The purpose of the network is to support women already in conservation leadership and those aspiring to these roles. The network works towards supporting diverse conservation leadership teams that make best use of everyone’s skills to enhance conservation outcomes. We seek to build the confidence of women to lead – both those in the network and those in the wider conservation community. For this to happen, we need to drive cultural change in organisations and recruitment practices.
The network aims to:
- Be open to all (some events may be women-only meetings – transgender and non-binary welcome)
- Support women working in biodiversity conservation
- Support women in, and wanting to move into, leadership positions
- Inspire people and promote/create role models
- Provide practical advice on how to approach and plan for all stages of people’s career
- Be inclusive of everyone’s ideas and aspirations
- Be self organised and self sustaining
- Facilitate structural/institutional change as well as personal empowerment
- Be a collective voice to strengthen ideas and actions that individually might not have traction
There are a number of ways you can get involved with the network:
- Join the WICL steering group. The committee is drawn from the WICL members, and takes a role in developing the strategy for the network, as well as coordinating activities, mobilising resources, and organising events during the course of the year. The group meets quarterly in the David Attenborough Building, and is open to people of all genders, and all career stages. We send out periodic calls for new members – look out for these, or send us an email to ask about getting involved. We look forward to hearing from you!
- Organise an event or other activity – however formal or informal! You don’t need to be a member of the steering group to take the lead on organising an event or other project on behalf of the network. All the members of the WICL network are welcome to do this! Perhaps you’d like to take a lead on one of the ideas listed above, or you see other opportunities emerging. Please just write us a note to let us know of the event you’d like to organise – we’ll see how we can help, including sharing information about it through the CCF communications platforms. Activities could include:
- Invited speakers (lecture style). We invite inspiring women to talk about their careers and how got where they are. We can ask them to reflect on certain issues. Our aim is to get gender balance in the audience, raise awareness and promote discussion, as well as inspire. Speakers don’t need to be restricted to conservation – it’s good to get some examples of how leadership /gender equality tackled in other sectors.
- Informal presentation/discussion and dinner. This could give opportunities for in-depth discussion of issues and building a network of women in conservation. We could ask people to reflect on their careers.
- Post resources (TED talks, case studies, articles) on our facebook group
- Help us to get relevant content into the CCF newsletter
- Research and share good practices in CCF organisations. There are examples already of positive efforts being made to improve gender balance, support flexible working, return from maternity leave, etc.
- Get some data on the gender balance in senior management / boards of organisations in CCF. How does conservation compare to other sectors – is it really that bad? Information is first step.
- Talk to your HR staff to understand how gender equality is addressed in practice. How might interview training, for example, be improved? Some organisations have formal staff training on gender equality – does this then translate into equality in recruitment and opportunity?
- Visits to CCF organisations to discuss and share good practice
- Mentoring. We’d like to explore setting this up across CCF. We can arrange some group sessions to complement one -to-one, mentoring. We encourage people to put themselves forward as a mentor- there’s always someone less experienced.
- Arrange a group session to provide peer to peer support
- Job Shadowing. Could you offer this as a good insight into career development opportunities?
- Sponsorship – Senior conservationists sponsor women wanting to move into leadership to increase their confidence and capability
- Coaching – we would like to explore the creation of a leadership coaching programme for women from across the CCF community
- Funding – we would like to explore the potential for CCF organisations or external organisations to fund specific activities of the network
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