Joining Forces To Empower Women in Senegal

Local girls enjoy clean water from a rehabilitated well in Senegal. Photo Credit: CREATE! (@createsenegal)

Where are the effects of climate change felt the strongest?

West Africa shoulders some of the heaviest impacts created by climate change, particularly in communities where families live off the land. Many communities in Sub-Saharan Africa have laid claim to lush, verdant farmlands for hundreds or thousands of years—but today, those families find themselves fighting against the very land they’ve called home for generations.

Between desert encroachment, deforestation, and the effects of a rising global temperature, rural populations in Senegal experience some of the worst effects of climate change. Farming families struggle to cope with a shorter growing season, while communities across the continent suffer from a shortage of clean water, food, and fuel.

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The International Battle for Women’s Water Rights

Five years later, the battle for clean water still rages in Flint, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Flint Rising)

Superheroes no longer wear capes: they wear gym shoes. 

A few days before we spoke on the phone, Gina Luster represented Flint Rising at an activist event in San Francisco. A red-eye flight took her to Grand Rapids, Michigan, then to her home in Flint at 7:30 in the morning. Next, Gina drove to Detroit for a panel appearance at the NAACP’s annual conference. She arrived in the city exhausted and ready for a shower before our interview, only to find out she couldn’t check into her hotel. 

Gina took my call from the hotel parking lot, sitting under a tree next to the Detroit River. Despite the insanity of her schedule and the flickering cell phone signal, her attitude was overwhelmingly positive. 

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New Microgrants Cultivate Collective Giving

Members of the co-design team working to grow the power and amplification of giving circles. (Photo credit: Catalist)

On August 20, 2019, an initiative to connect and catalyst the field of giving circles announced their intention to donate $32,000 to collective giving organizations. The funds, distributed in thirteen microgrants ranging from $500 to $5,000, will go toward circles and networks that “showcase, scale, strengthen, and sustain the field of collective giving. 

This initiative is born out of a yearlong co-design process spearheaded by the organizations Amplifier, Asian Women’s Giving Circle, Catalist, Community Investment Network, and Latino Community Foundation. 

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California Gender Justice Funders Launch $10 Mil Culture Change Fund

The Gender Justice Fund, developed by California Gender Justice Funders Network, will fund culture change around gender issues. (Image Credit: Gender Justice Fund)

It’s time to change the way we think and talk about gender.

For many of us — women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, people of color, and others — the last few years have been difficult to digest. There are too many significant human rights issues happening in our country today to easily decide which to give priority.

In response, the voices of activists, philanthropists, and organizations in this social and political climate are louder than ever before. Together, funders and campaigners are making strides to support the causes they believe in, finding new platforms and new opportunities for growth every day. We’ve made progress in legislation, but at the same time, we’ve seen massive legal backslides — like laws barring transgender people from certain bathrooms and abortion bans in nine states — that make it difficult to celebrate our progress.

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Two Sponsors Give USWNT $1.2 Mil. What about Coke, Nike, Visa…?

Many on social media celebrated Secret’s announcement that it was taking action to close the pay gap for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. (Image Credit: Secret on Twitter)

The fight for equal pay for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has garnered as much attention as their on-field exploits, which culminated in their Women’s World Cup win in France on July 7. While many companies are now talking a good game about gender equity, two sponsoring companies—Luna Bars and Secret Deodorant—have stepped up and pledged money to the women’s team and its players.

The members of the U.S. Women’s team filed a gender discrimination suit against U.S. Soccer in March, and the two sides have agreed to mediation. Former U.S. star goalkeeper Hope Solo filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer nearly a year ago, also charging the Federation with pay and other discrimination. Her lawyers filed a motion on July 22 in Northern California District Court that she be allowed to join the mediation.

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There is No Excuse: Pay Equity for Women in Sports Must Happen

Revenue from women’s soccer in the U.S. has increased substantially since 2016, and continues to to be on par with revenue for men’s soccer. Why are professional women soccer players paid so much less? (Image Credit: U.S. Soccer, WSJ)

“The pay gap is an issue, and that issue will go on,” said U.S. Soccer Foundation President and CEO, Ed Foster-Simeon in a recent article discussing the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Women’s Soccer team for pay equity. This is an important point for women donors to pay attention to, since funding for legal defense to get the pay issue for women’s soccer rectified is, in some ways, the cutting edge of feminism, and might be an issue more donors want to move to the front burner, at least temporarily.

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Paternity Leave as a Powerful Tool for Improving Gender Equity

Dove has partnered with Promundo to promote paternity leave, with part of the campaign including “The Pledge for paternity Leave” where men and allies can pledge to support paternity leave policies. (Image Credit: Dove Men+Care)

A powerful tool to increase gender equity and strengthen families is to expand paternity leave, giving men greater attachment and involvement with their young children, and lessening the burden on women.

Dove Men+Care, in partnership with the global gender justice organization Promundo, is studying the impact of paternity leave on gender equality, and revealing the many benefits that accrue to employers, parents and society when men have greater access to paid leave and participate more fully in child rearing. (The article “Why championing paternity leave empowers men, women and business,” appearing on the Unilever website, summarizes some of these findings).

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Walker’s Legacy: Partnering to Launch Women of Color in Tech

Walker’s Legacy Foundation, the charitable arm of Walker’s Legacy, works to promote and support women of color entrepreneurs. (Photo Credit: Walker’s Legacy Foundation)

In recent years, foundations, corporations, and individuals alike have paid significant attention to closing the gender gap in the tech industry. We have made progress — but not as much as some may think. Female representation in the tech industry is staggeringly low, and this is especially true for women of color. To combat these statistics, Walker’s Legacy, Comcast, and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund are joining forces with the Women of Color in Tech event series.

The Women of Color in Tech tour is a new national event series that highlights multicultural women in technology. Sponsored by Walker’s Legacy, in partnership with Comcast and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, this speaker series highlights the accomplishments and career paths of multicultural female entrepreneurs. Through the program, women of color will find new opportunities, resources, and programs that can bolster entrepreneurship around the country.

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More Girls in the Game: US Soccer Foundation, Adidas Aid Participation

The U.S. Soccer Foundation is making a new effort to bring women and girls into soccer, especially in underserved communities. (Image Credit: U.S. Soccer Foundation)

The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s recently announced a new initiative called United for Girls, which aims to increase soccer opportunities for young girls and women from underserved communities.

United for Girls has an ambitious goal over the next three years: double both the number of girls impacted by the Foundation’s programs, and the number of U.S. Soccer Foundation female coach-mentors. Adidas, the initiative’s founding partner, is working with the Foundation to get more girls on the field, and combat their high athletics drop-out rate.

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Laura Dern Backs Gender Parity with Code-a-Thon, $350k in Scholarships

Actress Laura Dern, posing for a photo supporting the @thelipsticklobby, a social justice beauty brand partnering with Brady, the country’s first gun safety organization, to reduce gun violence in America. (Photo Credit: Laura Dern, Instagram) 

From whip-smart dino doctor Ellie Satler to tech-savvy businesswoman Renata Klein, Laura Dern’s passion shines through in her roles on screen. Behind the scenes, Dern’s commitment to philanthropy, empowerment, and equality for all add up to something just shy of a revolution — and the tech industry is her next target.

As part of Booking.com’s first Women in Tech Code-a-thon, Dern announced $350,000 in grants that will benefit STEM education for young women and girls.

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