What is the cost of our current gender order? 

On the individual level, our current gender order leaves everyone disempowered and disconnected. Women and LGBTQIA2S+ individuals face widespread violence and discrimination – there isn’t a single country or company that has achieved gender equity or stopped gender-based violence. Men are obliged to live unfulfilled, dangerous and shorter lives: denied their essential human traits like vulnerability, many miss out on making genuine connections, with even their closest ones. They are more likely to die at job accidents or due to vocational diseases and less likely to get a job that requires care and empathy because of the gendered nature of the job market. For example, white, middle-aged men face the highest rates for suicide in the US.  

On the systems level, our social structures that reserve the power of changemaking to a select few are not fit to handle the level of exponential change our world is going through. Decisions made and led by homogeneous groups fail to come up with effective processes or beneficial results for all. Almost all of our social systems are crumbling: the nuclear family, the traditional company, the nation-state. Research shows that diversity in decision-making and power structures significantly increases the quality of the processes and results. Not because women or LGBTQIA2S+ individuals are intrinsically better than others, but because systems simply work better when everyone can be a changemaker: man-made problems require human-made solutions. 

On the culture level, our current gender order contributes to an understanding of power as oppression. Recent research finds a relationship between interpersonal gender-based violence and the likelihood of a country to engage in war. Countries with high levels of violence against women, girls and LGBTQIA2S+ have been more likely to experience armed conflict than those which do not. The notion of power that is oppressive creates a vicious cycle of disempowered and disengaged individuals > dysfunctional social systems > power as oppression rather than changemaking > and back to disempowered and disengaged individuals. 

No single initiative can deliver systemic solutions alone, this needs to be done collectively. We need a movement of social change leaders that connect their strengths and bundle their impact. ​

We are on a mission to leverage collaborative impact in the gender field through community building of social change leaders. We partnered with Beiersdorf to tackle gender inequality and invisibility through collective action​. 

Phase 1: Scoping and identifying challenges (January- June 2022)

We mapped Ashoka Fellows working on gender in Europe and other key stakeholders from the ecosystem (policy-makers, NGOs, media. We conducted 30 interviews to identify recurring challenges and key learnings. 

Phase 2: Preparing an igniting a collaborative vision and action plan (September 2022- June 2023)

We will share our co-created birds-eye perspective about the gender inequality by:

  1. Publishing a report summarizing trends and insight from the social entrepreneurs to tackle gender inequality to inspire others in the field.​
  2. Showcasing the solutions and insights from social entrepreneurs and their offer to corporates or other key stakeholders.
  3. Creating a video documentary to take everyone through a journey on tackling gender inequality—in efforts to change and shape narratives.

Meet the Initiative Leads