What’s In America’s First-Ever Strategy on Gender Equality?

It’s finally happening: America is charting its course as a nation to remedy our problems with gender equity and equality. What is contained in the momentous document, and how will it affect funding for gender issues?

The Biden-Harris administration’s Gender Policy Council recently released the country’s first National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality. (Image credit: White House Report)

The President and Vice President begin the document by locating the issue in our current context of heightened stakes for women and girls in the US and across the globe:

This document, the first-ever United States government strategy on gender equity and equality, is a part of that noble American tradition [of valuing equality]. It comes at an inflection point for the economic security, safety, health, and well-being of women and girls in our nation and around the globe. COVID-19 has exacerbated preexisting economic, health, and caregiving crises that disproportionately impacted women and girls long before the pandemic struck. Following the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, women’s participation in the American labor force plummeted to its lowest level in over 30 years. Rates of gender-based violence have risen significantly, and racial and ethnic inequity has deepened.

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Awakening: The Power of #MeToo to Make the Personal Political

Editor’s Note: The following essay by Dr. Susan M. Blaustein, Founder and Executive Director, WomenStrong International, discusses the transformational potential of #MeToo to empower change locally and globally.

In their remarkable new book Awakening about the global #MeToo movement, feminist scholars Rachel Vogelstein and Meighan Stone have shined a light on the courage, creativity, and resilience of women all over the world who have alchemized their pain as survivors of sexual violence into fierce, undaunted activism. 

#meToo
Awakening by Rachel Vogelstein and Meighan Stone explores the way #MeToo is connecting women across the globe. (Image credit: PublicAffairs on Instagram)

These brave women, from Brazil to Tunisia to Nigeria to Sweden and myriad places in between, have harnessed available digital technologies to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault, connect with other women, sound the alarm loudly, and press for change. They’re fighting not only for victims’ safety in reporting these crimes and accountability for their perpetrators; enraged and emboldened, they’re aiming to institutionalize legal protections and disrupt the prevailing cultural and religious moraes that have long sanctioned violence against women in the first place.

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Domestic Violence Needs to Be Everybody’s Business

Editor’s Note: The following commentary on domestic violence is by Debbie I. Chang, MPH, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation.

domestic violence
Debbie I. Chang, MPH, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. (Image credit: Debbie I. Change)

Throughout a career advocating for the health and well-being of children and families, I thought I knew a lot about domestic violence and its impact. I knew that trauma, including exposure to domestic violence in childhood, has a deep and lasting effect on health. Like many people, I thought what happened in people’s homes was a private matter. In fact, some would narrowly say, “It’s not my business.” 

Now I know domestic violence is all of our business. It is truly a public matter. And it is preventable.

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The Ascend Fund Grants $600 K for Electing Women in States

Pilot to accelerate gender parity in politics launched in Michigan, Mississippi, and Washington

(Image Credit: The Ascend Fund)

 Today, The Ascend Fund, a collaborative fund dedicated to accelerating the pace of change toward gender parity in U.S. politics, announced $600,000 in grant awards to 13 nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations in Michigan, Mississippi, and Washington as part of a pilot project designed to increase the number of diverse women serving in state legislatures.  

“Recent debates in state legislatures over abortion, voting rights, and other critical issues illustrate the increasing power of state lawmakers in politics. We want to ensure that everyone affected has a seat at the table in crafting such foundational bills,” said Abbie Hodgson, Director of The Ascend Fund.   

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She Power: $1 M Plus Raised By TXWF from Annual Luncheon

Texas Women’s Foundation, a powerhouse for women and girls in Texas, raised more than $1 million at their 36th Annual Luncheon

Guest speakers Cleo Wade and Angie Thomas discussed the power of women and girls finding their voices with moderator Laysha Ward, Target executive vice president and chief external engagement officer. (Image credit: TXWF)

Across Texas, groups convened to watch in livestream mini-parties, including 96 students and teachers from Brookhaven College, as the Texas Women’s Foundation held its Annual Luncheon online. Presented by the Dallas Mavericks, the event raised more than $1 million and had a total audience of over 4,000.

The event, entitled My Voice. My Story. Every Woman’s Power to Build Compassion and Community, brought together leaders across society to talk about the value of increasing the wellbeing of women and girls in Texas and beyond.

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How the Fifteen Percent Pledge is Powering Black-Owned Business

How The Fifteen Percent Pledge is Pushing for Better Diversity on Store Shelves

Following the horrific murder of George Floyd, Canadian-born director, activist, and fashion designer Aurora James decided she needed to do something to make a difference. Act after act of police brutality with little to no repercussions for the perpetrators left the Black community in a state of perpetual fear and disgust. George Floyd’s death on May 20, 2020 also came at the same time as the height of the pandemic, which disproportionately affected Black businesses.

The Fifteen Percent Pledge’s Executive Director, LaToya Williams-Belfort (Image credit: LaToya Williams-Belfort)

James’s response was to found the Fifteen Percent Pledge, which has since gone on to bring on board over two dozen major corporations. According to James’s website, the impact of the Fifteen Percent Pledge has been significant, “effectively diverting over $5B in capital to Black entrepreneurs in the United States” within the first year.

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The Tech Accelerator Aiming to Address the Climate Emergency

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving In Real Life series features Elodie Read, Program and Community Partnerships Lead at Subak, the first global non-profit tech accelerator dedicated to combatting the climate emergency. 

elodie read
Elodie Read, courtesy of Elodie Read

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

I’m pretty early on in my career so this is quite a tricky question to answer. At university and grad school, everyone is full of conviction, zeal and a healthy dose of naivety about how the world is and how it should be. When you start working, it can be easy to get bogged down in reality, but I think it’s important to remember why we got into this kind of work and to keep working with our values and goals at the front of our minds.

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Women-Led Synergy for Justice Advances Accountability for Syria

Work being done abroad by Synergy for Justice and its executive director Christy Fujio is enhancing justice and accountability for sexual violence and torture. 

Christy Fujio ( Image Credit: Synergy for Justice)

The conflict in Syria has been going on for roughly ten years now, with little sign of it ceasing. American media coverage has more or less moved on from shedding any light on the topic. Although the general populace has moved on, certain organizations and individuals remain hyper focused on what they can do to help ensure that survivors are supported and justice is achieved.

Synergy for Justice is one such organization. For more than six years, the organization has been working with local partners and lending a hand to the crisis. At the height of the violence, torture and detention in 2015, the organization was founded by Christy Fujio, Dr. Ingrid Elliott and Dr. Coleen Kivlahan. 

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Plan Report: Girls Fear For Safety from Misinformation Online

As our young women come up in the world, they face a deluge of information online, much of which is contributing to their sense of safety, or lack thereof. A new report from Plan International helps to break down the ways that online disinformation is impacting the lives of girls ages 15 to 24 around the world.

The Truth Gap, a new report from Plan International, helps identify the ways that young women and girls are being impacted by online disinformation. (Image credit: Plan International)

The report, The Truth Gap, helps to explain how girls and young women in 33 countries are experiencing information they find online. The report discovered that one in five girls (20%) feels unsafe due to false information that comes from the internet.

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Tyeshia Wilson: A Giving Circle Leader on the Joy of Community

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Tyeshia Wilson, director of engagement for Philanthropy Together.

Tyeshia Wilson, courtesy of Tyeshia Wilson

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

Working in philanthropy is one of the most rewarding and self-fulfilling careers, ever. I’m altruistic, I’m a humanitarian, and I’m passionate about service. Looking back, I only wish I had been exposed to the idea of a career in philanthropy earlier. If I was aware of this alignment between  my heart and the work of this field, I would have started in this profession much sooner and likely pursued philanthropic studies in school.

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