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FHI 360’s 8 guiding principles for gender equality and social inclusion

May 24, 2019

FHI 360 is committed to addressing gaps in equality, inclusion and leadership opportunities and to finding ways to respond to them head-on. These guiding principles provide the basis for achievement of this commitment in all spheres of our work.


We maintain that gender equality and social inclusion are essential components of FHI 360’s human development work and will improve project outcomes.

We address harmful gender and social norms and utilize equity measures at all stages of our project life cycles in U.S. and international programs. We support approaches that address inequities experienced by people with overlapping or intersectional social identities that make them vulnerable. This includes better understanding of the realities of women of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual and beyond (LGBTQIA+) youth; low-income people with disabilities; and internally displaced persons affected by conflict. We recognize the increased challenges that these groups face and commit to supporting their full participation, safety and empowerment.


We promote women’s and girls’ empowerment and equality in our project activities.

Women who equitably participate in and benefit from economic and other opportunities — as workers, students, consumers, caregivers, entrepreneurs and investors — can positively change their families, communities and nations. We seek to improve women’s and girls’ access to resources, support their agency and leadership development, mitigate risks and create an enabling environment for empowerment.

Group of girls in colorful clothing


We emphasize the human rights and dignity of all people, including those who identify as LGBTQIA+ or as gender nonconforming.

We work to embrace, engage and partner with LGBTQIA+ and gender-nonconforming individuals and groups, support their empowerment and advance their rights and better development outcomes. In countries with legal restrictions, we obey all laws while upholding the concepts of respect and access.


We recognize that youth, adults and older people have special strengths and needs.

We support the empowerment of people of different ages, as well as intergenerational solutions, throughout our development work.

Young boy using laptop computer in a classroom
Woman smiling holding tablet computer


We prioritize the inclusion of people living with disabilities, through our staffing, partnerships and programming.

Disabilities — visible and invisible — include physical, mental, emotional and learning disabilities. We seek to create a welcoming, respectful, inclusive work environment for all people with disabilities, including the provision of reasonable accommodations where needed.

Family playing with their autistic son


We underscore the importance of addressing racial and ethnic inequality within our internal practices and programming.

This includes having greater awareness of diversity gaps across our organization and projects, actively recruiting people of color and minority ethnic groups, and pursuing equity measures to increase the participation and leadership of people from underrepresented racial, ethnic, native and indigenous groups.


We support culturally relevant, country- and community-led efforts to advance gender equality and social inclusion.

We encourage context-specific adaptation of the principles to ensure that implementation within our projects respects a country’s cultural and legal norms.

Man cooking for his family in Mozambique
Nepalese woman smiling


Our gender equality and social inclusion approach is grounded in empirical evidence and rigorous methodologies.

We are committed to generating and sharing quantitative and qualitative data about gender equality and social inclusion and their impact on development. Additionally, monitoring and evaluation of our activities and programs should include gender equality and social inclusion measures as a critical component of overall progress and outcomes.

Woman working in lab


All photos: Jessica Scranton/FHI 360