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16 February 2018

Strong feminism, activism and strategy: the new women on the medica mondiale Supervisory Board

Among the founder Monika Hauser’s wishes for medica mondiale were “quick decision-making processes and a strong controlling body”. So the women stepping into their roles as members of the newly established Supervisory Board definitely need the ability to be strict when needed as they monitor the organisation’s strategy and budget. After all, Beate Ziegler, Heidi Baumann and Heike Baur-Wagner have to “keep an eye on” the Executive Board. So what motivated the three women to take on this voluntary work?

“Our charitable association and our activities have grown significantly in the past ten years,” said Monika Hauser as she explained the history of the new additions to the organisational structure to the staff meeting. “What we need is a new, future-proof structure with quick decision-making processes and a strong controlling body”. Eighteen months ago the Ordinary Members Meeting had already agreed this approach and constituted a steering group to oversee the implementation of these needs. The first step was taken at the end of 2016 with the new Management role assignments. Then in October 2017 the association members agreed new statutes and the introduction of a full-time Executive Board as well as an external Advisory Board (to start in 2019) as well as the Supervisory Board.

Three women with strong hearts and minds

Emotions and rational thinking are both important in the role of the Supervisory Board. The three women appointed have strong hearts and minds to help them as they monitor the values, strategic orientation and budget of the organisation. “As an active feminist I followed and financially supported the founding and development of medica mondiale over the years, full of admiration. In 2011 I became an ordinary member of the association and then in the next year I was elected onto the Board. The intensity and solidarity I experienced in my work for the volunteer Board is something I want to help recreate in the new body – the Supervisory Board,” explains Heidi Baumann, a retired secondary school teacher.

Another loyal supporter who accepted the General Assembly’s invitation to join the Supervisory Board is Beate Ziegler, Office Manager at the German human rights NGO network Forum Menschenrechte. “I started working for medica mondiale in 2000 as the Politics and Human Rights Officer, but I had known the women’s rights organisation for a long time already. During the Bosnian War I had noticed how the NGO was finally breaking the taboos around topics such as sexualised wartime violence. The Supervisory Board role interests me because I hope it will offer me the chance to help ‘on the inside’ again and actively support the strategic developments.”

The controlling expert, coach and mindfulness trainer Heike Baur-Wagner may be new to the association, but she is already very passionate about its work: “I am both impressed and moved by the work of medica mondiale. As I got to know Monika Hauser and Sybille Fezer, their natural commitment and their tireless work for the benefit of women ‘captivated’ me. That encounter reinforced my decision to become more actively involved.”

The three women have already enthusiastically begun their work and are looking forward to the opportunities they will have to help. Sybille Fezer: “The new committees and organisational structure ensure our association will survive well into the future.”

Background: The most significant changes in the structure of medica mondiale

  • The Board changes from being volunteer-based to become an Executive Board. Its role is to guide the main office strategically and operationally. It has a duty to report to the women in the Supervisory Board.
  • The General Assembly of Members is the body responsible for the Statutes. From among the members, up to seven are elected into the Supervisory Board.
  • The Supervisory Board is the body responsible for monitoring the values and supervising the association. The women in the Supervisory Board inspect and officially accept the strategy decisions and budget.
  • The next addition to this new structure will be an external Advisory Board, that is planned to be constituted in 2019.

Updated organisation chart of medica mondiale e. V.