On 29 June 2020, Champions and Alumni kicked off a week-long celebration of the International Gender Champions (IGC) initiative’s fifth anniversary during a cross-hub virtual event.
“Five years ago, we launched this initiative in Geneva with a bold vision for promoting gender equality, and because of your commitment to action and your willingness to hold each other accountable. Together, we have far exceeded our expectations”, Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto (former US Ambassador and IGC co-founder) stated at the opening of IGC’s Fifth Anniversary Celebrations.
Gathering Champions from the six IGC hubs (Geneva, New York, Vienna, Nairobi, The Hague and Paris), along with Alumni from all around the world, this event was an opportunity for the network to take stock of achievements and practices that have worked. “IGC has been successful because it is easy to understand, and it is easy to implement and measure”, Michael Møller (former Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva) said, “but more importantly, IGC is thriving because of your efforts to use your leadership platforms in very practical yet powerful ways to drive change”.
But with Covid-19 deepening social and economic inequalities, increasing backlash against women’s rights and international cooperation, Champions underlined that “there is no place for complacency”.
In the years to come, the Chair of the IGC Global Board, Martin Chungong, affirmed the need for the network “to truly live up IGC’s values of respect, fairness, and diversity”. “Recent events such as the death of George Floyd served as a much-needed reminder of the harmful consequences of exclusion and discrimination, not only on marginalized communities but also on society as a whole”, he shared.
To take the IGC network to the next level of awareness and action in this regard, this event also served to launch the “Gender Champions Challenge”, inviting members of the network to appoint gender diverse task teams to shape innovative policies and practices, and identify and role model behaviours that foster an inclusive and gender-equitable workplace culture. “Creating a safe space for all voices to be heard and participate in a truly inclusive and respectful manner is more important than ever, so as to leverage everyone’s talent and creativity, and to achieve better outcomes for everyone, in all of our diversity”, Martin Chungong said.
Importantly, this Anniversary allowed members to reflect on future challenges, game changers and opportunities for the network. Hub representatives highlighted the need to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis, go beyond gender parity, leverage digital technology, engage the private sector, and tap into the Alumni community.
“This journey has clearly proven the power of leadership, political will, and collaboration and there is tremendous potential for the years to come”, Corinne Momal-Vanian, Executive Director of the Kofi Annan Foundation concluded, “With our active engagement, the IGC has the potential to serve as a real platform to shape solutions towards a more inclusive, gender-equitable and peaceful world.”
Watch the recording below!
Photo: Visualization of IGC's story by Elizabeth Auzan, expert in visual communication.