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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Pathfinder builds lasting and trusted local partnerships to strengthen health systems, forging resilient pathways to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is an inherent part of this mission. Pathfinder’s core values compel us to act against systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice, and to examine the role of Western aid in perpetuating colonial practices through humanitarian work and global health. We are committed to ensuring DEI is foundational to both our business model and organizational values.

Our DEI-related commitments:

  • Increase the autonomy of Pathfinder country offices outside of the US by using a social justice lens to examine our US-based processes and structures and explore ways to increase operational autonomy outside the US to drive even greater impact.
  • Attract and retain diverse staff and board of directors who reflect the communities where Pathfinder works and contribute in a highly professional, inclusive, and respectful manner.
  • Create a more equitable and inclusive organization through our programs and internal structures, systems, and policies that exemplify our values and meet the diverse needs of Pathfinder staff and those we serve.
  • Become a learning organization to better understand and address equity and social justice barriers within Pathfinder and the communities where we work.

In addition to Pathfinder’s leaders, the following teams guide our DEI efforts:

  • Global DEI Council that represents the geographical areas where Pathfinder currently works and ensures DEI activities are connected to Pathfinder’s mission and embedded within our policies and systems.
  • Gender Equity Initiative that is furthering our progress as leaders in gender equity and inclusivity, and as an employer of choice for women and parents.
  • US Racial Justice Leadership Team that is building an anti-racist culture at Pathfinder by strengthening the capacity of US staff to communicate about race, mobilize for change, and advocate for more inclusive policies and organizational practices.

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Meet Our Team

Our locally led organization is run from the countries we serve, allowing decisions to be made close to our work, and delivering optimal impact and accountability.

Gender Equity Initiative

Pathfinder International supports every person, no matter their gender, to make critical decisions about how their lives will unfold. For millions of women and girls, this has meant deciding whether or when to marry and have children. Across the countries where we work, we have advocated for policies and run programs that build more gender-equitable societies.

Despite our longstanding commitment to gender equity, we know there is more we can do.

In 2019, we launched the Gender Equity Initiative (GEI) to critically examine how we advance gender equity—both through our programs and internal structures, systems, and policies. The GEI allowed us to comprehensively assess the state of gender equity across our offices in 17 countries.

The Gender Equity Initiative ensures that the commitment to gender equity in our programs is reflected internally across our organization and our local teams around the world.”

Lois Quam, President and CEO, Pathfinder International
Read the 2022 Global Health 50/50 report >>

Based on the results of the assessment, we arrived at a Gender Equity Strategy (2021-24), codifying our shared commitment to gender equity and outlining practical steps toward fostering greater gender equity across our programs and throughout our organization.

Our action, priorities, and commitments are as follows:

  • Roll out a shared definition of gender.
    Pathfinder’s definition of gender: Gender refers to the roles, responsibilities, characteristics, and behaviors that a given society associates with our identities as women, girls, men, boys, or non-binary people. Gender is socially and culturally constructed, so our understandings of gender differ across contexts and over time. Gender influences what is expected of each of us, the power we have in society, how we relate to others, and the norms to which we are expected to conform. Gender is a distinct concept and not the same as sex classification, which is typically assigned at birth.
  • Develop organization-wide gender-equity policy and align language and practices with our commitment to gender inclusivity and equity.
  • Advance equity-based policies and practices, including flexible work and parental leave policies, and gender-related pay equity.
  • Increase staff understanding and perspectives related to Pathfinder’s approach to gender equity and incorporate gender-equity considerations in annual planning, budgeting, and employee evaluations.
  • Recruit and hire more female and nonbinary candidates from entry-level to leadership positions, establish inclusive hiring processes, and release annual reporting on gender parity across the organizations.
  • Strengthen gender standards for programs, including adoption of the Minimum Standards for Gender Mainstreaming.
  • Establish gender-equity requirements for all contracts and agreements.

Pathfinder is committed to transparency in our GEI efforts to not only hold ourselves accountable but to share best practices and lessons learned across the sector to advance gender equity. On a semiannual basis, we will release updates on the status of our commitments, highlighting achievements, work in progress, and specific learnings.

CREED’s Pledge for Racial and Ethnic Equity aims to create practical and quantifiable standards for advancing REE in our organizations and strengthen REE in the international development and humanitarian assistance sectors to build greater organizational effectiveness and a more equitable world for all.