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
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.