Why Should It Be Easy? Power and Complexity in Gender Lens Investing

“We need to put pressure on the systems to ask different questions,” says Joy Anderson, in a much-anticipated conversation I had with her recently about gender lens investing and its potential to move the needle on gender-based violence.

Joy Anderson, President and Founder of Criterion Institute (Photo Credit: Criterion Institute)

I’m particularly eager to see movement to end gender-based violence. As a therapist and social worker specializing in trauma, I have treated many people who were victims of physical, sexual, and emotional violence that related to their gender. Joy Anderson is just the expert I want to hear from: someone who can make the case that society can move in the direction of being healthier and more prosperous at the same time by employing gender lens investing techniques.

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Gates Fdn and India Ministry Sign MOC on Women, Maternal Health

New Delhi [India], Jan 8 (Asian News International): In a bid to improve the healthcare system of the country, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its ex-post-facto approval on the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between Union Health Ministry and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

Women and children receiving medical care in India (Credit: UN WOMEN on Flickr)

The Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) covers the following areas: to reduce maternal, neonatal and child morbidity and mortality, improve key nutrition outcomes by improving the reach, coverage and quality of essential primary health, immunization and nutrition services.

The memorandum will also focus on the quality of family planning methods and reaching out to younger women.

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Ascend Fund Launches with Millions for Women in U.S. Politics

Panorama Global Launches The Ascend Fund to Achieve Equal Representation for Women in U.S. Politics 

SEATTLE – Today, Panorama Global announced the formal launch of The Ascend Fund, a collaborative fund dedicated to accelerating the pace of change towards gender parity in U.S. politics. The Ascend Fund, pools philanthropic capital to support nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations that are working to ensure women have access to the resources and support they need to run for office, and that are breaking down the barriers that prevent women from running and winning. 

The Ascend Fund received seed funding from Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company founded by Melinda Gates, which seeks to advance social progress in the U.S. for women and families. As part of the strategy to accelerate women’s power and influence, Pivotal Ventures provides catalytic support for partners to create resilient and inclusive pathways for women pursuing public office.

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How Safe Conversations Contributes to Global Feminism

Editor’s Note: As a practicing therapist, a feminist, and a writer on philanthropy, I am intrigued and inspired by Safe Conversations. I frequently refer families to the method as a part of therapy and find it has significant impact. In this article, Helen LaKelly Hunt, founding donor to many of the country’s women’s funds, discusses how this method has the potential for global impact as a part of feminist thought and practice.

SAFE CONVERSATIONS®: CONTRIBUTING TO GLOBAL FEMINISM

By Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D. with the assistance of Mary Leah Friedline

I: Safe Conversations and Its Potential Relationship to Global Feminism 

Safe Conversations is a dialogue process that helps people learn a new way to talk. The relational sciences are teachable for first time in history due to the breakthroughs in the neurosciences in 1990’s. Safe Conversations helps people maintain connection while accepting difference. With this new development comes the promise of helping people build healthier connections and lasting relationships with spouses, partners, friends, and colleagues, among others. Safe Conversations is well poised to contribute to global feminism.  

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Own Your Power: Elizabeth Yntema on Gender Equality in Dance

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Elizabeth Yntema, president and founder of the Dance Data Project (DDP), which promotes “equity in all aspects of classical ballet by providing a metrics-based analysis through our database while showcasing women-led companies, festivals, competitions, venues, special programs and initiatives.” 

Elizabeth Yntema, president and founder of the Dance Data Project (courtesy: Elizabeth Yntema)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had had a female mentor, and she had reassured me that success isn’t defined by a linear path. I have been a corporate attorney, a lobbyist, worked as the Director of Governmental Affairs of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, was employed part-time as a consultant, opened an art gallery and, with three small children, focused on volunteering for a time. Now, I use every single one of my experiences and skills acquired over the decades. 

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Plan Probes Adolescent Thought and Behavior Re: Gender Equality


Plan International USA—an independent development and humanitarian organization advancing children’s rights and equality for girls—has published an incisive report on American adolescents and gender equality.

Plan USA commissioned the research and communications firm PerryUndem to complete the study, which drew on data from roughly 1,000 interviews conducted nationwide with girls and boys ages 10-19. The results provide a snapshot on gender equity as seen by the next generation of Americans, and can be used by funders and non-profits to better define gender issues facing young people, and provide focus for programs to improve gender equity.

Plan International USA’s report helps to identify key attitudes and experiences of teenagers in the U.S., particularly around issues like sexual harassment, physical appearance, and media representation of girls. (Image Credit: Plan International USA)

Plan’s “The State of Gender Equality for U.S. Adolescents” is part of its “Plan4Girls” initiative, and surveys girls and boys on their attitudes and experience around topics including physical appearance, career aspirations, sexual harassment, gender equity, differing societal expectations based on gender, and media representations of girls. According to Plan USA, “The goal of the research is to provide a resource for policymakers, media, and others who want to understand how children are internalizing inequality and how their views may take shape.” The full 134-page report was released in September 2018; a 14-page Executive Summary is also available.

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How A New California Law is Getting More Women on Boards

(Source: CalMatters.org) For 46 publicly held companies in California with all-male boards, the clock is ticking.

The corporations, including pharmaceutical, financial and software companies that tend to be on the smaller, younger side, have only until revelers ring in 2020 to name a woman to their boards of directors or face a $100,000 penalty. 

A bill signed into law by former Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2018 required public companies with headquarters in California to name at least one female director by the end of 2019.  The law further mandates that companies with five-member boards have at least two female directors by the end of 2021; corporations with six or more directors need at least three women. The penalties for failing to comply rise accordingly. 

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Better Relationships for a Healthier Future: Safe Conversations in Action

As members of the feminist philanthropy community, we are always searching for ways to improve our communications skills, foster real connections, and create healthy partnerships. The good news is that our minds and emotions continue to evolve with time — better relationship skills can be taught and learned at any age. And with the advent of technology, from anywhere!

Register today for the webinar Safe Conversations in Action, held at 11:00 AM PT (2:00 PM ET) on January 16, 2020.

On January 16, 2020, Helen LaKelly Hunt, Harville Hendrix, and Riane Eisler join forces again to present Safe Conversations in Action, the second part of their webinar series on cultivating healthy relationships.

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Game Developers Celebrate Access, Diversity at PAX Unplugged

From December 6 to December 8, 2019, developers, funders, and fans alike flocked to the convention center in Philadelphia, PA for three days of dice rolls, panel discussions, and high-octane fun.

Philadelphia, PA – Attendees walk into the Expo Hall on the first day of PAX Unplugged. (December 6, 2019 – Photo Credit: Maggie May)

PAX Unplugged is the analog gaming edition of the Penny Arcade Expo series. “PAX” refers to a collection of games conventions founded by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, authors of the popular web comic Penny Arcade. Held each year in Seattle, Boston, Melbourne, Philadelphia, and San Antonio, these conventions are an opportunity for celebration, new releases, demonstrations, and discussion surrounding the rapidly evolving world of gaming.

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Announcing the 2020 Philanthropy Women Leadership Awards

We have come full circle on one of the most astonishing years for women’s philanthropy in human history. And yet, as we all know, there is still so far to go. As part of that process of moving forward for gender equality, it gives me great pleasure to announce this year’s Philanthropy Women Leadership Awards.

This year we decided to do something different and opened up 6 of the 10 awards to community voting. We had 689 respondents to our voting survey, and the results confirmed the growing interest in and competitive landscape of women’s giving and social movement-building for gender equality.

With the final four awards this year, we decided to open up some new categories, not necessarily based on Philanthropy Women’s coverage, in order to recognize groundbreaking women journalists and filmmakers contributing to gender equality movements. Oftentimes, this kind of media work is very philanthropic in nature, as women journalists and filmmakers often give of their own time and resources for years and years (sometimes decades!) in order to educate the public on critical issues.

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