Sunsetting Women in Conservation Leadership
After much consideration and consultation with this community, we have decided NWF will not be hosting Women in Conservation Leadership Summits moving forward. We recognize this news will land with folks in different ways–some with sadness, others with relief, and many emotions in between. We want to tell you a little bit about how we reached this decision.
Last year we paused the Women in Conservation Leadership summit to give ourselves space to examine what the movement had become, potential future avenues for collective community, and how best to work towards a more anti-oppressive, inclusive, and expansive movement . We started with the intention to recalibrate in order to center the voices of those who have been most marginalized in our society– specifically, Black, Indigenous, and people of color, queer, trans, nonbinary, two-spirit, Muslim and Jewish identities, those with disabilities and others.
As is often the case, our effort to answer questions led to more questions. Is the National Wildlife Federation the right home for the WCL? What role does a large gathering have in a world experiencing a pandemic? Who should really be leading this work? Who has been left out of these conversations? As we held what we learned, while also examining the foundation, we made the decision to close down the WCL program. When we took time to pause, we didn’t know it would become an ending but what has emerged is the realization that this program cannot continue at NWF. It is clear that at this moment there are other and better, more inclusive ways to make progress on issues of gender inclusion; the issues that WCL set out to address.
In this moment of change, we invite you to consider what dismantling gender-based oppression looks like for you personally, examine your own complex set of identities – both privileged and marginalized – and keep taking steps towards making real change happen. As we ask ourselves these questions and look for ways to make change in our own communities, this is how the dream and vision of Women in Conservation Leadership is carried forward. These actions are how all people will be elevated and empowered to be leaders in the environmental community.
Thank you for participating in, supporting and transforming the Women in Conservation Leadership program.