LCWINS Action Plan to Address Institutionalized Racism in 2020 Initiatives
LCWINS is committed to addressing the institutionalized racism that has historically held back Black women and women of color. Efforts to improve gender diversity in national security leadership will not directly benefit people of color generally, or women of color in particular, without concerted attention. LCWINS takes an intentional approach to including women of color in its Steering Committee, Honorary Advisory Committee, and governance bodies.
We hereby reaffirm our support of the Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security’s Standing Together Against Racism and Discrimination Statement and the commitments we made by signing that document. LCWINS also commits to explicitly incorporating specific actions in every organizational initiative to ameliorate or address the effects of racism and the specific concerns and issues faced by women of color in our field.
We are currently undertaking three major initiatives that, regardless who wins in November, will improve the chances of women ascending to national security leadership positions in record numbers in 2021. In the planning and implementation of these initiatives, we will pay particular attention to addressing and including women of color and their concerns. If we see record numbers of women in senior leadership positions next year, but do not see representation that reflects the diversity of the United States, then national security policy will not be at its best and we will have failed.
Major LCWINS Initiatives in 2020:
- Drafting and disseminating best practices for Transition Team and Presidential Personnel leadership hiring processes
Certain process improvements by the teams who are making decisions regarding national security leadership will significantly impact the likelihood that the next administration will achieve gender parity. LCWINS is compiling resources to help Transition Teams and the next Administration's Presidential Personnel Office incorporate best practices into their processes, which include but are not limited to:
- Consider multiple diverse candidates per role, for every role;
- Ensure hiring teams are diverse, as we know that empowered diverse leaders begets diversity at all levels;
- Recruit beyond traditional networks; and
- Rethink criteria that disproportionately disadvantage or discourage diverse candidates.
- Some of these practices seem self-evident, but unless they are deliberately incorporated into recruitment, hiring and retention processes, it is too easy for personnel offices to fall back into exclusionary patterns for convenience or for the sake of benefitting campaign insiders and major donors.
Although LCWINS’ mission focuses specifically on gender diversity, we will ensure that all of our recommendations in this initiative speak to diversity in racial and ethnic terms as well, and specifically address the hiring of Black women and other women of color. We will be explicit in the expectation that efforts on behalf of diversity in national security appointments must include racial diversity; time and effort must be expended to consider the fair inclusion of Black women in the leadership hiring process.
- Populating a list of women well-qualified for senior national security leadership in the next administration
LCWINS is embarking on an exciting initiative to populate a database of 1000 women who are well-qualified to hold presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed national security leadership positions in the next administration, regardless of party, including those who have risen through the ranks of the Civil or Foreign service or the military. Throughout the construction of this database, we will do three things to help ensure that women of color, and specifically Black women, are well-represented in the database.
- We will partner with noted diversity affinity groups (e.g. Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security, Diversity in National Security Network) to ensure their membership and leadership are represented in our database;
- We will undertake concerted outreach to academics in relevant fields at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other institutions and organizations with concentrations of Black talent for these roles; and
- We will undertake consistent gap analysis as the database gets populated, to identify whether we are achieving our goal of including Black women and other women of color in numbers that reflect our nation’s diversity. As needed, we will undertake additional outreach to address identified gaps.
- Hosting a series of webinars on the political appointment process
Historically disadvantaged populations do not have access to much of the “inside baseball” that dominates the political appointments hiring process. LCWINS will be hosting a series of webinars to help demystify the process and democratize access to the information needed to successfully ascend to these coveted leadership positions. LCWINS makes the following commitments for its webinar series:
- Multiple black women will be represented in our webinar series;
- Women of color will be represented among the speakers for every webinar panel;
- Every webinar will expressly address questions of how the topic of the session intersects with race; and
- One webinar will focus in its entirety on race, racism, and the political appointments process.
There is, of course, more that we can do and will do to fulfil the imperative of building a diverse national security workforce that is fully inclusive of Black women and women of color. Contact LCWINS with ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org!