SARA TOTH – EDITOR
Pamela Bowers has spent more than 40 years working in personal performance and development, first in the corporate world and then the humanitarian and non-profit sector. She’s designed and run leadership and management programs all across the world, training thousands of humanitarian workers, and worked with more than 30 United Nations agencies.
Among that work is the International Diploma of Humanitarian Assistance, where in 1997, “we struggled to put two women into each group,” Bowers said. “That started to change in the early 2000s, when we’d struggle sometimes to place two men into a group of seven (trainees). The number of women coming through humanitarian work has been increasing astronomically.”
Bowers will give a lecture as part of the Chautauqua Women’s Club “Chautauqua Speaks” series at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10 on the CWC House Porch. Her talk is titled “Global Humanitarian Relief: The Positive Impact of Gender and Diversity Training.”
Now, women are approaching humanitarian work at all levels and from all fields, but they’re still not represented in the same numbers at the highest echelons of the organizations doing the work. For CWC, Bowers will be discussing the training programs she’s been involved in, and created, over the years — including her work at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society, where she was head of training and development from 1995 to 2004. More recently, as the managing director of her own consulting firm, Bowers has worked with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Economic Forum, the Zurich Assistance Alliance, RCRS Glow Red, and the World Trade Organization, among many others. From the largest humanitarian organizations to the smallest NGOs, Bowers has worked with them all — at every level.
“You’ve got women in the Red Cross who are ministers, doctors, surgeons, the volunteers at the very top, and their work is phenomenally important,” she said. “But then at the other end, you have women working for these organizations, on the ground, who are simply trying to feed their kids. It’s those women who inspire me.”
This is what “grounds us all,” Bowers said — across countries and economic statuses: The drive to provide and care for the next generation.
“That’s all any of us want,” she said. “Some of us get a better opportunity to do that than others, but when you see us all fighting for that, it gives me goosebumps.”