Gender Alliance Summit
The Gender Alliance is a cross-network initiative bringing together feminists from the BMW Herbert Quandt Foundation Responsible Leaders Network, the Global Diplomacy Lab, and the Bosch Alumni Network. The member-driven project strives to advance the achievement of the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals on gender equity and equality within their respective organizations, communities, and spheres of influence. Therefore, the Gender Alliance provides a platform for discussing gender-related injustices, encouraging people to break down and overcome such barriers.
From August 26-28, the Gender Alliance hosted a Summit consisting of six interactive sessions.
A brief preview of the sessions might help you to decide which session meets your interests the most:
Gender Equality – Perception or Reality?
Facilitated by Elsa D’Silva, Founder & CEO of Red Dot Foundation, Chi Nguyen, Gender Specialist, was all about “playful professionalism”, discussing the gap between the perception and the reality of gender equality. Besides having a good time, everyone learned about the personal experience made by Ambassador Louise Blais, who is also Canada’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations. “Sometimes you have the title, but you don’t have the power” was probably the most striking statement she made. Based on her speech, the discussion concluded that a critical mass of action matters, and that is what the Gender Alliance aspires to be.
The second session facilitated by Carolina Sheinfeld, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Trinidad Saona, Foreign Service, Chile, discussed care as an organisational value, proposing that we cultivate empathy by listening to others and listening in order to understand. We established that it is crucial to commence this work with the extremely young, who should grow up with care as one of the fundamental values within our society, whose importance the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated even more. In the breakout rooms, discussions were held about the fact that this will remain an ongoing process since it has to be made clear that both males and females have to split domestic work and that companies need to be addressed in order to promote gender equality.
Women, Peace and Security
By approaching the construct of security through the lens of gender, this session provided a perspective that is essential with respect to understanding and resolving prevalent challenges to security. Exemplified by a quick recap on political responses to COVID-19, the keynote address by Penny Abeywardena, New York City Commissioner for International Affairs, elaborated the great importance of the female perspective on leadership. In the breakout rooms thereafter, the participants exchanged their knowledge and experiences and explored common challenges and potential for collaborative projects.
Co-moderated by GDL member Colette Grace Mazzucelli.
Investing in women-led businesses
In the fourth session of the summit, the three hosts Sylvia Mukasa, Founder/CEO of GlobalX Investments Ltd/ GlobalX Innovation Labs, Rania Reda, Founder and CEO of Augmania.com and Gaurav Mehta, Founder and CEO of Dharma Life, held a discussion with us about the different dimensions of women’s entrepreneurship. They explained through experiences they made themselves in which situation women are still not able to gain access to key foundations of a business such as the rise of capital and funding in general. It soon became clear that the issues women face in the world of business are very much the same all around the world – local laws favouring the rights of men in a hierarchical society (legislative/policy barriers), making growth a challenge. On top of that, women are exposed to everyday sexism in the still very male-dominated field of entrepreneurship.
Engaging men in gender equality
What would you see if you put yourself in the position of women/men who live in your country? Having posed this thought-provoking question, the gender-divided breakout sessions followed the barbershop method, encouraging men and women to share their feelings and opinions on the challenges of gender inequality. Based on these reflective and honest conversations, the sessions examined how men should be part of the positive transformation towards a world in which every person can achieve their full potential, regardless of gender.
Co-moderated by GDL member Imran Simmins.
Catalysing our network
The final session started off with a review of the past five sessions. The main focus of the event was the further development of 12 project proposals, which were discussed in detail in groups, including proposals by GDL members Chi Nguyen, Carolina Sheinfeld, Elsa Marie D’Silva and Firmin Kami Adjahossou. One of the projects discussed comprises the creation of a Secretariat for the Gender Alliance, the institutionalisation of the alliance itself. The focus of the summit on practice was continued and further collaborations within the network were put in place.
In the forerun of the Summit, the founding members Colette Mazzucelli and Trinidad Saona with contributions by Thandi Dyani, Julia Profeta Johansson, Chi Nguyen, Eirliani Abdul Rahman, Elsa Marie D’Silva and Carolina Sheinfeld, formulated a Feminist Manifesto as a central premise for the actions and events of the Gender Alliance. You can read the manifesto on our blog.