With Biden-Harris Leading, What Now for Funding Women and Girls?

I don’t know about you, but to me it feels like a great weight has been lifted off of us as a nation, and as a world even. Many, many people in the world are rejoicing at the news of the upcoming Biden-Harris presidency, and all the possibility this new leadership holds. For those of us focused on funding women and girls, this change in leadership will likely be extremely valuable to our work, and could be instrumental in getting us closer to equality much faster.

Across the U.S., people of all ages are celebrating the new Vice President Kamala Harris’s leadership breakthrough for women and girls of color. (Image: Design Bundles)

What can women donors do to make sure that gender equality movements are optimized for acceleration at this moment in history? Here are three basic strategies:

1. First and Foremost, Existing Gender Equality Donors Must Double Down

Why double down now? Because without the regressive political culture driven by Trump, funders for women and girls can make more progress per dollar for at least the next four years. They may also be able to do much more cross-sector collaborating with business and government under a Trump-Biden presidency, thereby increasing the inclusiveness and systems-change aspects of their work.

2. Tell Everyone About Your Increased Funding for Women and Girls

Do not underestimate the power of your “See It To Be It” effect. So few people know about the work of women funders specializing in driving gender equality. Every time we tells others about doing this work, the ripple effect is likely much larger than we realize.

Invite your friends to experience your giving joy. That means your rich friends, your middle class friends, your working poor friends, your homeless friends, your friends in other countries, your elderly and young friends, your former Trump-voting friends. You get the idea. Spread the word.

Allow me to offer our family’s plans as one small example of “see it to be it.” In our household, we have decided to increase our gender equality funding for women and girls by double this year. We will be spreading our donations between local, national, and global causes for empowering women and girls.

3. Apply “Upward Pressure” on Those With More Resources to Fund Women and Girls

Let’s call this strategy “Upward Pressure” or “Trickle Up.” It’s the idea that reality-based accountability for inequality must trickle up in our culture if we are to make progress. If you know any mega-billionaires who could be doing more for women and girls, perhaps you could search your soul for the courage to say, “Hey Bill (or Jeff or Warren or Mike): Are you sure you’re doing your part for gender equality? Seems like much smaller donors are doing the heavy lifting in this area of giving, when what would be more fair is a higher level of support from those with the most resources.”

If all this could happen, what a different world we’d be living in — one that prioritized gender equality in very tangible ways, with real dollar amounts right now that could make all the difference. It’s like the meaning behind EMILY’s List: “Early Money is Like Yeast.” It’s still relatively early on in the long fight for gender equality. If we could make a quick jump in funding now, it could make a significant difference in the overall trajectory of the fight.


What Kamala Harris Represents for Donor Activism and Inclusion

Back to School: Women Donors and Higher Education

Feminist Donors: The Way to the Future

Plan Gets Largest Donation Ever, Announces Deeper Focus on Girls

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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