What Are the Values that Guide and Motivate Us?

The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2019. Over the decades, IWHC has embraced a set of enduring values that have guided and motivated our engagement on women’s health and rights—implicit in our work, yet unspoken.

In 2018, we—the staff and board of the International Women’s Health Coalition—decided to explicitly name these values. We consulted grantee partners, sister organizations, and donors to understand how they experience us and our work. We reflected intensively and collectively on IWHC’s 34-year history as an advocacy, grantmaking, and intellectual leadership organization, our role in global and national women’s movements, our track record of achievement, the challenges we face, and our ongoing aspirations.

The following seven values are the result of this reflection. They are meant to govern all aspects of our strategy and work, internally and externally, and serve as a reference. They are all interconnected and should be read together. We are doing particularly well on some of these; and we will need to invest more of our time, creativity, and energies to make all of them a fuller reality. We are committed to all of them and we collectively take responsibility for them.

Excellence
We take pride in the quality and integrity of our work and the transformational impact it has on the lives of women and girls. We ground our expertise in evidence, cross-cultural competency, and intentional listening. We challenge ourselves to ongoing learning and to holding ourselves accountable.

Feminism
We recognize that all forms of oppression are connected, and that women and girls experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination based on their identities, realities, and unequal access to power and resources. We believe that we must challenge patriarchal systems in order to end misogyny and achieve equality and justice.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We amplify and celebrate the voices and realities of people with less power and place them at the center of our work. We commit to creating an environment of inclusion, support, and belonging.

Generosity of Spirit
We bring our best selves and intentions to our work and show compassion and appreciation for each other. We work collectively to ensure that we all have what we need to thrive.

Trust
We foster and maintain relationships and partnerships based on respect, honesty, and transparency. We rely on each other’s word and have each other’s best interests at heart.

Autonomy
We uphold the rights of all individuals to make decisions and have control over their bodies and lives. We respect our partners’ independence and trust them to set their own agendas and define their own strategies, just as we do.

Movement Building
We invest in collective action to drive sustainable social change. As feminists and activists, we are more effective, strategic, and powerful when we work together in solidarity.