"We are doing pioneer work which is bringing us into conflict with some of the most deep-seated prejudices of the past few centuries. But, the future is ours!”
– Eglantyne Jebb, founder.
Save the Children stands in solidarity with the Black community, people of colour, and all those suffering from hatred or any form of racism that pervades our world today. We know that racism, discrimination and inequity begin in childhood, and damage the lifelong potential of children.
Our organisation is built on universal values and child rights, and we work with children around the world suffering from the injustices of racism and discrimination. From the moment they are born, millions of children are routinely denied the rights granted to their white peers – from education to healthcare to housing. Systemic racism and discrimination pushes families into a spiral of poverty and inequity, which blight every aspect of a childhood and threaten their futures.
2020 has been an unprecedented year – with tens of thousands of protestors taking to the streets around the world to demand justice for George Floyd and the countless others who have experienced racism that has gone un-filmed. Systemic discrimination and institutionalised racism must come to an end; the status quo is unacceptable. We can and must do better.
A century ago, Save the Children was founded on the principles of fighting injustice and demanding children’s rights, and this fight is every bit as necessary today. Our work and strategy focus on the most marginalised children around the world, including those who are discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity.
But we can and will do more to address institutionalised racism in our own organisation and sector, and are committed to listening and understanding what it takes to be an anti-racist organisation. Save the Children also has a role to play, more broadly, in decolonising development narratives and practices. This important work isn’t starting today, and it won’t be accomplished overnight. Over the next 18 months, we will:
- Measure diversity at all management levels, including in the countries where we work, and develop a plan to increase this diversity in a sustainable way
- Prioritise conversations about race, racism and bias, and include diversity and inclusion as a regular topic for our leadership teams
- Embed diversity and inclusion in our global work plan and organisational culture
- Continue listening to and working with our Diversity and Inclusion networks around the world to make informed internal improvements
- Launch our Diversity and Inclusion policy, and review our global policies and procedures to ensure they inclusive
- Incorporate anti-racism training into our unconscious bias training, and make the training mandatory for all staff
- Review our recruitment and promotion practices to ensure they are equitable and absent of biases
- Further develop our travel guidance and provide support to help our staff stay safe while they travel, regardless of their race or ethnicity
- Strengthen our staff diversity data to better understand the challenges they face and inform further actions
- Report on diversity pay gaps and voluntary turnover rates, and work to close any gaps
- Recommit to ending discrimination against marginalised groups of children by placing this at the heart of our global strategy
- Continue our work to improve our data and understand who and where marginalised children are around the world
- Further engage with local partners in the countries we work to assess how we can increase our work with and better support them
- Review our global image guidelines, content ethics and portrayal standards to ensure the images we use and stories we tell don’t intentionally or unintentionally contribute to racism
We will evaluate our progress regularly and build on this work to ensure we are continually improving and building an anti-racist organisation. We must all work harder, together, to dismantle systemic discrimination and institutionalised racism that threaten children’s survival, learning and protection, and demand accountability for children and their families every day.