Diversity in civil society organisations

Inside and out? Ways of implementing diversity and inclusivity in civil society organisations

Demands for a fairer participation of all social groups in society are being made more frequently, and rightly so. However, the reality is that discrimination is systemic and injustices continue to be perpetuated.

Within the framework of the DSEE project funding, the Maecenata Institute for Philanthropy and Civil Society started to research how civil society organisations (CSOs) successfully implement diversity into their working environment in April 2022.

About the project:

The aim of the study is to record how CSOs succeed in not reproducing structural disadvantages within their organisations, for example due to gender identities, disabilities or minority affiliation and to work as inclusively as possible.

We want to present good examples of diversity and gender-sensitive implementation in the working environment of CSOs, which can also be applicable for smaller CSOs with limited staff and capacity. In this way, the project wants to contribute towards a fairer working environment.

For this purpose, we will first use desk research to record the gender and diversity-related reality in CSOs. We will identify CSOs with particularly promising practices through an outreach process. This will precede a survey of leaders, as well as focus groups of full-time and volunteers from these CSOs to discuss the topic. Finally, we will derive best practices and present these in a user-friendly form as recommendations for action. The results will be evaluated by an organisational psychologist. The project will be completed with practice-orientated workshops, as well as the publication of the final results and events.

From the interviews and the focus groups, we expect to learn about practical implementation ideas that we can systematise and make accessible to others, but also that we can thereby identify the pitfalls and problems that arise in the implementation of diversity and gender-sensitive criteria in the world of work, to be able to inform better practices. At the same time, implementation models described in research should become more well-known.

Dr. Siri Hummel
Director of the Maecenata Institute
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Laura Pfirter

Laura Pfirter
Research Associate at the Maecenata Institute