Sasha Rabsey has heard the same story more than once. Most recently, she heard it at a conference, where a young woman presented on her work with trauma organizations. Her funding came from a series of high-level civil and private sector awards–enough to start ten different programs supporting women recovering from trauma in Latin America–but as the awards began to dry up, she found herself floundering for funding.
“I’ll take anything you can give me,” the young woman said, echoing scores of people Rabsey has worked with over the years. “If I don’t start winning more awards, we’re going to have to close more than half of our locations.”
We have known about gender injustice for centuries, yet only over the past one hundred years have we been more publicly working to end this vast inequality. The rights women have claimed, from voting rights to reproductive rights, have been hard fought and hard won. Undergirding all of those public battles, there has been the ongoing battle for a woman’s right to safety at home. Gender-based violence has plagued people for as long as we have written history, yet even during our current health pandemic, this social problem continues to be defined as a private issue.
One reason for this is that governments and those who create policy insist on spreading false narratives, such as the one recently sent out by the Malaysian government: Don’t nag your husbands during quarantine and social distancing. This form of misinformation does nothing to help women be safe. It allows violence against women to be blamed on women. Home is the most dangerous place for a woman, and violence against women is about power and control.
Editor’s Note: The following essay is by Tory Dietel Hopps, Managing Partner of Dietel & Partners, where she assists grantees with strategies, resource development and capacity building.
As the past weeks have unfolded, I have found myself thinking about the choices I will make regarding what I will not go back to after COVID-19. I believe that we are essentially having a dress rehearsal for what must be our new normal. This pandemic has made it abundantly clear that as a human race, we are truly globally interconnected.
This has been the message of climate activists for decades, but the esoteric nature of those conversations clearly were not getting us to move quickly enough. It took a real life and death situation to make us realize we can change our behavior on a dime if we need and want to. We have an opportunity to come out of this pandemic with a new normal where we don’t go back to how we functioned before. This is an opportunity we cannot afford to squander.
In March 2020, the National Domestic Workers Alliance announced the Coronavirus Care Fund, a campaign to raise $4 million in emergency relief funds for domestic workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Domestic workers, a large percentage of whom are women, immigrants, and people of color, are among the unsung heroes on the front lines of the pandemic. They take care of homes, families, and people who are at high risk of catching the virus, like the elderly and people with chronic illnesses. What’s more, many domestic workers find themselves faced with the COVID-19 crisis without any kind of support network, savings to fall back on, or union to protect their rights.
All of creation is groaning and in pain, like a woman about to give birth. ~ adapted from Romans 8:22
Here where I live outside of Boston, most of us are about one month into our self-isolation. As the exponential curve of this global pandemic slowly, eerily touches every corner of our planet and every facet of our lives, a collective rug is being pulled out from underneath our settled ways, systems, taken-for-granted institutions, beliefs, and moment-to-moment expectations which shape how we each make our way through a day.
I am honored to add my voice to this special COVID-19 series hosted by Philanthropy Women, together musing on what implications this global pandemic has for feminist philanthropy and all who are working for justice, human betterment and a more sustainable way of living together on this planet. As every one of these writers describes, though we wish we could banish this virus from our planet, collective change has been unfolding right before our eyes.
Announced in June 2019 with a historic contribution of $300 million CAD from Global Affairs Canada, the Equality Fund is an innovative model delivering unprecedented resources to feminist movements. Our goal is ambitious: Mobilize $1 billion for gender equality in philanthropic and investment capital in Canada and around the world.
We are shifting power and resources to organizations and leaders on the frontlines. Why? Because this is the most effective way to fight inequality.
Dear Readers, Welcome to our COVID-19 Special Edition. Here, we bring together perspectives and insights from some of the most erudite women leaders in philanthropy. We know that women’s leadership matter, particularly in these unprecedented times, and these voices are often missing from traditional philanthropy and news sites. That is how Philanthropy Women sets itself apart. We exist to serve the giving sector with a gender lens.
If you had the next $150,000 idea, would your job get in the way of making that idea a reality?
The Workers Lab is a funding outlet and think tank dedicated to finding real-world solutions for the problems workers face around the world. As the backbone of companies, countries, and economies, workers are the drivers of transformation in society, but they’re often the first to be cast aside during events like the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of displacements and delays caused by COVID-19, The Workers Lab recently extended the application deadline for its Spring 2020 Innovation Fund award cycle to April 22. COVID impact has also led to the decision to cancel the Innovation Fund Finalist Showcase, typically held in San Francisco after each application cycle. This year, The Workers Lab is looking into virtual presentation options instead.
Editor’s Note: The following interview is with Melissa Jenkins Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist and clinical assistant professor at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
How would you describe Rhode Island’s response to the crisis?
Rhode Island is an amazingly interconnected place. Even when we can’t be physically close to one another, I see all of my neighbors and friends reaching out to donate whatever assets and unique talents they have to help neighbors get through this crisis. We have incredible leadership in this fight. Right now, in living rooms across Rhode Island, little girls are setting up pretend podiums to play ‘Giving the Daily Briefing’, and they’re all saying the same thing. “Knock It Off.”
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.
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.