An amazing array of women are meeting today in San Francisco for the inaugural #SheThePeople Summit, which aims to be the largest gathering of women of color seeking systemic change to our political and social institutions.
The summit is being led by Aimee Allison, President of Democracy in Color, a new organization that wants to see women doing what they are doing this year: breaking records as they run for office.
“[Women of color] are the most progressive block,” Allison told Bust Magazine in a recent interview. From Bust: “We have the numbers to flip states blue. We are the potential that hasn’t been previously recognized.”
Both the Women’s Funding Network and Women Moving Millions are in Seattle today, meeting with their members. The Women Moving Millions event is co-hosted by the Gates Foundation, and both groups will be meeting up to discuss their work in the evening at the Gates Foundation.
One might wonder if this is an indicator of the increasing involvement of the Gates Foundation in gender equality philanthropy. And, in fact, the evening will close with a cocktail hour for the Women’s Funding Network hosted by Women Moving Millions at the Gates Foundation, so there will be some time for the three networks to compare notes.
It felt great to fall asleep last night to the sound of rain, and even better to wake up this morning to the news that many women progressives prevailed in the primary elections for this year in Rhode Island. Nearest and dearest to me is the win for Lammis J. Vargas for Ward One City Council in Cranston. Beyond that, Moira Jayne Walsh, Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and Bridget Valverde all prevailed, despite not being nominated by the Democratic party here in Rhode Island, which tends to be heavily pro-life and pro-gun.
One of the wonderful things about publishing on feminist philanthropy is getting to meet the folks on the ground in feminism, the people who are growing the movements that need to happen to make our communities more safe, secure, and inclusive.
I’m happy to share an interview I recently did with The Woman Project, a new 501(c)4 organization that started in South County, Rhode Island, and is looking to build the statewide movement to protect reproductive freedom. The Woman Project currently has the General Assembly in its crosshairs and is pushing to pass a bill that would codify protection of Roe V. Wade into state law.
Exuberant emails from organizations like Higher Heights for America PAC say a lot about what an exciting win progressive democrats had yesterday in Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District. History took a decided turn for progressives as Ayanna Pressley prevailed in a primary over a 10-term incumbent, and will not face a Republican opponent, so has taken the seat in Congress.
How did this happen? Kimberley Peeler-Allen of Higher Heights shared about one important strategy that may have led to this win:
Here’s some disturbing news: a male academic who appeared to be a strong ally of feminism, Michael Kimmel, is facing serious charges of sexual exploitation and other inappropriate behavior.
It’s always extra disturbing when this happens with someone who is considered an ally of feminism, so be prepared to have a full range of emotional reactions to this story.
As you sort through your anger, sadness, confusion, and feelings of betrayal, don’t forget to recognize how this is also a positive story about how women are speaking up and changing the game. Exposing these problems will help prevent future abuse and exploitation, particularly in academia. With the number of women in leadership increasing toward critical mass in different professional sectors, we may hear a lot more reports coming out like those about Michael Kimmel.
The nation’s oldest public women’s foundation recently announced that it will steer in a new direction over the next five years — toward growing its commitment to low-income women and women of color by more than $25 million.
In addition, the Ms. Foundation will form its first-ever political fund, which will support the legislative agenda for women and girls both nationally and locally.
With Teresa C. Younger at the helm, the Ms. Foundation for Womenis joining other big funders in the feminist philanthropy space, including the NoVo Foundation and Prosperity Together (the national coalition of women’s funds focused on low-income women and women of color) in making economic, social and cultural equality for women and girls of color a central feature of its strategic plan. “Women of color are a political force to be reckoned with,” said Younger, in a press release announcing the new strategic plan. “In 2018, we delivered unprecedented electoral wins in Alabama, Georgia, and New York — yet we are sorely underrepresented in philanthropic investment, with only 2% of that spending going to women and girls of color.”
Feminist leader and journalist Marianne Schnall’s eight-year-old daughter had a striking question after the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Why have we not had a woman president?
The question wouldn’t go away for Schnall, and soon she found herself bringing it up to thought leaders and scholars, trying to figure out what it would take to put a woman in the highest governmental office in America.
One thing Schnall realized in this process was the need for stronger coalition-building across progressive movements. “This isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a human issue. It’s an issue of having a reflective democracy, and that’s why we need to have men be part of these conversations,” said Schnall.
Women around the world who are leading the fight against climate damage are to be highlighted by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN high commissioner, in the hopes of building a new global movement that will create “a feminist solution for climate change”.
“I think supporting girls and women’s organizations is the greatest hope we have for worldwide transformative change – and my philanthropic choices are grounded in that belief,” said celebrity and activist Emma Watson, at a convening on July 10 in London, sponsored by NoVo Foundation, Oak Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy and Ariadne.
Watson also noted that research across seventy countries concludes that women’s movements are the key factor in enacting policy change. “This makes it all the more shocking that a survey of European foundations found that less than 5 percent of funds were targeted towards girls and women.”