The Inter-American Development Bank will implement 10 measures for the advancement of women and the inclusion of diversity within the institution, as a result of a two-day conference on gender and diversity held at IDB headquarters last week.
The winning proposals cover a wide array of actions to be taken by the Bank starting in 2010, including local corporate procurement preferential scoring to businesses owned by traditionally excluded minorities, a set of actions to accelerate career advancement for women, and ensuring that capacities and needs of persons with disabilities are integrated into all IDB operations. (See the full list of the 10 winning proposals below).
Diversity experts from academia, NGOs, the private sector, governments and international organizations participated in the IDB Leadership in Diversity Conference – Setting the Tone from the Top. Participants worked in roundtables to make the recommendations from where the ten winning proposals were selected.
The event was organized by the Bank to raise its own awareness of the issue, engage in dialogue on inclusion and diversity in the workplace, and set measurable targets for the advancement of women, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants and other minorities at all levels within the Bank Group.
Renowned experts highlighted diversity challenges and analyzed solutions during the two days of the conference, including Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. State Department; Richard Fletcher, Trustee of The Phelps Stokes Fund; Demetrio Cojtí Cuxil, Former Deputy Minister of Education in Guatemala; Flo McAfee, President of Summerland Studio, and Marcia de Castro, U.N. Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative for Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles. Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty was a keynote speaker at the inaugural reception.
On opening the conference, IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno mentioned some of the recent steps the Bank has taken to address the issues of gender and diversity, including the launching of the new $10 million Gender and Diversity Fund, the approval of new funding for PROLEAD, the Program for Support of Women’s Leadership and Representation, and the strategic partnership with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative to support women entrepreneurs throughout the region.
The IDB is also taking several actions to improve its capacity to respond to indigenous peoples’ priorities, said Moreno, such as an independent evaluation of the Bank investment in indigenous peoples in the past 15 years, greater participation for Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples in public consultations, and partnerships with the private sector to support traditionally excluded groups.
The Bank has secured an additional $6 million for a parallel Gender and Diversity Fund, is currently writing a new gender policy to ensure that gender issues are ingrained in all Bank operations, and is developing two mapping projects aimed at measuring the effects of social exclusion and strengthening the region’s institutional capacity to address discrimination.
“But there is another piece of the puzzle,” noted the President of the IDB. “If the Bank is to do a good job serving our clients, we ourselves must become a more diverse organization.”
The conference was organized, concluded Moreno, “to bring positive changes in how IDB addresses gender and diversity as part of our day-to-day operation and our human resources policies and programs.”
For that purpose, participants at the conference were invited to join one of the 13 roundtables on different subjects organized for discussion. Recommendations came from all roundtables and from a Facebook discussion board that requested proposals directly from the public. Over 100 recommendations emanated from this process, and the 10 winning proposals were selected among them.
The 10 winning proposals on new actions to be taken by the Bank starting in 2010 are:
1. Include clear goals in the performance review system for managers to successfully implement the new IDB Policy on Gender Equality in Development. Good performance based on a set of established criteria will be rewarded through higher ratings in their annual appraisals, which in time impacts the salary review cycle.
2. A pilot program to differentiate pricing on its loans based on the “scores” companies have on development/ social scorecard.
3. Country Offices corporate procurement preferential scoring to businesses owned by traditionally excluded minorities.
4. Include diversity and inclusion goals as an objective in every IDB’s supervisor annual work program.
5. Training of supervisory staff to foster a change in culture, emphasizing a more decentralized organization with greater reliance on the latest generation of IT tools
6. Promote telecommuting and other flexible work arrangements as a standard option.
7. Enhance the current leadership development offerings with more frequent “shadowing of senior managers ” and organize a Bankwide mentoring program
8. Provide 12 months developmental assignments for women at junior levels, including "job swaps" between HQ and Country Offices.
9. Enhance the current paternity leave policy.
10. Ensure that capacities and needs of persons with disabilities are integrated into all IDB operations (proposal from Facebook discussion)
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