Gender Equality Policy


Conservation International (CI) is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, promoting equitable conservation programming, and ensuring leadership accountability. CI recognizes that the inclusion, collaboration, and advancement of the rights of women and gender non-conforming people is critical to achieving effective and durable conservation outcomes. The purpose of this Gender Equality Policy is to define and communicate clear commitments to advance gender equality through equity, inclusivity, and human rights by responding to gender-based disparities, discrimination, and biases both within our organization and our programming. It is aligned with CI's Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination Policy, which among other protected classes prohibits discrimination based on sex, gender identity, and expression.



This Policy applies to all of CI's work, including place-based projects, partnerships, policy advocacy, communications, institutional and internal operations, and CI initiatives. This policy should also be used in coordination with and guided by CI's Safeguards System (CISS) which looks to avoid or minimize adverse social impacts our work may have and enhance positive impacts to the maximum extent possible in our projects. This Policy applies to all CI employees, interns, fellows, volunteers, and representatives (jointly, "CI Staff"), as well as CI grantees/awardees, contractors, suppliers, consultants, and their employees, sub-grantees/awardees, and representatives (jointly, "Delivery Partners") engaged by CI.



Our gender approach is grounded in recognizing that specific actions are required to address the systemic marginalization of women and gender non-conforming people in environmental conservation efforts. CI also appreciates that societal and gender norms are diverse and changing and that understanding the context in which we operate is critical to achieving our goals. This policy is underpinned by the following principles:

  • Equality as a right: Gender equality is an essential component of CI's Rights-based Approach and critical to achieving CI's commitments. Internally, this means ensuring that all our human resources policies, practices, and processes are developed with a lens of gender equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion. In our conservation programming, this means proactive identification and response to gender disparities and advancing opportunities to close gender gaps.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: CI recognizes that gender is varied, and that terms and definitions related to gender and sexuality are diverse and continue to evolve. Our gender approach is inclusive of people of all genders.
  • Intersectionality: Gender inequality is not a stand-alone characteristic; it intersects with other forms of discrimination and oppression (such as age, citizenship, disability, economic or educational background) that result in a diversity of experiences, knowledge, priorities, needs, and interests.
  • Allyship: Successfully addressing gender inequality involves everyone. All people, of all genders, are encouraged to be fully engaged in supporting and promoting gender equality to meaningfully shift gender-discriminatory social norms both within our offices and in programming. This includes speaking out when discriminatory behaviors occur and through the setting and execution of ambitious DEI goals that include a gender perspective.
  • Transparency and Accountability: CI recognizes that this policy's success and full implementation of the operational and programmatic activities require the involvement and commitment of all CI Staff and Delivery Partners. Regular reporting to CI staff is scheduled, the policy is publicly available, and the process to report inconsistencies with the policy is clear and accessible. Given the cross-cutting nature of this policy, implementation, and monitoring are done in a collaborative and decentralized way.

All CI Staff and Delivery Partners are required to report any discrimination, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, or violations of this policy to CI. Individuals may report concerns on a confidential basis via CI's online Ethics Hotline or as provided in CI's Accountability and Grievance Mechanism.



Our gender approach is integrated across all of CI's work, including within our offices and our programmatic work. Within our internal operations, this includes the following:

  • Tracking of gender metrics in staffing, recruitment, advancement, retention, and professional learning.
  • Reviewing of gender pay equity to redress any evidence of gender inequality in gender metrics.
  • Continuing a transition towards gender-equal benefits, where legally possible
  • Conducting consistent training on workplace ethics, anti-discrimination, prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, and gender equality.
  • Where feasible and legal, encouraging and supporting efforts that address social barriers and disadvantages that hinder women and gender non-conforming people from having equal access.
  • Where feasible and legal, encouraging and supporting all efforts aimed to provide equal employment opportunities for women and gender non-conforming people.
  • Leveraging new and existing internal and external communication opportunities to reinforce and promote gender sensitivity.

Within programs and projects, and as clarified in the CI Environmental and Social Management Framework, all programming includes:

  • An intersectional gender analysis/assessment that describes the gender-related gaps, risks, and opportunities within the context of the project or program.
  • A gender action plan that identifies specific approaches and activities to avoid risks, advances gender equality and equity, monitors implementation, and assigns responsibility and resources for implementation.
  • Screening and response measures for gender-related programmatic risks including gender-based violence, SEAH (Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment), and gender-specific livelihood impacts.
  • Contribution to CI's key gender result areas: 1) generating equitable and meaningful socio-economic benefits for women, 2) enhancing women's influence and leadership in conservation governance and decision-making, and 3) increasing equitable access to, and control over, natural resources.
  • A project gender tag that classifies the project's gender ambition (empower, benefit, reach, none).



  • Gender: Socially constructed set of norms and behaviors, based on social, cultural, political, and economic expectations and values, describing what it means to be male, female, or other gender identities. Unlike the biology of sex, gender roles, behaviors, and the relations between people of different genders are dynamic. They can change over time and vary widely within and across cultures, even if aspects of these roles originated in the biological differences between the sexes.
  • Gender-based Discrimination: When someone is treated unequally or negatively based on their gender. It includes restricted access to jobs, promotion, healthcare, equal pay, and sexual harassment.
  • Gender Equality: Fundamental human right, and a necessary foundation for a sustainable, resilient, and peaceful world in which people live in harmony with nature. The objective of gender equality is to ensure a society in which women, men, boys, girls, and people of all genders, have access to the same opportunities, rights, and obligations in all spheres of life. Gender equality does not mean that men and women become the same; only that access to opportunities and life changes is not dependent on, or constrained by one's gender.
  • Gender Equity: Fair and just treatment of individuals of all genders, recognizing and responding to historical and ongoing discrimination and disadvantages that prevent people from otherwise operating on a level playing field. Generally, women and gender minorities are excluded or disadvantaged in decision-making and access to economic and social resources, and therefore, a critical aspect of promoting gender equality is the empowerment of women and gender non-conforming people, with a focus on identifying and redressing power imbalances.
  • Gender Equality vs. Equity: Gender equality refers to the state in which everyone has the same access to rights, opportunities, and resources regardless of gender, whereas gender equity aims to understand the needs of each gender and provide them with what they need to succeed. Equity leads to equality.
  • Gender Non-Conforming: People who have a gender expression that does not conform to traditional gender norms.
  • Women: Women and girls in all their diversity including those of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, plus (LGBTQI+) community, as well as women and girls of every age, caste, disability, race or ethnic origin, religion, or belief.