Action plan launches to tackle 'institutionally sexist' fundraising profession

A plan of action to work towards “dismantling the patriarchy” of the “institutionally sexist” fundraising sector has been launched.

This blueprint for tackling gender issues in fundraising contains 45 recommendations for the fundraising sector to adhere to.

This includes ensuring fundraising organisations “actively work with more women/female donors” and involve men in planning events and discussions such as international women’s day, which took place this week.

Action in recruitment is also needed to ensure women get better access to top roles. The blueprint calls for anonymised job applications, salary transparency and offering flexible working options and job sharing.

Individual action includes ensuring women are included in decision making and given credit when they originate new ideas in meetings.

“When in meetings and a male/man colleague has clearly just relayed an idea that a female/woman colleague has already offered, let the room know that you are aware who the idea originated from,” states the blueprint, which has been developed by think tank Rogare.

“There are ways to do this using humour that will sufficiently recognise the woman while also letting the man know that it's not OK to claim others’ ideas without humiliating him.”

It adds: “If you’re a man who’s not happy to give up your slot at a conference or event, find a way for a woman to join you. Highlight a woman’s work within your presentation or comments. It would be even better if that woman was in the room at the time and could be recognised in real time.”

Other recommendations include sector wide action to tackle sexism. This should include launching a campaign across fundraising to “raise awareness of misogyny in the workplace that aims to get men thinking about their role in perpetuating and addressing it and give advice on when/how to call it out”. Rogare said that the mayors of London and Manchester have initiated similar campaigns that the fundraising profession can learn from.

Code of conduct for donors

Also being called for is a code of conduct for donors for charities to publish. These would commit donors to “behaving in a respectful and non-discriminatory manner towards fundraising professionals”.

“The fundraising profession is institutionally sexist and discriminates against its women/female members, who represent the majority of professionals in the field, yet end up with the short end of the stick in terms of salary, leadership opportunities, subjection to harassment, and various other forms of systemic barriers to success,” said Rogare chair Heather Hill.

She added: “Our view is that if we dismantle the structures in which individuals behave and think, and build something better in their place, then we have a far better chance of changing their thinking and behaviour than if we just implore them to adapt, and leave current sexist, discriminatory structures intact.”

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