How equal is the INGO C-suite?

Boardroom. Despite the perception that gender equality is more prevalent in the nonprofit sector, women actually lag behind men in INGO leadership roles. This is among the gender parity trends Devex uncovered following an extensive analysis of top 50 INGOs in the world. Photo by: EdTech Stanford University School of Medicine / CC BY-NC-ND

Despite the significant strides women have achieved in the workplace, gender inequality persists in many industries. According to the Corporate Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum in 2010, many leading companies across the globe still lack gender equality policies that advocates say would facilitate a better gender balance, particularly across executive and senior management positions.

The nonprofit sector has established a reputation for equitable hiring, promotion and treatment of employees. Academics and professionals have cited charitable, humanitarian and development organizations for being less discriminatory, prioritizing gender equity and empowering women. International nongovernmental organizations are commonly recognized for both grooming and attracting female leaders.

To find out if these perceptions and assessments are valid, Devex decided to dig into some numbers. Based on staff size and annual revenue in 2013, we established a list of 50 leading INGOs working in global development and analyzed the gender breakdown within their C-suite. We focused particularly on the CEO, chief finance officer, chief operations officer, chief human resources officer and chief communications officer positions at the global headquarters of these organizations as well as on various senior management positions at regional field offices.

After examining more than 300 INGO executives and senior leaders, here are a few important gender parity findings.

This article is for Devex Members

For full access to the content of the article sign in or join Devex.

About the author

  • Devos manola

    Manola De Vos

    Manola De Vos is a development analyst for Devex. Based in Manila, she contributes to the Development Insider and Money Matters newsletters. Prior to joining Devex, Manola worked in conflict analysis and political affairs for the United Nations, International Crisis Group and the European Union.