Everyone’s talking about it: the coronavirus crisis. As more and more cities and countries take on “stay at home” orders and work to tackle growing medical shortages, events around the world are facing the difficult question of postponement or cancellation.
For smaller events, cancellation is the same as admitting defeat. Many conventions and festivals run by new or non-established organizations simply cannot survive a year’s worth of lost ticket sales, vendor contracts, and speaking arrangements.
So what can we do to help these organizations survive?
One small piece of good news about the COVID crisis is that there seems to be more awareness than ever about its gendered impacts. This piece in the New York Times, for example, discusses how women make up the majority of health care workers, and how, on top of that, they are more likely to take on the caregiving of sick people in their own families, and the care of children.
There are lots of things we can do to mitigate these impacts, but it will take conscious effort to resist the pull toward harmful gender norms. More than ever, we need to defend women’s rightful place in leadership and decision-making to end the COVID crisis. Think about it: if we had more women’s leadership at the table right now, say, for example, if Hillary Clinton had become President, we might be taking a much different approach to addressing this crisis, one that recognizes the validity of science and the need for preventative measures in health care.
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.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Riki Wilchins, executive director of the nonprofit TrueChild and author of, “Gender Norms & Intersectionality: Connecting Race, Class and Gender.”
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I wish I’d realized how difficult and slow social change is. I think when you’re younger, you’re a bit more optimistic. But, any kind of real change takes years, maybe decades, of constant effort and attention.
What is your current greatest professional challenge?
Our goal is getting people to think intersectionally, so they connect race, class and gender norms. The challenge is two-fold: most organizations don’t know how to talk about gender norms, or if they do, they disconnect it from factors like race and class.
As we head into the deepening crisis of COVID-19, now is the time for women funders and their allies to gather and strategize. This Thursday, April 2nd at 8amPT/11am ET. Please RSVP hereand they will send you a link to join the webinar. Below is the invitation in full from Ammarah Maqsood, Development Officer for Global Fund for Women:
As most of us are watching the news and learning about the impact of COVID-19 here in the states, at Global Fund for Women, we are hearing from the women around the world about their creative solutions and pressing needs caused by the pandemic crisis.
Where water isn’t readily available in homes, women have created inventive hand washing stations. In refugee camps in the Middle East, women are finding inventive ways to use WhatsApp and keep young kids learning.
(March 26, 2020) The New York Women’s Foundation is launching the 2020 Resilience-NYC: COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to provide organizations funding to solve critical issues facing vulnerable and marginalized communities in New York City
NEW YORK, March 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The New York Women’s Foundation (The Foundation) announced the launch of 2020 Resilience-NYC: COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, providing $1,000,000 in grants to organizations helping women, transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary (TGNCNB) individuals, and their families most impacted by COVID-19. Marginalized populations are among the most vulnerable during times of crisis, along with the local organizations that know how to best support them. The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund will provide vital resources to organizations on the front lines for some of the hardest hit communities to address immediate and long-term needs.
At Philanthropy Women, we will be working extra hard to be a resource for the feminist giving community on best practices to get us through the COVID crisis. We will work to generate ideas and share news that will help us make system-wide changes that will address this crisis and prevent future crises of this proportion in the future.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working on a mail-in test for COVID-19 that could be available in the next two weeks. When I learned this from a news summary here, my first thought was: why would this mail-in test be restricted by zip code? Why provide this, the safest way to test (without having to go into a health care environment and risk infection) to only a select few? Why not provide it to everyone?
Plan International USA is inviting young people ages 13-22 to “Vote for the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).” While this acronym usually applies to football stars and other sports legends, Plan is using the acronym in a much for fun, purposeful, and world-changing way. Specifically, Plan’s GOAT competition refers to the greatest female, femme or nonbinary person advancing gender equality across the categories of visibility or representation, women’s health, equal opportunity, and gender-based violence.
Plan International USA—an independent development and humanitarian organization advancing children’s rights and equality for girls—established the “Vote for the G.O.A.T” competition to heighten awareness about those working on behalf of gender equity, and to benefit needy women and families in the developing world.
Editor’s Note: The following message is from Andrea Pactor, Associate Director, Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Thank you for your patience as we wrestled with whether or not to move forward with Philanthropy Plugged In in light of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 situation. Yesterday, the Indiana University President made the decision to cancel the symposium easier. At Indiana University, as at several universities and businesses across the country, all travel outside the state is suspended through April 5 and we are discouraged from scheduling events with more than 100 attendees. Sad as we are not to see you in Chicago, we know, as one speaker mentioned, that this is the right thing to do.