A panel pledge is an initiative to advance gender equity and foster greater diversity in all its forms on panels, at conferences, in forums and at other events. Research shows that nearly 70% of all event speakers are male, and the long-standing issue of lack of diversity on panels has faced growing attention and criticism over the past decade.  

CGIAR staff regularly contribute to internal and external conferences, join specialist working groups, deliver keynote speeches and participate in expert panels. When events lack gender balance and diversity, perspectives are biased, the quality of conversation limited, and some voices can be privileged over others.. 

By signing the CGIAR Gender equity, Diversity and Inclusion (GDI) Panel Pledge, CGIAR leadership and staff commit to only participating on panels that reflect a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, in line with the GDI Action Plan 2023-2024.

Number of individuals pledged as of 7 May 2024:

Our Signatories


We pledge to ensure that a diverse range of people from a variety of backgrounds, genders, age groups, cultures and abilities are given an opportunity to meaningfully contribute to public discussions and are evaluated fairly for speaking opportunities at conferences and other professional external and internal events.

When invited to speak at a professional event, individuals who sign the GDI Panel Pledge will:

  • Inform session organizers when you are invited that you are required to withdraw from all-male/all-female panels.1
  • Agree not to participate on all-male/ all-female panels of two or more people, not including the Chair or moderator.
  • Request confirmation from event organizers that the panel will not be an all-male/all-female panel before accepting the invitation, not including the Chair or moderator.
  • Request details regarding the efforts that have been made to ensure individuals from a variety of backgrounds, age groups, cultures and abilities have been approached to participate.
  • Agree not to participate in panels where no efforts have been made to ensure diverse representation.
  • Panels should also include an appropriate and adequate representation of the populations under discussion. For example, if discussing agriculture in Ethiopia the panel should consist of an expert from Ethiopia.

When organizing an internal professional event, individuals who sign the pledge will:

  • Strive to achieve gender balance among all speakers and panelists and ensure the event does not have all-male/all-female panels.
  • Consider all aspects of diversity for panelists and speakers. Seek opportunities to engage a diverse range of people from a variety of backgrounds, age groups, cultures and abilities.
  • Distribute topics so that the voices of women and other under-represented groups are heard on a range of issues across all aspects of the agenda. Actively break the mold by asking men to talk on topics such as gender equality which are typically offered to women, and ask women to speak on topics such as natural sciences, finance, etc.  Ask all speakers to address issues of gender and diversity in their presentations as much as possible or relevant.
  • Encourage diverse participation when taking questions from the audience.

1This pledge acknowledges that not all individuals fall within the categories of male and female, such as people with non-binary identities. In all cases, no individual will be asked to specify their gender identity.


Participants in the CGIAR Panel Pledge launch event shared their thoughts about the meaning of the pledge in a live visual poll. Here’s what they said:


CGIAR launched its Panel Pledge on March 8th, 2021 – International Women’s Day – committing CGIAR signatories to requesting diversity on panels and in other public discussions where they speak. Click on the link below to experience the event.



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