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by Christine Sculati

Last month WEN explored how more women can rise to leadership positions in the environmental sector with panel of experts at the Impact Hub in San Francisco. Read board member Paige Miller’s blog post for an excellent recap of our June event.

This month we will continue to talk about diversity – this time turning our attention to racial and ethnic diversity in the environmental sector.

While men are still more likely than women to occupy the most powerful positions in environmental organizations, women are making significant progress with advancing to leadership roles. Yet, the gains have mostly gone to white women, according to a seminal study on the state of diversity in environmental organizations published in 2014 by Green 2.0 and authored by Dorceta Taylor, Ph.D. of the University of Michigan.

The report, titled “Diversity In Environmental Institutions: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations and Government Agencies,” found that people of color are close to 40% of the U.S. population but they do not exceed 16% of the staff in any of the environmental organizations surveyed. The study also found that people of color only represent 5% of total board members and only 12% of leadership positions in environmental institutions.

In spring of this year, Green 2.0 gave a media and stakeholder briefing to a packed room at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. They shared steps leaders can take to improve diversity and, consequently, more effectively address environmental issues that affect our communities and the global environment.

WEN wants to engage our members in this conversation. We are thinking about possible events for next year, and we will be exploring this topic in a strategic planning process over the next six months. One question we will tackle is:  How can we engage more women of color in WEN events and leadership?

What’s next? 

We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts with board members at upcoming events and look out for our member survey in August. As a part of our strategic planning process, which will drive WEN’s direction for the next three years, we will be asking you questions about the value you gain from the WEN community as well as questions that will help us gauge interest and gain ideas for a diversity and inclusion initiative.  Also, our strategic planning committee will be reaching out to several WEN members and other stakeholders in the larger community to gain insights through key informant interviews. We will look forward to unveiling our new plan and strategies in spring of 2016!
Source: New feed

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