July 27, 2020

Statement available in Arabic, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.

In the last few weeks, former and current IWHC staff have come forward to share their experiences. They have spoken of racism, bullying, intimidation, and a toxic work environment. We, the IWHC Board, are shaken and deeply saddened by what we have learned. As leaders of this organization, we are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for all IWHC staff, grantee partners, and community members.

Since the letter was published, we have been engaged in a much-needed process of reflection in order to move forward in a responsible and sensitive way. We have taken some time before communicating with our community because we wanted to move in a serious and rigorous manner.

We are grateful for the partnership of staff, partners, and donors during this difficult time and appreciate your patience as we grapple with the same questions that many individuals and institutions are dealing with in this moment of global reckoning. Support for IWHC staff and grantee partners remains our highest priority at this time.

The following changes have taken place:

  • The IWHC Board has launched an independent investigation, led by Grace Speights of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Any former employees subject to NDA agreements will be released to be able to come forward and share information as appropriate. To schedule a confidential interview with Morgan Lewis by video conference (or phone), please promptly email them at They prefer to talk directly by video or phone, but an anonymous written explanation of your concerns or experiences may also be sent to the same email address.
  •  A Board sub-committee led by our Chair and Vice Chair has been formed to oversee a broad array of activities related to the organization’s future and culture, including: a review of the relationship between partners, grantees, and the organization, pay equity practices, a review of the Board structure, and support for the organization. The sub-committee will include a staff and community representative selected by the staff themselves.
  • The President has recused herself from the Board.
  • The President, Vice President of Development and Communications, and Director of Grantmaking and International Partnerships are on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.
  •  An interim senior management team of IWHC’s Director of Advocacy and Policy, Director of Communications, Director of Finance and Administration, and Associate Director of Human Resources is managing IWHC’s day-to-day operations with Board oversight.
  • We have accelerated the pay equity and career mapping processes to ensure that staff are paid equitably and have transparency on the requirements and expectations for growth within the organization.

Like all of our work, this is a difficult and ongoing process. We appreciate the deep trust that IWHC has cultivated with our community through the years and ask for your continued patience as we continue this work internally.

Our mission and vision are as critical as ever, and we remain resolute in our commitment to achieving gender justice for women and girls around the world. We strongly believe that our current attention to internal culture and practices at IWHC will only further our external work towards a world that is more equitable and just for all.

The Board’s initial statement, available here.
Board update of August 19, 2020, available here.
Board update of October 6, 2020, available here.