Save the Children UK has promised that people of colour will make up at least a quarter of its senior management team by the end of 2021 as part of a drive to make it an anti-racist organisation.
A strategy document called Free to be Me, and published today, says the 101-year-old charity had, in some cases, been “complicit in colonial oppression” and had reinforced and perpetuated racist stereotypes, including through white saviourism.
It says the charity wants to build an inclusive and equitable workplace by removing the barriers that prevent people from marginalised groups from progressing.
It says the organisation was not representative of the communities it worked with and for in the UK and its workforce mainly consisted of heterosexual, non-disabled, university educated white women in their thirties.
“This profile is a symptom of bias and discrimination, which both reflects and reinforces wider structures of systemic oppression and inequity, and which we must address to build a truly diverse and inclusive workplace in the UK,” the document says.
It says the charity will examine its policies and systems with a focus on career progression and pay equity, improve its hiring processes and provide new entry pathways to the organisation.
Save the Children UK has seven top-level staff, including its chief executive, one of whom is a person of colour. It will need to have two people of colour in the team by the end of next year to meet its target in this area.
It also wants 25 per cent of the managers that report into the executive leadership team to be people of colour.
Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children UK, said the time had come to acknowledge the wrongs experienced by staff.
“Articulating what needs changing is a first step towards healing,” he said.
“The next steps are more difficult. Achieving change will require transformative cultural and structural shifts – and that includes people with power and privilege acknowledging their part in the problem, listening to and learning from those at the sharp end of systemic oppression and injustice, and acting as allies for change.”