Racism probe result on Women Deliver described as ‘slap in the face’


The results of an investigation into allegations of racism and harassment at Women Deliver, a leading global advocate that champions gender equality, health and rights of girls and women, has been concluded this week with no single person pointed out as responsible for the “challenges” within the group.

The conclusion was described as a “slap in the face” to those who complained.

The investigation was launched in June following reports of racism and discrimination within the organisation from former and current employees who complained the group had a “‘white saviour’ complex”.

A letter of solidarity was signed by 118 Women Deliver young leaders from around the world.

The report said the workplace culture at Women Deliver had been “too demanding, urgent, and high-pressure” and that the group had undergone a period of rapid growth “during which its policies and practices lagged behind”.

Following the allegations, Women Deliver CEO, Katja Iversen, has resigned.

Former staffer Brittany Tatum, whose allegations were among those which sparked the inquiry, tweeted: “This all reads to me like Women Deliver doesn’t really know what accountability is, and if they do, the last thing they care about is taking responsibility for their impact.

“This statement, the report from the lawyers, and everything in between is a slap in the face to all of the unpaid labour I know junior and mid-level staff have been doing at Women Deliver since Katja took her leave of absence.”

Women Deliver for Change, a group described as being in solidarity with former and current staff, tweeted: “After months of working with @WomenDeliver leadership and pouring our energy into transformation efforts, we’re expressing our outrage and dismay at the WD Board’s failure to adequately address testimonies of current and former staff.”

Women Deliver is one of three women’s rights organisation troubled by allegations of racism and harassment in recent months.

The International Women’s Health Coalition, whose president Françoise Girard resigned earlier this month following an investigation into allegations of racism and bullying within the organisation.

The third group, the Nobel Women’s Initiative have announced reviews of their working practices after several staffs resigned citing the need for ‘profound organisational reforms’.

A statement from the board of Women Deliver said it “deeply and sincerely apologises to current and former employees, young leaders and alumni, and the advocates and organisations with which it partners for harm and pain caused”. (Source: The Guardian)