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Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

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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.

Over the last year we have prioritized investing in our work in diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) and produced a new DEI Strategy. We have 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). 

Our DEI vision at the IRC is as follows:

“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 Diversity, Equality and Inclusion action that the IRC has undertaken includes:

  • Committed 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 (Black, Indigenous or Native Peoples, Hispanic/Latinx, Middle Eastern or North African or Asian/Pacific Islander and other minority ethnic groups); as well as for 50% of senior leaders to be women.
  • Developed staff-led Diversity, Equality and Inclusion priorities to be incorporated alongside our Gender Equality approach in the IRC’s GEDI action plan.
  • Created an internal staff DEI Council with over 40 members representing over 20 diverse staff groups and networks from around the world.
  • Improved recruitment practices to attract more diverse talent and hired a full-time diversity recruiter.
  • Launched an audit of HR practices and a global staff survey to inform further investments in improving internal policies and practices to deliver on our DEI goals.

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 details on our progress to date (November 2021) and see further reports and resources.