Data on Diversity: Humanitarian Leadership Under the Spotlight

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This is relevant for humanitarians in that it provides guidance on creating more diverse teams.

This report covers the key findings from a global survey, completed by 1479 individuals responded from 115 countries in 5 languages (Arabic, Bangla, English, French and Spanish). The report did not specifically investigate the real or perceived role of people from the diverse SOGIESC community in the humanitarian sector or in leadership positions; the survey interrogated binary gender representation, representation of people with disabilities; proportion of local vs international staff in leadership positions, and levels of education. The findings highlighted in this report mirror what we know from the private sector: women are over-represented in lower-level positions (entry level contributor= 78% women, 22% men; intern/volunteer=64% women, 36% men) and under-represented in higher-level, leadership positions (project level leadership= 68% women, 32% men vs program level leadership= 60% women, 40% men; organisational leadership=49% women, 51% men; senior & executive e= 43% women, 57% men). This overrepresentation of men is most acute in countries with high or extreme security risk (men = 69% most senior leadership position, 55% project leadership positions and 56% program leadership positions in high or extreme risk contexts).

Page 9 includes a pull-out box on security of aid working with diverse SOGIESC, noting that the survey did not collect data on diversity of SOGIESC due to ‘ethical considerations and challenges associated with designing a question that was cross-cultural and applied globally, across five languages.’ The box notes the additional organisational and personal risk that could accompany a same sex or gender diverse couple in a homophobic/hostile context. Page 10 notes that diversity and inclusion most often focuses on [binary] gender rather than other forms of diversity.

Only 4% of humanitarian leadership roles are occupied by people who identify as having a disability despite 15% of the world’s population having a disability. 60% of top-level humanitarian roles are filled by international staff despite 93% of humanitarian field personnel being local. INGOS have twice the proportion of local staff in senior positions as UN agencies—52% of respondents from INGOs who work in humanitarian leadership positions are local staff compared to 36% of UN respondents.   90% of humanitarian staff have an undergraduate or masters degree—69% of total respondents have a masters degree. The importance of deliberately striving for diversity by advertising through multiple alternative channels—rather than through western-oriented job boards or relying on ivy league universities—was noted by participants.   38% of respondents perceive their humanitarian leadership teams as diverse while 42% perceive leadership teams as inclusive. Men were significantly more likely than women to perceive their leadership teams as diverse and as inclusive—54% of men think their leadership team is mostly or very diverse compared to 28% of women. Respondents from Red Cross perceived their leadership teams to be the least diverse (22%) and inclusive (33%) of all agencies while respondents from national NGOs perceived their leadership teams to be the most diverse (62%) and inclusive (64%).

 

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"Research on humanitarian workers who identify as having diverse sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and sexual characteristic (SOGIESC) has identified several challenges in the sector, particularly in relation to career development."

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This report covers the key findings from a global survey, completed by 1479 individuals responded from 115 countries in 5 languages (Arabic, Bangla, English, French and Spanish). The report did not specifically investigate the real or perceived role of people from the diverse SOGIESC community in the humanitarian sector or in leadership positions; the survey interrogated binary gender representation, representation of people with disabilities; proportion of local vs international staff in leadership positions, and levels of education. The findings highlighted in this report mirror what we know from the private sector: women are over-represented in lower-level positions (entry level contributor= 78% women, 22% men; intern/volunteer=64% women, 36% men) and under-represented in higher-level, leadership positions (project level leadership= 68% women, 32% men vs program level leadership= 60% women, 40% men; organisational leadership=49% women, 51% men; senior & executive e= 43% women, 57% men). This overrepresentation of men is most acute in countries with high or extreme security risk (men = 69% most senior leadership position, 55% project leadership positions and 56% program leadership positions in high or extreme risk contexts).

Page 9 includes a pull-out box on security of aid working with diverse SOGIESC, noting that the survey did not collect data on diversity of SOGIESC due to ‘ethical considerations and challenges associated with designing a question that was cross-cultural and applied globally, across five languages.’ The box notes the additional organisational and personal risk that could accompany a same sex or gender diverse couple in a homophobic/hostile context. Page 10 notes that diversity and inclusion most often focuses on [binary] gender rather than other forms of diversity.

Only 4% of humanitarian leadership roles are occupied by people who identify as having a disability despite 15% of the world’s population having a disability. 60% of top-level humanitarian roles are filled by international staff despite 93% of humanitarian field personnel being local. INGOS have twice the proportion of local staff in senior positions as UN agencies—52% of respondents from INGOs who work in humanitarian leadership positions are local staff compared to 36% of UN respondents.   90% of humanitarian staff have an undergraduate or masters degree—69% of total respondents have a masters degree. The importance of deliberately striving for diversity by advertising through multiple alternative channels—rather than through western-oriented job boards or relying on ivy league universities—was noted by participants.   38% of respondents perceive their humanitarian leadership teams as diverse while 42% perceive leadership teams as inclusive. Men were significantly more likely than women to perceive their leadership teams as diverse and as inclusive—54% of men think their leadership team is mostly or very diverse compared to 28% of women. Respondents from Red Cross perceived their leadership teams to be the least diverse (22%) and inclusive (33%) of all agencies while respondents from national NGOs perceived their leadership teams to be the most diverse (62%) and inclusive (64%).