Democracy and participation, gender equality/diversity

The Binder shortlist


Who is behind this?

Scarlett Varga



Who is joining forces?

German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF)


European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)


Digital Leadership Institute (DLI)


plus 5 other partners: European Policy Centre (EPC), Friends of Europe, Save the Children, European Endowment for Democracy (EED), Carnegie Europe. So far this has been a discussion on a voluntary basis in an informal group of female staff, independent of their organizations. Now we would like see this initiative materialize in a sustainable way and widely supported at European level.

Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

It is well known that women are underrepresented in public debates with on average only 20% of speakers being women. This statistic is a key indicator of gender inequality. The Binder is the first pan-European cross-sector platform for women experts. Created by a group of women from leading EU think tanks, The Binder will increase female participation in professional circles and diversity in public debates. It’s game over for the #allmalepanel.

Where will your idea take place?

to be started in Brussels, the conference capital + all Europe

Why does Europe need your idea?

Despite some strides made in recent decades toward gender equality in Europe, progress has been slow in the professional domain. Senior female voices are few or unheard. Specifically, debates and conferences have a paucity of women speakers. Some have none, and most have a minority around the 20% mark which goes down to 10% for scientific panels, not to mention the low geographical diversity. This lack of visibility leads to loss of opportunities and amplifies the gender gap.

What is your impact?

The Binder aims to increase the ratio of women speaking in public debates by aggregating, in one single EU platform, qualified women speakers from different fields, regions, languages and races. This will augment the quality of European debates by bringing new voices in. While pointing out the lack of female representation in leading positions, The Binder will also campaign for change, empowering organisations from all around Europe to become partners (users and contributors).

How do you get there?

1. Build a database of female speakers from various backgrounds and levels of seniority. Starting from our partners' existing networks, we will effectively build a reliable list, to be gradually expanded with additional names suggested by peers and the wider community 2. Raise awareness before, during and after the launch of The Binder. Promote the platform through various channels: think tanks’ own events and networks (Bruegel alone runs more than 80 events/year), European institution and policy events, organisations dealing with social issues, radio and social media 3. Make female speakers themselves our ambassadors and therefore key partners in our project. We will appoint three (to start) top influential women from business, media and academia to endorse our efforts.

What is your story?


Who are you doing it for?

1. Highly skilled female experts whose voice deserves to be recognised the same way as their male counterparts 2. Users of the platform, who have been struggling to involve women in the debates they organise or attend, due to lack of information or lack of women speakers in leading positions 3. The overall community who will benefit from a broader diversity of viewpoints and new voices in debates on Europe’s future.

What makes your idea stand apart?

1. The Binder is a first-of-its-kind platform having both a European and cross-sector dimension, unlike other sectorial or national focused initiatives (e.g. HerSay, WILS database, The WomensRoom, etc). 2. It is the fruit of joint efforts of EU think tanks with the potential to bring together selected female experts across various policy sectors (trade, economics, foreign policy, energy, defence, democracy, EU affairs) and, thanks to their network, engage users and the overall community.

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 35000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Creation of the database and online platform costs- 14.500€; 3 events costs (related to travel and accommodation for speakers)- 12.000€; and promotional material costs (video, design, social media and online promotion)- 8.500€ Own contribution: staffs costs will be shouldered by the female staff, with no institutional support.

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

We welcome ideas on different channels to make our campaign and the usage of this tool impactful and influential: personal contacts, website, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter, etc.). We would welcome the support of partners and the wider public in sharing the existence of the Binder for its broad utilisation and for a constructive criticism. This will help to constantly develop and improve it.



Idea created on March 8, 2016
Last edit on Oct. 30, 2017

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