Diversity, equity & inclusion

Diversity, equity & inclusion

As a global non-profit R&D and treatment advocacy organization with offices in nine countries and partners in nearly 50 countries, we naturally seek talent from a variety of areas of expertise and settings. We recognize that a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace culture are critical to the success of our mission and programmes. Our teams comprise an exceptional mix of expertise, and we embrace our cultural, ethnic, gender, professional, and other differences. Our workplace culture is also rich because it cuts across the worlds of science and advocacy, yet neither science nor advocacy alone defines us. 

The first among our values is to be people-centred. We are committed to creating a work environment that values human dignity and equity; we strive to drive innovation, performance, and productivity by empowering our diverse workforce to use their unique skills, ideas, perspectives, and qualities every day; and we support staff in realizing their full potential by removing employment-related disadvantages and barriers to participation, including through flexible working arrangements. We do not tolerate any act of discrimination, which we see as a barrier to equal opportunity, inclusion, human rights, and organizational effectiveness.

Our Board of Directors and Global Executive Team are sponsors of gender equality and geographic diversity at DNDi, and they encourage inclusion in all its forms. With diverse representation on our Board of Directors (13 nationalities from 6 continents and 47% female leadership*), we are working towards greater gender diversity by ensuring that the candidate pool for each new board appointment includes both male and female candidates, and we use open advertising to broaden the search for a diversity of candidates. Our Global Executive Team, with 18 nationalities from 5 continents*, guides the development and oversight of DNDi’s Integrated People Strategy (Español, Français, Português) in partnership with our Human Resources team.

* as of February 2024

Gender definition

Our Board of Directors has decided to use the World Health Organization’s definition of gender.

Gender is used to describe the characteristics of women and men that are socially constructed, while sex refers to those that are biologically determined. People are born female or male, but learn to be girls and boys who grow into women and men. This learned behaviour makes up gender identity and determines gender roles.

Gender analysis identifies, analyses and informs action to address inequalities that arise from the different roles of women and men, or the unequal power relations between them, and the consequences of these inequalities on their lives, their health and well-being. The way power is distributed in most societies means that women have less access to and control over resources to protect their health, and are less likely to take part in decision-making. Gender analysis in health often highlights how inequalities disadvantage women’s health, the constraints women face to attain health and ways to address and overcome these. It also reveals health risks and problems which men face as a result of the social construction of their roles.

Gender equality is the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex in opportunities, the allocation of resources and benefits, or access to services.

Gender equity refers to the fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men. The concept recognizes that women and men have different needs and power, and that these differences should be identified and addressed in a manner that rectifies the imbalance between the sexes.

Reference: World Health Organization, ‘Gender: definitions’, http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-determinants/gender/gender-definitions [accessed December 2019]

Parental leave and flexible working arrangements

Maternity and paternity leave and pay

Maternity/Primary caregiver leave is paid in accordance with local legislation but DNDi will provide a total of:

  1. A minimum of 12 weeks’ maternity leave at full pay for birth mothers and, in cases of adoption or surrogacy, for primary caregivers – irrespective of the primary caregiver’s gender.
  1. After the end of the maternity leave or primary caregiver leave, in the case of adoption or surrogacy, employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements until the baby is six months old (e.g., a period of unpaid leave or reduced working hours). This provision is aligned with the WHO guidelines on exclusive breastfeeding. The request for flexible working arrangements must be submitted in writing and is subject to the agreement of the Head of Office and the HR focal point. Where entitlement under local law exceeds this provision, the local legislation will prevail.

Entitlement is inclusive of any specific childbirth leave. The start of the maternity leave (at childbirth or before childbirth) is dependent on local maternity leave regulations.

DNDi provides a global minimum standard of two weeks’ paternity leave at full pay for birth fathers and, in cases of adoption or surrogacy, for secondary caregivers – irrespective of the secondary caregiver’s gender.

Flexible working arrangements

All DNDi offices allow flexible working arrangements, with each office organizing ways of working in accordance with local conditions, customs, and legislation. This includes any working at home arrangements. A growing number of offices offer partial working time arrangements, including to facilitate parental and elder care.

In 2018, we established a Gender, Diversity & Inclusion Working Group with representatives in all our offices to help guide our actions towards achieving our vision of a workplace that is equally enabling for all, in all our diversity. Its first focus was to explore gender diversity issues and inform the development of DNDi’s proactive agenda for gender & R&D. Its current focus is to explore the broader diversity agenda, including a rich internal dialog on how DNDi might continue to help address structural racism in global health and R&D institutions as well as adopt best practices in preventing this complex mechanism of discrimination.

A respectful and harmonious workplace

At DNDi, we are committed to creating and maintaining a respectful and positive workplace for all employees. We strive to ensure that all employees are treated fairly, and that no employee is subjected to harassment of any kind.

Our staff are expected to contribute to building a harmonious workplace and working relationships based on team spirit, dignity, caring, fairness, respect, tolerance, equality, and understanding.

All are equally expected to uphold the dignity of all persons with whom they come into contact inside and outside the organization, especially those who are vulnerable, by ensuring that their personal and professional conduct is always of the highest standard.

DNDi staff, consultants, and contractors are guided by DNDi’s Code of Conduct; policies on the prevention of fraud and corruption, and conflict of interest; and by DNDi’s Guidelines for the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct. We are implementing workshops for staff and consultants in all offices to ensure awareness and understanding of a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual misconduct.

Finally, we are accompanied by two independent, neutral, and impartial external people as Ombudspersons to help facilitate good communications, understanding, and trust inside the organization.