African Girls Respond to COVID

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.

Mr. Ablaye Sow; WGEP staffers Khady and Casimir; and Our Sisters Lead participants Absatou, Mouhamed, and Alima. (Photo credit: WGEP)

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.

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W20 Calls for Gender Equality In COVID Crisis

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Mar. 23 /CSRwire/ – Women 20 (W20), the Women’s Engagement Group, welcomes the extraordinary G20 Summit and strongly agrees that a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic – and its human and economic implications – is urgently needed. We appreciate the effort of G20 Leaders to reduce the COVID-19 pandemic, to propose policies to protect people and safeguard the global economy, and their recognition that collaboration among G20 countries is needed. We, W20, are willing to contribute.

W20 Saudi Arabia has released a statement urging G20 leaders to act on gender equality efforts in addressing COVID-19 crisis. (Image Credit: W20 Saudi Arabia)

We urge that policies and public health efforts address the gendered impacts of disease outbreaks. Experts find that pandemics make existing gender inequalities for women and girls worse, and can impact their treatment and care. Women and girls face a variety of risk factors that must urgently be addressed. Given their predominant roles as caregivers within families and as front-line health-care workers, women are more likely to be exposed to the virus. Women also make up a disproportionate percentage of workers in sectors and roles that are impacted harder in economic downturns and offer less social protection. 

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Blow to Gender Equality as UN Curtails CSW Due to Coronavirus

NEW YORK, March 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Curtailing a major United Nations meeting on gender equality over coronavirus fears could be a blow to progress in women’s rights and needs to be rescheduled to include diverse voices, participants and observers said on Monday.

CSW was scaled by to a one-day meeting due to the global outbreak of coronavirus. (Image credit: UN Commission on the Status of Women)

The annual two-week U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) promoting equality and women’s empowerment was scaled back on Monday to just one-day next week due the global outbreak.

In its abbreviated version, the CSW will hold a procedural meeting on March 9 – the day after International Women’s Day – to adopt a draft political declaration marking 25 years since the historic women’s rights declaration signed in Beijing.

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Rachel’s Network and People Over Petro Battle Industry Giants

Ecofeminist funder Rachel’s Network is collaborating with the People over Petro Coalition in combating the petrochemical industry in the Ohio River Valley.

Rachel’s Network is collaborating with the People over Petro Coalition to increase civic engagement.

The Ohio River forms at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, and flows southwest nearly 1,000 miles to southern Illinois where it meets the Mississippi River. Several corporations, notably Shell, have projects in the works to produce plastics and chemicals in the Ohio River Valley, and have already begun building ethane cracker plants, pipelines, storage facilities, and other dirty infrastructure. These projects will foul the air and water, exposing residents of parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to toxic emissions, sending health costs from just three proposed plants into the billions over the plants’ lifespan. Moreover, such production exacerbates climate change and make local economies vulnerable to the boom-bust cycles typical of the energy industry.

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100&Change: Plan and 99 Other Organizations Vie for $100 Million

On February 20, Plan International USA announced the next step in its campaign toward a $100 million grant: selection as one of the top 100 organizations considered for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation‘s 100&Change competition.

Plan International USA announced its selection as one of the “Top 100” in the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition. (Photo Credit: Plan International USA Video on Ensuring All People Count)

Plan celebrates with 99 other organizations, selected from a pool of almost 4,000 worthy applicants and 800 proposals, all setting out to solve one of the world’s most critical social challenges.

Plan’s challenge? Create a high-quality civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system–called OpenCRVS–capable of closing the gap between the world’s unregistered population and the governments, systems, and organizations that seek to serve them.

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Gender Takes Center Stage in New Round of Systems Change Grants

Co-Impact—a philanthropic collaborative supporting health, education, and economic development in the Global South—currently has an “Open Call for Systems Change Grants.” Submissions are open until March 31, 2020, and this round of grants will place particular emphasis on gender equity.

A participant in the Young Women Leadership Program explains the parts of the Central Processing Unit in Bihar, India.
(Photo Credit: Paula Bronstein/The Verbatim Agency/Getty Images)

The “Co” in Co-Impact’s name points to its belief in collaboration and cooperation between funders and program partners including local communities, nonprofits, governments, and businesses. Co-Impact aims to enable sustained macro-level change, and it identifies and supports “a portfolio of pathbreaking systems change opportunities, investing over the long-term to help address obstacles and limitations in unjust systems that hamper human progress.” Co-Impact is dedicated to building a network, rather than a portfolio of discrete, single-donor funded projects:

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The 19th: Filling the Media Gap on Women and Politics

It’s a brutal media landscape with each year bringing more layoffs and buy-outs of journalists, and closures of big city dailies. Paper is dying, and the digital arms of legacy media entities must fend off content-stealing, bottom-feeding, celebrity-obsessed click-bait factories. It’s difficult for serious and thoughtful, or even middle-of-the-road mainstream journalism, to survive unless backed by very deep pockets and a vast reach. And if a media organization wants to address gender and race in a comprehensive fashion, it’s well-nigh impossible.

The 19th will provide more media coverage of women as they push for a larger share of power in American politics. (Image Credit: The 19th)

It’s tough sledding, but the benefits of an informed public are incalculable and essential to democracy, and can’t be judged solely by looking at the bottom line. Consequently, some philanthropists are stepping-up and underwriting news and information organizations, as is the case with the support for a novel venture, The 19th, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting at the intersection of gender, politics and policy.”

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Voting is a Feminist Issue: Register before Deadlines and Help GOTV

Are you registered to vote?

This year promises to be a landmark year for American politics. The Presidential campaign, paired with the current impeachment proceedings and an upsurge in female and minority candidates for seats in Congress, makes this one of the most anticipated campaign seasons in recent history. In some states, however, it is already too late to register to vote in the 2020 primary elections.

For the primary elections, many states’ voter registration deadlines have already passed. Are you registered to vote? (Photo Credit: Annie Bolin)

It’s no secret that America’s voting system is flawed. Voter registration systems and deadlines are often difficult to understand–or to find in the first place. Most states offer voter registration systems by mail, in person, or online, and a small minority offer registration on Election Day with the right materials.

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Progress for Gender Equality in the EU: How’s it Going?

Editor’s Note: This article was produced by the European Institute for Gender Equality.

It is almost a quarter of a century since the Beijing Platform for Action was adopted by 189 governments following a landmark UN conference in 1995. New research from EIGE shows that no EU country has yet fully implemented this blueprint for women’s empowerment, with issues such as ageing societies, migration and climate change bringing new challenges.

The European Institute for Gender Equality discusses the progress for gender equality in the European Union. (Image Credit: EIGE)

“The ageing population of the EU brings new challenges for gender equality as women continue to be the main providers of care. While unpaid care work is indispensable to the wellbeing of individuals and wider society, its contribution to economic growth is largely invisible,” says Virginija Langbakk, EIGE’s director.

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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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