Editor’s Note: The following interview is with Melissa Jenkins Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist and clinical assistant professor at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
How would you describe RI’s response to the crisis?
Rhode Islanders are amazingly interconnected. Even when we can’t be physically close to one another, I see all of my neighbors and friends reaching out to donate whatever assets and unique talents they have to help neighbors get through this crisis. We have incredible leadership in this fight. Right now, in living rooms across Rhode Island, little girls are setting up pretend podiums to play ‘Giving the Daily Briefing’, and they’re all saying the same thing. “Knock It Off.”
One small piece of good news about the COVID crisis is that there seems to be more awareness than ever about its gendered impacts. This piece in the New York Times, for example, discusses how women make up the majority of health care workers, and how, on top of that, they are more likely to take on the caregiving of sick people in their own families, and the care of children.
There are lots of things we can do to mitigate these impacts, but it will take conscious effort to resist the pull toward harmful gender norms. More than ever, we need to defend women’s rightful place in leadership and decision-making to end the COVID crisis. Think about it: if we had more women’s leadership at the table right now, say, for example, if Hillary Clinton had become President, we might be taking a much different approach to addressing this crisis, one that recognizes the validity of science and the need for preventative measures in health care.
Coverage of COVID-19 first focused on Asia, then Europe, and now increasingly North America. The virus, however, is global, and while there have been relatively few cases reported in Africa, the numbers are increasing, as is awareness about how to combat COVID-19.
As is the case everywhere, education and preparedness are essential in blunting the effects of the novel Coronavirus. The Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP), an Oak Park, Illinois-headquartered non-profit, has been helping educate girls in Africa since 2004. It has worked with grassroots leaders in Kenya and Senegal to co-design programs that have impacted thousands of girls and women in poor communities with low levels of school enrollment and literacy. With the new challenge of COVID-19 afoot, Harriet Spears, WGEP Strategic Partnerships and Communications Manager, has shared stories with PW about how WGEP teams in Kenya and Senegal are working with local communities on reducing virus transmission.
Philadelphia’s Leeway Foundation recently announced the next step in the application process for their annual Art and Change Grants and Transformation Awards.
From 4:00 to 5:00 PM ET on Thursday, April 2nd, Program Director Melissa Hamilton will hold a virtual information session via Facebook Live. The session will cover the Foundation’s mission and available grants–most importantly, the session offers interested artists the opportunity to ask questions about the application process for the Leeway Transformation Award, which closes its application window on May 15th.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Riki Wilchins, executive director of the nonprofit TrueChild and author of, “Gender Norms & Intersectionality: Connecting Race, Class and Gender.”
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I wish I’d realized how difficult and slow social change is. I think when you’re younger, you’re a bit more optimistic. But, any kind of real change takes years, maybe decades, of constant effort and attention.
What is your current greatest professional challenge?
Our goal is getting people to think intersectionally, so they connect race, class and gender norms. The challenge is two-fold: most organizations don’t know how to talk about gender norms, or if they do, they disconnect it from factors like race and class.
In this global Pandemic time, philanthropic resources are stretching to a maximum. As well, our vision of what is philanthropic is also expanding. For the many of us who are tech savvy and broadband accessible, while we are isolated in our homes, our intercommunications online have tripled and quadrupled. Virtual meetings and presentations abound. We are tackling service in entirely new ways and through newly chartered venues.
The independent film community is rallying around extending ways it can serve both its filmmakers and audiences – all while shut in at home. The Art House Convergence community listserv initiated a discussion early on and set some guidelines about safety as the coronavirus started to spread in the United States. Two days before SXSW cancelled, members of AHC pondered “when and if” questions. Then, one by one, art house movie theatres posted their closing statements, and a discussion emerged on what message to place on the empty marquees.
As we head into the deepening crisis of COVID-19, now is the time for women funders and their allies to gather and strategize. This Thursday, April 2nd at 8amPT/11am ET. Please RSVP hereand they will send you a link to join the webinar. Below is the invitation in full from Ammarah Maqsood, Development Officer for Global Fund for Women:
As most of us are watching the news and learning about the impact of COVID-19 here in the states, at Global Fund for Women, we are hearing from the women around the world about their creative solutions and pressing needs caused by the pandemic crisis.
Where water isn’t readily available in homes, women have created inventive hand washing stations. In refugee camps in the Middle East, women are finding inventive ways to use WhatsApp and keep young kids learning.
TORONTO, March 23, 2020 – As the world faces the worst health crisis of a generation, Plan International Canada is extremely concerned about vulnerable populations around the world – particularly children. Plan International Canada welcome’s the Government of Canada’s recent funding announcement to support humanitarian actors responding to COVID-19 and calls on governments and all responders to consider the unique needs of children, especially girls.
Disease outbreaks affect girls and boys, women and men differently. Policies and interventions must be equitable, protective of human rights, inclusive of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society, and responsive to the different needs and risks faced by individuals. It is especially important to apply a gender lens at all times across all actions. Girls, especially those from marginalized communities and with disabilities, may be particularly affected by the secondary impacts of the outbreak due to their age, gender and other exclusion factors.
(March 26, 2020) The New York Women’s Foundation is launching the 2020 Resilience-NYC: COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to provide organizations funding to solve critical issues facing vulnerable and marginalized communities in New York City
NEW YORK, March 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The New York Women’s Foundation (The Foundation) announced the launch of 2020 Resilience-NYC: COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, providing $1,000,000 in grants to organizations helping women, transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary (TGNCNB) individuals, and their families most impacted by COVID-19. Marginalized populations are among the most vulnerable during times of crisis, along with the local organizations that know how to best support them. The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund will provide vital resources to organizations on the front lines for some of the hardest hit communities to address immediate and long-term needs.
Lesbians Who Tech & Allies Announce: Your (Not IRL) Squad Series
(March 25, 2020) — Lesbians Who Tech & Allies announces its “ (Not IRL) Squad Series,” bringing its community the content it loves in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The Squad Series will bring together Lesbians Who Tech & Allies’ favorite speakers for intimate conversations, workshops and sessions focused on technology trends, career growth, and personal wellness. This comes weeks after Lesbians Who Tech & Allies made the difficult decision to postpone its flagship San Francisco Summit.
“It’s important that LGBTQ people have a direct connection to the larger queer community, and we are helping make that happen with our Squad Series. It’s never been more vital,” said Leanne Pittsford, Founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech & Allies. “We made the difficult decision to postpone our San Francisco Summit and immediately got to work on how we can bring our community the programming and connection they need right now in this difficult time.”