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Reflections on International Women’s Day 2018

This International Women's Day, three members of Itad staff reflect on what the day means for them, personally and professionally.

Claire Hughes, Gender theme lead

In my 20 year journey in international development, I have seen many twists and turns, some giving us hope and energy and others not so much. The launch of DFID’s new Strategic Vision for Gender Equality gives me fresh hope that we are about to start a new phase in our push for gender equality. As international development organisations grapple with the realisation that we too reflect the power imbalances and abuses that are pervasive in society, the Strategic Vision is a timely call for everyone to take action for gender equality. Read the rest of Claire’s blog on the launch DFID’s new Strategic Vision here.

Emma Mulhern, Heath theme consultant

On IWD, I’m always thankful for the incredible people, women and men, I have around me, who drive the agenda forward for women’s rights, equality and equity. I’m also thankful that through my work, I get to contribute in a small way. My career so far has provided me with the privilege of working with incredible CBOs fighting female genital mutilation, NGOs increasing access to adolescent-friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services, and national and international stakeholders seeking to change policy to ensure pregnant adolescent girls can fulfil their right to education. Now, my work focuses primarily on adolescent girls – collecting evidence and data to ensure that programmes designed for them are effective at reaching them and adapt as needed.

This year, on IWD, I’m grateful to be part of the journey and for the people on it with me.

David Walker, Gender theme senior consultant 

I think that on IWD there is a slight tendency for us as both organisations and individuals to focus outwards and to align our outputs with external opportunities, such as the themes addressed in the Commission on the Status of Women. Instead, I’d like to remind us to look inwards, at internal processes. I have been at Itad for roughly 5 months now and have been very impressed by the energy invested in initiatives to promote gender equality more actively in our systems. Over recent years, we have taken considerable steps to do a full audit of the sensitivity of our projects, ways of working, outputs and online presence with respect to gender issues. We now have several hubs of innovation across our departments on gender mainstreaming, we have more gender champions, and more consistency in the understanding of those classic terms – ‘gender-blind, gender-sensitive and gender-transformative’. Of course, shortfalls remain – but I think it’s worth taking a minute to reflect internally on these and remember what IWD is truly about: celebrating positive change, even when it comes to the more every day or relatively ordinary environments. Why? Because that is arguably the most difficult terrain to shift.