Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Policy


The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (the Foundation) values an inclusive culture which helps each of us to benefit from a wider range of different perspectives, experiences, and skills. We believe that this creates a happier, safer, and more productive working environment for us all. 

We recognise that identity is complex and for the Foundation to remain relevant and fully realise our ambitions, we must commit to understanding how power and privilege plays out in our work.  We commit to strategically, and practically, examining our work and how we can dismantle behaviours that can cause harm.  

1. To support this inclusive culture, this policy:

 Outlines our commitment throughout the employment lifecycle to equity, diversity and inclusion and sets out how we put this commitment into practice 

Explains the behaviours we expect of our people in support of this commitment 

Sets out the key steps we take to make our culture as inclusive as possible, including our diversity and inclusion framework and how we ensure equality of opportunity throughout the employment lifecycle. 

This policy does not form part of your contract of employment, and we reserve the right to make amendments which reflect the dynamic and evolving understanding of what equity diversity and inclusion mean at work.  

The Foundation will not discriminate against its staff, volunteers, visitors, clients, stakeholders, or partners on the grounds of their gender, sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability or age, pregnancy, maternity leave or trade union membership or the fact that they work part-time or on a fixed-term contract. We acknowledge that many of our people will possess multiple identities and that taking an intersectional lens to our work is pivotal in creating a safe psychological environment for all. 

Staff and applicants for employment shall not be disadvantaged by any policies or conditions of service which cannot be justified as necessary for operational purposes.  

2. Scope 

This policy applies to anyone working for us, whether permanent, temporary, casual, part-time or on fixed-term contracts. This includes employees, workers, contractors, volunteers, interns, and apprentices. The policy also relates to job applicants and candidates and is relevant to all stages of the employment relationship. 

This policy accompanies our Bullying and Harassment Policy, our Safeguarding Policy, and our Staff and Non-Staff Codes of Conduct. If there are any concerns or issues you would like to raise with us, please do not hesitate to refer to our Reporting Concerns Policy 

3. Our commitment to you 

We believe that a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion not only benefits our organisation but supports our collective wellbeing. And enables our people to work better because they can be themselves, show up authentically at work, and feel that they belong. 

We are committed to promoting a working environment based on dignity, trust, and respect, and one that is free from discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation. 

This approach to inclusion covers all aspects of our work from recruitment and selection right through to performance management and learning and development opportunities. 

4. Responsibilities 

We expect you, and every one of our people, to take personal responsibility for observing, upholding, promoting, and applying this policy. Our culture is made in the day-to-day working interactions between us so creating the right environment is a responsibility that we all share. 

Cultivating this culture does not happen by accident but requires ongoing commitment and nurturing. The Foundation will support this ongoing commitment by offering opportunities for awareness raising and learning on a cyclical basis.  

All staff have a duty to act in accordance with this policy, and therefore always to treat colleagues with dignity and not to discriminate against or harass other members of staff, whether junior or senior to them. In some situations, the Foundation may be at risk of being held responsible for the acts of individual members of staff and will not therefore tolerate any discriminatory practices or behaviour.  

The CEO has overall responsibility for the effective operation of the Foundation’s EDI policy and for ensuring compliance with the relevant statutory framework prohibiting discrimination.  

Those working at line management level have a specific responsibility to set an appropriate standard of behaviour, to lead by example and to ensure that they and those they manage adhere to this policy. 

If any of our people is found to have committed, authorised, or condoned an act of discrimination, harassment, victimisation, or bullying, we will take action against them including (for those to whom it applies) under our Disciplinary procedure. 

You should be aware that you can be personally liable for discrimination and harassment 

5. What is defined as discrimination 

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination because of specific protected characteristics. These are: 

  • Disability 
  • Sex 
  • Gender reassignment 
  • Marital or civil partnership status 
  • Race 
  • Religion or belief 
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Age 
  • Pregnancy or maternity 

Discrimination can be intentional or unintentional and may occur directly, indirectly, by association, or by perception (see Different types of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010). 

Discrimination is not always obvious and can be subtle and unconscious. This stems from a person’s general assumptions about the abilities, interests and characteristics of a particular group that influences how they treat those people (known as “unconscious bias”). Such assumptions or prejudices may cause them to apply requirements or conditions that put those in particular groups at a disadvantage 

6. Different types of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 

Discrimination may be direct or indirect and it may occur intentionally or unintentionally 

  • Direct discrimination: Treating someone less favourably because of a protected characteristic compared with someone who does not have that characteristic (for example choosing not to recruit someone because they are disabled, and you think they “wouldn’t fit in” to the team).
  • Indirect discrimination: Where a policy, procedure, or way of working that applies to everyone puts people with a particular protected characteristic at a disadvantage, compared with people who do not have that characteristic, unless there is a good reason to justify it. An example is introducing a requirement for all staff to finish work at 6pm. It is arguable that female employees, who statistically bear the larger share of childcare responsibilities could be at a disadvantage if the new working hours prevent them from collecting their children from school or nursery.
  • Associative discrimination: Treating someone less favourably because they are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic, for example because their partner is transgender.
  • Discrimination by perception: Treating someone less favourably because you perceive them to have a protected characteristic even if they do not, for example choosing not to promote someone because you mistakenly perceive them to be gay.
  • Discrimination arising from disability: Treating someone unfavourably because of something connected with that person’s disability and where such treatment is not justified. Examples include:
    • Dismissing or failing to pay a bonus to someone because of their disability-related absence; or 
    • Disciplining someone for losing their temper where such loss of temper was out of character and was due to severe pain caused by them having cancer.
    • Failing to make reasonable adjustments: Employers are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that aspects of employment, or the employer’s premises, do not put a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage.

Failing to comply with this duty is unlawful. Examples of reasonable adjustments might include:

  • Allocating some of the disabled person’s duties to a colleague 
  • Changing their working hours or place of work 
  • Adjusting procedures for assessing job candidates; and 
  • Modifying disciplinary and grievance procedures. 

Discrimination also includes victimisation and harassment. Please refer to the individual policies if you feel you have experienced any of these issues.  

7. Disability Discrimination 

If you are disabled, or become disabled during your employment with the Foundation, you are encouraged to tell us about your condition.  This is to enable us to support you as much as possible.  You may also wish to advise your line manager of any reasonable adjustments to your working conditions or the duties of your job which you consider to be necessary. However, please note that you do not have to disclose any impairment.

Careful consideration will be given to any such proposals, and they will be accommodated where possible and proportionate to the needs of your job.  Nevertheless, there may be circumstances where it will not be reasonable for us to accommodate the suggested adjustments and the CEO will provide you with information based on our decision not to make any adjustments. 

We understand that some people find it hard to discuss their impairment(s)  and that disability can be invisible and dynamic. 

Psychological safety, where people feel able to speak up about their experiences without fear of negative consequences, is paramount to ensuring disability inclusion. 

However, this is only possible if we treat people with dignity, trust and respect and we expect everyone to uphold these values. 

We do not tolerate ableist language in our organisation. Ableist language is language that is negative, inappropriate, outdated, or offensive towards disabled people and may take the form of jokes or “banter”. If you adopt such language, we will take action against you including (for those to whom it applies) under our Disciplinary procedure. 

8. Training 

If you are involved with making decisions about a person’s employment, you must attend appropriate equity, diversity, and inclusion training. 

All new starters must attend equity, diversity, and inclusion training as part of their onboarding programme. 

Every current employee must attend regular equity, diversity, and inclusion training on at least an annual basis which will support our continued understanding and commitment to an equitable, intersectional, and people focussed environment. 

We expect all our people to proactively support our equality, diversity, and inclusion initiatives by attending events and workshops organised by the Corporate Services department to educate themselves on the challenges faced by others and how to help alleviate these in the workplace. 

9. Breaches of the policy 

If you believe that you may have been disadvantaged on any of the unlawful grounds listed in this policy, you are encouraged to raise the matter through the Foundation’s grievance procedure.  If you believe that you may have been harassed on any of the unlawful grounds listed in this policy, you are encouraged to raise the matter through our anti-harassment policy. Allegations regarding potential breaches of this policy will be treated in confidence and investigated in accordance with the relevant policy. Staff who make such allegations in good faith will not be victimised or treated less favourably. False allegations of a breach in this policy which are found to have been made maliciously will be dealt with under our disciplinary procedure. 

If, after investigation, you are proven to have harassed any other staff on the grounds of sex, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, race, disability, or age or otherwise act in breach of this policy, you will be subject to disciplinary action as set out in the Foundation’s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. In serious cases, such behaviour may constitute gross misconduct and may result in summary dismissal. The Foundation will always take a strict approach to any breaches of this policy. 

Contact us

If you have any queries about our EDI policy or want to raise a concern, please email enquiries@cherieblairfoundation.org.

About the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women exists to create a future where women everywhere enjoy equal economic opportunities so they can thrive. Together with partners around the world, we work with women in low and middle income countries so they can start, sustain, and grow successful enterprises. We collaborate to create fairer business environments so women are not constrained by gendered barriers and can reach their potential on their terms. 

Since 2008, our training and mentoring services have supported more than 230,000 women to build successful micro, small and medium enterprises in over 100 countries. By blending insights from research, strong partnerships, and pioneering technology we open doors for women entrepreneurs to skills, confidence, networks, finance, and markets. We press for change to stop millions of women being held back from having the choice and opportunity to thrive. 

Our gender transformative approach means women can achieve their own economic objectives. They create a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. They contribute to thriving, fair economies, and global economic justice.