Who are we ?

Our Story and Purpose

Are you tired of manels? Are you sick of the lack of diversity in the Brussels debate? So are we. That's why we created The Brussels Binder – a free database consisting of profiles of diverse women experts based in Europe. Dive into our ever-expanding database spanning diverse sectors. Connect, collaborate, and help us make sure that everyone in our debates by using our expert database.

The go-to resource for improving gender balance in policy debates

Get ready to revolutionise policy debates in Brussels and beyond! At The Brussels Binder, we're on a mission to amplify gender diversity in the conversations shaping European policies. We believe that fresh perspectives lead to better policies, reflecting the societies they impact. That's why we're making sure that diverse perspectives in our debates. Join us in shaping a future where everyone's perspective is included – The Brussels Binder is your ultimate resource..

The project

Our story began in 2015 as an informal network of women from Brussels based think tanks who came together from time to time on topics of common interest. Out of these meetings grew the idea to build a database of women policy experts to provide a practical tool to ensure greater participation of women in policy shaping and debating. That small consortium rapidly grew to include representatives from all major policy think tanks and NGO’s in Brussels and received support from other institutions, including the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Commission and NATO, as well as corporate partners such as Rtesian and Google. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, the Brussels Binder was officially launched in 2017. It is now an ASBL under Belgian law and is led by our Board and a large group of dedicated volunteers. You can read more about our story in our manual In the Making: Sharing the Experiences of Making Women Visible.

Why The Brussels Binder?

As Europe is faced with demanding challenges and big decisions, Brussels acts as a middle point where experts converge to inform and engage politicians, journalists, activists, consultants and bureaucrats on a wide range of political issues. Policies are debated at conferences that set the agenda for Europe’s future and draw attention from across the EU. The topics discussed are varied, but unfortunately the people debating them are not. Often, they are mostly male, and sometimes there is not a single woman included in the conversation. According to the studies performed in the past years, only one-third of speakers at Brussels events were women. In two thirds of debates, the majority of speakers have been male and there have been twice as many all-male panels as equal panels. The Brussels Binder believes that unwillingness or inability to look beyond the ‘usual suspects’ to speak should not be the norm. Europe desperately needs intellectual diversity, and the key factor is including women experts that could contribute in bringing innovative ideas to tackle policy challenges.

Expanding our focus: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Today, gender is not the only facet of diversity missing in EU policy debates, as was very aptly highlighted by the #BrusselsSoWhite movement that denounced the lack of racial diversity in EU institutions. For this reason, The Brussels Binder has recognised the need to fight for other forms of diversity, expanding its focus from gender equality to gender and diversity, including, but not limited to gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, ability, and socio-economic background - and works towards ensuring Brussels events are truly diverse and inclusive.

The team

A network of Brussels-based women policy experts created the Binder. That means there is a strong support system for the project and that it was built by a committed group who believe in the benefits it will bring. This belief has brought together women whose expertise and skills stretch across different fields, and who bring together diverse experiences and backgrounds. The Brussels Binder network is made up of a Steering Committee (i.e. team leaders), a core group (i.e. team members) and a larger group of volunteers (i.e. ad hoc support). The different teams include: secretary, treasurer, corporate partnerships, institutional partnerships, website and database content, legal issues, online community management, events, and general communications strategy.