its 46 years of existence and the only person to lead it who was born and lived in the Global South, even though our mission is to serve women and girls living in the Global South.
Most INGOS are led by white Americans or Europeans, and many of these leaders are men. According to a survey of 100 U.K.-based INGOs, nearly 70% of INGO staff are women and yet, only around 30% of them reach the top.
Let us review: There are fewer women in top positions of larger nonprofit organizations, and when there are women in those positions at any size organization, they are likely to be paid less than male leaders. On top of that, the organizations they lead are often less likely to get funders’ attention and dollars, thereby limiting the growth of their organizations and the impact they can make in the world.
I know that donors are grappling with these issues. And yet, unconscious bias exists in the donor community, as well, and it appears to transcend all aspects of their work, from governance to the hiring of program staff to the selection of grantees and money out the door.
The health and well-being of all people benefits from diverse leadership in both the corporate and the nonprofit sectors.
Read the full article about gender and diversity in the nonprofit sector by Anu Kumar at Forbes.