How can organizations ensure that the events they host are as inclusive and gender-equitable as possible? Not an easy question to answer, but TTI has made it a priority to bring a gender lens to our event planning for the upcoming Think Tank Initiative Exchange (TTIX). This outlines our efforts, our expectations, and what we’re learning along the way.
As the summer student for the Think Tank Initiative (TTI), I was tasked with providing guidance on how TTI can bring a gendered lens to the upcoming Think Tank Initiative Exchange (TTIX). The TTI team aims to ensure a comprehensive strategy for integrating gender at each step of this event, including planning, implementation, and evaluation. As such, we’ve been reflecting on how we can best support and showcase the impressive diversity of voices that the program has worked with.
Our approach to this included a review of best practices by other organizations, as well as efforts to understand the potential problems that may arise. Beyond avoiding “manels” (all-male panels), the TTIX Planning Team had to determine what considerations we should take in terms of the design, communication, and facilitation of this event.
To start with, we developed a checklist outlining gender considerations at various stages of the planning process. Many institutions and organizations have event checklists for inclusive planning but most focus on physical accessibility. While accessibility is indeed a key priority, we also felt that it was essential to address issues like gender-inclusive panels, encouraging diverse voices, and family services. To do this we borrowed practices from sources including the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme and the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development. We also utilized many materials from Grupo Sofia, a network of female social science researchers in Peru promoting the empowerment of women in academia, including their effective #lasmujeressaben campaign.
While these organizations do not have specific event planning checklists, the information provided on gender-based analysis, gender in monitoring and evaluation, and gender mainstreaming manuals provided guidance on what elements to consider in organizing an event that is equitable and inclusive. We also included ideas from various universities and event centers on accessibility. This checklist now considers gender and inclusion at each step; planning, communications, session facilitation and evaluation.
We have also prepared guiding principles for both facilitators and participants to ensure that the intent to encourage engagement from everyone present at the event is effectively communicated. You can view the guidelines for participants here and we encourage all participants to review the guidelines in advance of the Exchange, when we look forward to welcoming you all to our inclusive, gender-equitable event. And of course, if you have any other ideas for us please get in touch at email@example.com.