The IRC was founded in 1933 to help people survive in the face of racist violence and fascist oppression and we are committed to racial and social justice. These values are core to the IRC mission of helping people whose lives and livelihoods are upended by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future.
Inequalities of power exist not just in international humanitarian organizations but in our own organization and reflect some profound historic injustices. We can do better—in some aspects, much better—in ensuring through our systems and processes for hiring and promotion that our organization at all levels reflects the diversity of the places we work and the people we serve.
We are committed to anti-racism and fighting discrimination, understanding the systemic underpinnings, and recognizing that different parts of the world experience these issues in different ways. Tackling discrimination within the humanitarian sector is not optional.
We have prioritized investing in our work in diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI); set goals to increase leadership diversity; and committed to the creation of a new and permanent Gender, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI) Unit and Action Plan. This work reiterates and expands on the commitments to diversity, equality and inclusion outlined in our new strategy (Strategy 100).
The IRC's DEI vision
At the IRC, our diverse clients, partners and staff have the power, voice and agency to shape programs and operations. Within the IRC, we actively work to end all forms of systemic discrimination and foster an inclusive working environment where everyone feels respected, heard, valued and supported. Our programs seek to reduce disparities in outcomes which are driven by systemic inequality.
Specific DEI actions that the IRC has undertaken include:
- Commitment to leadership diversity goals related to gender identity, sexuality, race/ethnicity and nationality, including that 50% of our global and regional senior leaders identify as races/ethnicities under-represented in global power structures, as well as for 50% of senior leaders to be women.
- Hiring a Chief DEI Officer, who manages a cross-functional, cross-regional team tasked with integrating GEDI vision into our programs and operations.
- Creating and actively recruiting for a Leadership Board position of SVP, People and Culture, to specifically champion our Human Resources and GEDI agenda and ensure that our People and Culture are integrated into all our decisions and strategies.
- Developing staff-led DEI priorities to be incorporated alongside our Gender Equality approach in the IRC’s GEDI Action Plan.
- Establishing a 40-person GEDI Council composed of 20 employee groups and networks to be a forum for staff views on GEDI issues and launching a monthly engagement between Leadership board and employee resource groups.
- Investing in and welcoming regional GEDI directors to provide support and expertise to our regional and country programs. As well, GEDI priorities are embedded in all our country offices’ strategic action plan.
- Conducting the IRC People Survey, with the goal to strengthen our work on DEI practices. The IRC People Survey collected data from and about our staff and their experiences in the organization. It was made available in over 40 countries, administered to over 15,000 staff, translated into 19 languages and in paper and digital formats.
- Increasing investment in translation resources to improve the quality and availability of interpretation and translation for critical information sharing.
We encourage all of the 20,000 IRC staff and volunteers around the world to raise concerns or complaints through our regular reporting channels, which are published both internally and externally.
Read more on our progress and see further reports and resources:
- GEDI Action Plan
- Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion: Annual Progress Report, October 2021
- DEI Strategy Document (with summary)