Gender Equity and Social Inclusion

To support all young people throughout the world in realizing the future they want, IYF is committed to advancing social inclusion. We break down barriers limiting a young person's chances to thrive and work to drive equal access and equal outcomes.

IYF takes concrete measures to counteract youth marginalization, because it threatens individuals' personal agency, economic opportunity, power to make their voices heard, and ability to participate fully in society. 

For young people to benefit fully from our interventions, IYF programming considers all types of exclusion, including based on gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, disability, and religion.

We also recognize the intersectionality that exists for people within many marginalized communities. While we've learned valuable best practices from our three decades of youth development work, our approach and initiatives treat all young participants as individuals with specific experiences, challenges, skills, and potential.

For more detail, read our full Gender Equity and Social Inclusion Policy. That document links to and reinforces our child protection, anti-harassment, and anti-discrimination policies, each of which can be found in IYF's Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy.


"Youth are not a homogenous group, and every single young person deserves opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive. IYF prioritizes diverse voices and social inclusion to ensure they can realize their potential, which in turn makes the world a more just and equitable place for all of us."

- Susan Reichle, IYF President & CEO


IYF's grounding principles drive change in social inclusion.

When drafting our 2025 strategy, we identified 6 grounding principles that work together to allow us to drive change for young people, communities, and partners. Here's how these principles tie into our Gender and Social Inclusion policy:

  1. Positive youth development (PYD): In everything we do, we engage young people as partners—along with their families, communities, and/or governments. PYD approaches build skills, assets, and competencies; foster healthy relationships; strengthen the environment around young people; and transform systems. IYF believes that achieving lost-lasting social inclusion outcomes requires addressing all four of those domains.
  2. Evidence-based learning: IYF is committed to using evidence and knowledge to inform programs and achieve results that improve the lives of all young people. Institutional data collection and disaggregation requirements allow us to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of our programs for distinct populations.
  3. Social inclusion: We push to address the needs of all young people throughout our initiatives. Our Gender and Social Inclusion policy operationalizes this third grounding principle.
  4. Local ownership: While well versed in global best practices, IYF doesn't presume that an approach that has succeeded in one place will work in another. Our Gender and Social Inclusion policy prioritizes the expertise of local partners and local IYF staff in contextualizing GESI to make sure IYF programs do no harm in the pursuit of more equitable outcomes.
  5. Partnership: Working in collaboration with corporations, employers, governments, young people, and other stakeholders allows IYF to serve as a catalyst and convener and creates the best solutions to specific challenges. The implementation of this GESI policy happens with and through global and local partners who are best equipped to identify and address barriers in context.
  6. Ecosystems: IYF creates greater systemic change impacting youth at scale and enables young people to influence the systems around them. We recognize that changes in social inclusion require addressing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors at individual and systemic levels.


Transforming lives, together—our mission for 30 years—requires experience, local insight, and trusted partnerships. IYF initiatives can feature social inclusion analyses, including on gender, to understand how young people are participating in society. All implementing partners, sub-grantees, and sub-contractors maintain and enforce—or work with us to create and implement—safety, child protection, anti-harassment and anti-discrimination, human trafficking, and code of ethics policies.

IYF work at three levels to advance social inclusion in our work with young people globally:

  1. Equal access means all young people have the same opportunity to participate in IYF projects and are protected against unintentional negative impacts. Informed by social inclusion analyses, we design projects to amplify opportunities and mitigate risks. Additional supports young people receive can include stipends to offset lost income; trainings at multiple times of day, including outside typical work hours; and childcare for participating young parents.
  2. Equal outcomes ensure that all young participants see similar results, such as income gains or employment placement rates. Projects designed for equal outcomes direct resources to young people who may need additional support in order to achieve an outcome similar to another participant.
  3. Transformed environments feature improved equity and inclusion in the broader context. Local team members and partners, working with IYF's Baltimore team, determine the degree to which projects can challenge existing laws, rules, regulations, norms, customs, beliefs, and practices. We know that opportunities for transformation present themselves differently in different contexts. Inclusion efforts vary across contexts, but ultimately we are committed to doing no harm and ensuring all individuals are treated with dignity and respect. 


IYF requires all staff complete basic training on gender equity and social inclusion, and most team members complete additional specialized training based on their role and programmatic focus. To look at how we as an organization and employer ensure an inclusive culture, environment, and operating policies and practices, IYF has created a Diversity and Inclusion Council. Learn more about how that group, made up of staff from our Baltimore headquarters and representatives from each of our local offices, is working to continually serve young people effectively and to enrich how we work.

To learn more about GESI at IYF, please contact Pia Saunders Campbell, Director, Assets, Strategy & Knowledge, [email protected].