Dance Equity: Extra Tough Times for Women Dancers in COVID

Northfield, IL | November 19, 2020 Dance Data Project® (DDP) today announces the social media campaign, Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory, designed to draw attention to the catastrophic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in dance and the performing arts in general. The campaign will begin on Monday, Nov. 23 and run for three weeks, ending on Friday, Dec. 11.

Dancers Terez Dean Orr and Ben Warner perform Poetry of Being by Nicole Haskins. (Photo by Keith Sutter, courtesy of Smuin Contemporary Ballet)


“While NPR, and business publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes have documented the asymmetric impact of the pandemic on women economically, we haven’t seen similar work by arts reporters, looking at the industry as a whole,” said DDP President and Founder Liza Yntema. “Our campaign is designed to ‘connect the dots’ between layoffs and furloughs at the lower tier of performing arts not for profits where women typically work, the already existing gender pay gap, and the crushing pressure women feel due to child and elder care duties resulting in what is being termed the ‘Shecession’.” 

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(Liveblog) What Does Feminism Look Like in Biden-Harris Future?

Feminists, the fight is not over.

This week has been a celebration for many around the country–we’ve won a massive victory against fascism and racism in the United States. However, it’s important not to lose sight of our end goal. In order to truly work toward racial, gender, and social justice in the US and around the world, we cannot let up on the pressure on our administration. Joe Biden has a lot of work to do.

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On Veterans Day 2020, Code Pink, the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, MADRE, and Women Cross DMZ co-hosted a conversation on the role of feminists in the 2020 Presidential election, as well as what we still need to do to ensure the Biden administration takes us in the right direction.

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Anybody Got a Spare $6.3 Billion to Fund Women and Girls?

I was doing some thinking on the funding-of-women quandary. What the Women’s Philanthropy Institute helpfully taught us was that as of 2016, funding specifically for women and girls in the U.S. is at 6.3 billion a year, comprising 1.6% of total philanthropy funding.

That’s not enough, as we explain here.

6.3 billion
Photo by Monica Melton on Unsplash

It’s unclear whether this giving has increased under Trump’s tenure. It’s also unclear whether this type of giving will face new barriers in the COVID economy. Therefore, one has to wonder what we should be doing to try to bridge the gap between the conversation about funding women and girls, and the actual doing of it.

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New World Possibilities with Gender Lens Giving Strategies

On Thursday in New Zealand and Wednesday in the US, a virtual conversation took place between some of the boldest strategic experts in the feminist giving space. The conversation included Sarah Haacke Byrd, Executive Director of Women Moving Millions, Tuti B. Scott, feminist expert on gender lens grantmaking and gender lens investing, Melanie Brown, Senior Program Officer for US Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Lucy Lee, Senior Associate for Volition Capital and Lotus Circle Bay Area convener.

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Melanie Brown, Senior Program Officer for US Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke about the need to recognize the “weathering” that women of color experience in our racist and sexist cultures.

 As more virtual strategizing takes place to amplify feminist giving strategies, these leaders offer a valuable perspective. Sue McCabe, Chief Executive of Philanthropy New Zealand opened the call with some shocking stats about how COVID is impacting New Zealand’s economy, even though they have had some of the best health outcomes from the virus. McCabe said that 90% of newly unemployed people, due to the COVID restrictions in New Zealand, are women. She stressed the importance of giving more, and giving more strategically, in the time of COVID.

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Feminist Donors: The Way to the Future

It’s always great to see your name up in lights, particularly at such a highly esteemed publication as Women’s eNews. Alyssa Fisher, the 2020 fellow in the Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program at Women’s eNews called me up and let me have a great riffing session on what it’s like to be at the helm of our small but mighty publication, Philanthropy Women, and what I see feminist donors doing for the world that no one else is doing.

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(Image Credit: WMM)

From the article:

The idea to launch  a website dedicated to women in philanthropy first came to Kiersten Marek in 2016, when Hillary Clinton was anticipated to win the presidential election and become the United State’s first woman president. When she launched it the following  year, it felt even more pertinent. 

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New York Women’s Foundation on Social Justice and Philanthropy

On October 20th, the New York Women’s Foundation (NYWF) hosted Women Lead: A Conversation on Social Justice. This live fundraising event was centered around the importance of putting conversations about social justice at the forefront of our efforts in philanthropy.

The event, which took the place of NYWF’s annual fundraiser (cancelled due to COVID-19), featured conversations with the Foundation’s President and CEO, Ana Oliviera, as well as activists Nikole Hannah-Jones and Cristina Jiménez, with appearances from actresses Beanie Feldstein and Yara Shahidi, both of whom were honored for their work for women and girls during the event.

The webinar opened with a recap of the 2019 NYWF fundraising event, which was focused on the concept of “radical generosity.”

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Revealing Women’s Economic Value: A Chat with Berit Ashla

One thing COVID has shown us is new ways to appreciate women’s economic value and professional contributions to the world. A case in point that directly impacts me: many insurance companies during COVID have waived copays for psychotherapy (I’m a psychotherapist in my other day job), essentially granting many people an open door to emotional care, unrestricting access to an area of health care that had been previously blocked by confusing and expensive deductibles and co-pays. In doing so, this action also added economic value to mental health counseling, which is primarily done by women, in a new way.

Berit Ashla, Vice President of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, recently spoke with Philanthropy Women about how COVID is revealing women’s economic value, particularly in the care economy. (Image Credit: Berit Ashla)

Another case in point: the need for nurses, a profession comprised mostly of women. Suddenly this profession, which has always been sort of taken for granted, is front and center and absolutely vital to our survival. The result: the need for nurses has driven up wages and bonuses for the work.

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How Desai Foundation Drives Social Change for Women in India

Nonprofit ventures each have a unique story and journey, with some expanding their capacities and impact dramatically as they grow and mature. This seems to be the case with the Desai Foundation, now a public nonprofit, which exists to promote health and livelihood for women and children, primarily in India, with plans to expand this work in the U.S. 

Megha Desai, President of The Desai Foundation, served as host of The Lotus Festival, taking guests on a variety of virtual adventures over the course of an hour and a half. (Image Credit: Desai Foundation)

I recently had the opportunity to join the Desai Foundation for its annual Lotus Festival, a fundraiser and educational event that the foundation holds every year. This year with COVID, the event was also offered online, making it more accessible, and prompting the organizers to ensure that participants joining online would get a full experience of all that the foundation is about.

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(Liveblog) Strategies for Giving in COVID Economy with A Call To Men

On Wednesday, October 7th, the team at A Call To Men convened a conversation on giving strategy is the COVID economy, featuring with Michael Stars’ Suzanne Lerner and the New York Women’s Foundation’s Ana Oliveira.

Ted Bunch, Chief Development Officer at A Call To Men, opened the call with a group check-in. He encouraged participants to share the ways they are thriving and struggling during the pandemic. This interactive portion of the call featured stories from men and women around the country, including foundation representatives and individuals struggling with work prospects, productivity, and social justice in the midst of the pandemic.

Ultimately, the people on the call celebrated a feeling of community that is created in every virtual session for A Call To Men: the team misses the engagement possibilities of in-person events, and has celebrated all the ways they can continue to drive participation during virtual events.

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(Liveblog) Empowering Gender Equality with ERA Coalition

On Wednesday, September 30th, the ERA Coalition held a special “Meet the Chairs” event to raise awareness and funds in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Founded in 2014, the ERA Coalition works to further along the process involved in ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, newly focusing its efforts on Black and Indigenous women and women of color, as well as gender-nonconforming people and transgender women and girls.

On September 30, newly established Chairs of the ERA Coalition S. Mona Sinha and Kimberly Peeler-Allen joined Alyssa Milano and a heavy-hitting selection of speakers for a night of discussion. (Image Credit: ERA Coalition)

Kimberly Peeler-Allen, the new Chair of the ERA Coalition, and S. Mona Sinha, the new Chair of the Coalition’s sister organization, the Fund for Women’s Equality, spoke with Alyssa Milano on their motivations, passions, and hopes for their work with the ERA Coalition and beyond.

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