Summary of Day 3 of the Gender Alliance Summit

4 min readSep 12, 2020


Day 3: A Summary

With more than 200 people from over 50 countries signed up to take part over the three days, this inaugural Gender Alliance Summit marked the first efforts to shape how this community can work together to achieve gender equality. With support from the Bosch Alumni Network Online Activities grant and the BMWFoundation Herbert Quandt, this summit was led by volunteer members from across these networks.

Engaging Men in Gender Equality

Hosted by Julie Smith, Mina LopezLugo and Imran Simmins

The summit’s final day began with a session focused on the role for men and boys as allies in the work on gender equality. To set up the discussion, Julie Smith helped to explain why and how all of us — whether we identify as female, male or along the gender spectrum — are impacted by ideas of gender inequality. This final thematic session would rely on the Barbershop talk: a chance for all of us to explore how gender runs through each of our lives.

Imran Simmins helped to kick this session off by inviting several male-identified summit participants to reflect on unconscious gender bias in their own lives and how this had shaped their experiences. Some of the personal insights and reflections shared touched on both societal and personal influences.

Following their lead, summit participants moved into breakouts specifically giving the opportunity for safe spaces to be created to explore and discuss gender norms. Participants worked in either male-only or non-male (female or non-binary) groups to talk about how gender roles shaped their lives. Many personal and professional reflections took place as participants examined how gender norms created barriers (or opportunities) in their own lives.

When groups returned to the plenary, it was clear that national, cultural contexts played a significant role but that each one of us had an opportunity to contribute to helping to find ways to ensure that men were working as allies to support gender equality. It was clear that this work must continue, and a call was made for men to help shape and set the agenda for the next Gender Alliance Summit.

Catalyzing our Network

Hosted by Patrick Mpedisi, Thandi Dyani and Krishnan Harathan

In the final session of the summit, the focus moved from digging deep into the issues to how to harness the energy of the summit towards action. With three excellent co-hosts, the conversation took us from a succinct overview of the three days and into working sessions to help to shape the next steps for the alliance.

Each of the thematic session leads offered up a brief summary of their session and next steps, and then summit participants moved into about a half dozen working groups. These groups began to do a next round of ideation to develop how emerging ideas, initiatives and infrastructure for the Gender Alliance could take shape.

In the working sessions, the following discussions took place:

  • Care4Diplomacy/Compendium of Care
  • Children for Change
  • Developing the Gender Alliance Secretariat
  • Gender Alliance Communications
  • Empowerment for Development
  • The Woman Fund

Each of these groups discussed how and what they could collaborate on and how the Gender Alliance could support this work. Over the next few weeks, summit participants will have an opportunity to continue to refine their ideas, and all participants have been invited to take part in a follow-up session as these get further developed. On September 25, all summit members as well as Gender Alliance Partners will be invited to take part in a demonstration session/pitch session.

Gender Alliance partners, the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) and the Global Leadership Academy (GLAC) each shared their overall impressions of the summit, and their hopes to stay engaged in this work.


The Summit came to close with attendees participating in an impromptu singing of Bill Withers’ Lean On Me. A huge thank you to all the participants, but in particular the organizers and partners who helped bring the three days to life. For all facilitators and recorders/notetakers, thank you! A final exceptional thank you to ElsaMarie D’Silva who has been the driving force for catalyzing these connections.

As an event that came together out of the organizing and leadership from among the BMW Responsible Leaders Network, the Bosch Foundation and the Global Diplomacy Lab, this was a truly network-driven summit. With members participating from across the globe, this is an incredible moment for continued collaboration and relationships to strengthen our ability to help achieve gender equality.

We know that while there has been incredible progress to date, there is much more road to travel. We’ll walk this path together, and continue to learn, support each other and help to advance equality in all spaces.

Next steps:

  1. Are you interested in helping us shape the Gender Alliance? We invite all members to step up and offer their expertise, skill and resources to define the structure of the alliance, strategy for the next five years and other resources to shape our collective impact.
  2. Was there a project that you loved and would be interested in helping to drive? An outcome of the Gender Alliance Summit is a pitch day for the projects evolving. Please save the date for ​September 25 2020​, Demo Day! (0330–0530 pm CET)
  3. Please check our ​website​ and follow our ​medium blog​: better still, sit down at your keyboard and share your reflections from the summit.
  4. Join the ​linkedin group​ (only for members) and keep in touch.
  5. What did you like, love, dislike? Let us know how our next events can be improved:
  6. please complete the evaluation ​survey​!




The Gender Alliance is a cross-network initiative bringing together feminists from the German networks. Check for more details