Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.
As well as being a gender lens publisher and a social worker practicing for over 25 years, I too have been a survivor of sexual assault. Mine was of a particularly insidious kind, all wrapped up in academia. In the process of applying to graduate school for my Masters in Fine Arts for Creative Writing, I got sexually assaulted. Not kidding.
Now, some 28 years later, with the perpetrator deceased, I am telling my story. But I still can’t tell it completely because my perpetrator was particularly unstable. He had been hospitalized multiple times for suicidality. He could go from complimenting you to abusing you in the blink of an eye. And he was particularly known for filing lawsuits, should anyone suggest he had problems with women. Given all of that, even with the perpetrator dead, it still isn’t safe to say his name. That’s the patriarchy for you. Even with the dominating male writer no longer among us, we still can’t talk about him safely.
Editor’s Note: The following essay is by Gema Fernández, managing attorney at Women’s Link Worldwide, urging readers to consider the plight of migrant mothers this Mother’s Day.
As the U.S. begins to emerge from its pandemic nightmare, many Americans are looking forward to seeing — and maybe hugging — their mothers for the first time in over a year as they prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day. But around the world and in the U.S., far too many mothers and families have little to celebrate, as they face the hardships of migration, violence and forced separations.
In the United States, children and infants have been ripped from the arms of migrant families crossing the Southern U.S. border, with hundreds of these children still disconnected from their parents and relatives years later. State-sanctioned violations of migrant women’s and families’ rights are not unique to the U.S., or even this hemisphere.
Editor’s Note: The following essay is by Dr. Torie Weiston-Serdan, Chief Visionary Officer of the Youth Mentoring Action Network (YMAN) and author of “Critical Mentoring: A Practical Guide.”
2021 has already been a traumatic year for Black womxn and girls. On the very day that the Chauvin verdict was announced, news spread like wildfire about 15-year old Ma’Khiah Bryant’s ruthless killing by police in Columbus, Ohio. Ma’Khia’s death followed a series of brutal assaults against young Black girls in the past four months – such as in January when a 16-year old in Florida was victimized by police after a school resource officer body-slammed and knocked her unconscious. Or in Rochester, New York where a nine year old was pepper-sprayed by officers who afterward told her, “You did it to yourself.”
Editor’s Note: Racial and gender equality won’t happen without men. The following conversation explores ways to help men and boys join movements for gender and racial equality.
Activist and philanthropist Suzanne Lerner, co-founder and CEO of Michael Stars, engages in a candid discussion with Ted Bunch, co-founder of A Call to Men (ACTM), an organization that she has supported for the past five years. ACTM works with the NFL, NBA, NHL, U.S. military, universities, and global corporations to educate and empower men and boys to become stronger allies for gender equality.
We’re finally starting to see real money flow from companies and financial institutions to racial and gender equality initiatives.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Janelle Duray, Executive Vice President of Jobs for America’s Graduates.
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I always had ambitions to be at the table, but growing up on a family farm in rural Northwest Minnesota I didn’t have much exposure to those who had experiences outside of my own. Grad school brought me to D.C. and in my last semester, I started as an intern at Jobs for America’s Graduates, where I remain today (I know – rare these days to stick around so long, especially at the beginning of their careers). In the beginning, I couldn’t believe I was there and kept wondering “How did I get here?” The city, mission, impact, and access to people in power positions. These new experiences had me second-guessing if my voice is valuable. But I knew that I had experiences that could provide insight.
The Living Equality Gala, an event organized by the ERA Coalition, started with Broadway singer Rebecca Naomi Jones singing a rousing rendition of “Ain’t it Good.”
“It is in fact really good,” said Caroline Clarke, who, along with Debra Messing, co-hosted the event. “We are all gathered here tonight to celebrate that for the first time in 99 years, our congress has unflinchingly declared that women’s equality is a priority in the United States of America.”
Both Messing and Clarke discussed the pivotal year we are in for the landmark Equal Rights Amendment, with 2021 being seen as the year that the Amendment will finally be added to the U.S. Constitution.
Fiona McKay’s website asks a simple but striking question: What would the world look like if more women controlled the money? It’s a question I often find myself pondering, too, as a social worker, a small businesswoman, a parent, and a gender equality activist.
McKay isn’t just pondering this profound question, though. She’s actively doing research on the way that gender norms shape our experiences, particularly in the financial sector. She is the author of Trailblazing Women in Investment, a new report that discusses gender lens investing and the barriers that women still face with controlling the money in finance.
Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Felecia Lucky, President of the Black Belt Community Foundation in Selma, Alabama, which serves Alabama’s 12 most financially distressed counties.
Black Belt Community Foundation was officially formed in December 2003 after several years of community advocacy for such an institution. It was established to strengthen these 12 rural Alabama communities and enrich them with more community goods like health care, education, youth programs, and economic development.
As President of the Foundation, Lucky shared with me some of the story of the foundation’s growth and evolution. She traced the origins of the foundation back to another woman leader, Dr. Carol Zippert, who had a vision of how to build community resources through a foundation, bringing philanthropy to an area of the country that hadn’t experienced much of it.
Feminist Giving IRL Contest Winners Announced!Final Vote Shows Strength in Numbers and Rising Interest in Gender Equality in the Arts, Global Development, and Women in Tech
Gender Equality in Dance, Global Girls Equality, and Women in Tech are the 3 Big Winners
A total of 563 people voted in our Feminist Giving IRL Top Tier Contest. A graphic below shows the distribution of final results.
Congratulations to Our Winners!
First, a heartfelt congratulations to our winners, and thanks to all the women leaders profiled in Feminist Giving IRL for being willing to participate in this event. Each of our winners will receive a $100 honorarium and will be invited to participate in our Zoom-based Top Tier Crowning Webinar where we celebrate their accomplishments and discuss their plans for the future of gender equality in their work. Stay tuned for further details on that event.
This past summer, before the announcement of Kamala Harris as the nominee for Vice President, Latosha Brown received a phone call from the soon-to-be Vice President. The phone call was in response to an article Brown had published in Essence called Reimagining An America That Uplifts Black Girls. Vice President Kamala Harris wanted Latosha Brown to know that she shared her hope that America could reimagine the country so that all girls will be lifted up.
“Vice President Kamala Harris called me to say she had read the article, and that she too was committed to women and girls all across the country,” said Brown, in a recent phone interview with Philanthropy Women.