We share our Gender Balance Policy, a crucial part of our Strategic Plan
Cultural Survival focuses on Indigenous Peoples in their totality. We understand that colonization has twisted our collective worldview, and as a result, we live today in a world where gender relationships are out of balance. This imbalance has left women and other marginalized groups in a vulnerable position, which has resulted in problems like violence, femicide, and inequity in communities. Much of the violence and inequities have been caused by a disruption in the continuity of ancestral values and traditions that held together the cohesiveness of communities.
Our gender policy aims to recognize the various ways that diverse societies relate to each other and to the environment, constantly seeking balance. This policy does not aim to uplift or center one gender or identity over another but recognizes the imbalances of power, voice, and respect that exist across the gender spectrum. Indigenous Peoples’ views and understandings of gender are just as diverse as their cultures are. However, it bears highlighting that there is a fundamental difference between Indigenous Peoples’ approaches to issues of gender equity and that of western societies. While western societies glorify the individual, Indigenous Peoples prioritize the communal. We believe that within this communal living, Indigenous Peoples can best develop the tools needed to assert their rights and achieve gender equity.
Cultural Survival’s attention to gender does not begin with this policy. For many years, Cultural Survival’s programs have prioritized projects centering women and engaging women’s and girls’ leadership. Today 20 of our 33 total staff members, and 8 of 12 board members are women. Indigenous women’s leadership and empowerment are fundamental to our work.
Our thematic areas of work are focused on solutions for climate change, lands and livelihoods, cultures and languages, and Indigenous community media. Intersecting these strategies, we work towards an objective of uplifting Indigenous women and relatives of marginalized genders as a crucial cross-programmatic theme of our work. Cultural Survival takes on this work through a four-pronged strategy using Grantmaking, Capacity Building, Advocacy, and Communications.
As leaders in the field, we hope this work will serve as a basis for discussion for other organizations and a model for change in working towards a world that is more inclusive, just, equitable, and respectful of nature and all living things. Our 50-year legacy of advocating for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and supporting Indigenous self-determination, cultures, and political resilience is thanks to you, our community, who help make our work possible.