Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 19, 2017 and has been updated to include more organizations and funders addressing sexual assault prevention.
In the age of #MeToo, it will probably come as little surprise to learn that I am also a survivor of sexual assault. I don’t want to go into the details here (if you want the full story on that, you can watch this video). When I became a social worker, I chose to build my professional life around helping survivors both heal and fight for justice. Over the past 25 years, I have treated hundreds of sexual assault survivors and their families. I have helped people achieve justice, and I have also seen many survivors choose not to engage with the justice system for fear of being further traumatized. Sadly, that fear is not unrealistic.
Every single one of you on this list who is not giving in the double digits as a percentage of your wealth: you should be ashamed.
I don’t like to use the shame card. I don’t use it much as a parent, and I don’t use it much as a therapist. But when I look at these numbers, all I can think of is how little regard these human beings appear to have for their fellow human beings. And yet they appear to have no shame about it. In fact, they receive a near constant stream of praise and adulation for the teeny tiny bit that they give of their vast wealth.
2021 is shaping up to be a year of momentous change for gender equality movements. Here at Philanthropy Women, we’re taking a moment to look back at 2020 — a tumultuous year, to say the least, but one in which we realized the true impact of our organization and our work around the world.
The 2020 Philanthropy Women Media Impact Report offers a look into a year of incredible growth, progress, and partnership. Based on 12 months of publishing, this report breaks down our successes as a news outlet from a variety of perspectives, and offers an excellent look not just at our impact, but our role as a connector and facilitator for networks, campaigns, and conversations within the feminist philanthropy sphere.
Dr. Jaana Rehnström, Founder and President of the Kota Alliance, an organization fostering international collaboration for women-centered nonprofits, recently authored an article that struck a deep chord with me. Readers here at Philanthropy Women will also likely feel a strong resonance with Dr. Rehnström’s words.
Dr. Rehnström begins by summarizing the current status of gender equality in the world:
The question came up in my mind, and I see many other people have been tossing this question around in conversations online: What if only women voted in the 2020 election? Would it have been a much easier win for the Biden-Harris presidency?
2020 Election Results for Women Voters
The above graphic says it all. In the 14 states listed above and in many others, Biden would have won handily.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It seems, in the feminist philanthropy community, everyone is waiting for that tipping point to come, when women’s leadership finally establishes its value to the world. Covid, it seems, is helping to accelerate our awareness of the added value of women’s leadership. By showing that countries led by women having strikingly better COVID survival and containment rates, we should finally be at that point where you could practically pour the product of women’s leadership into a bottle and sell it on the open market.
Well, think again. I have been on my own quest to establish the value of women’s leadership, particularly women’s leadership in philanthropy, over the past four years. I went in with the theory that feminist strategies are more powerful strategies, and once people get to know more about them, lots of folks would flock to our website and build up our subscriber base to the point where, eventually, it might even turn into a for-profit market product. Though fiscally sponsored by the Women’s Funding Network, our budget and strategy is built around the idea that only a small portion of our funding should come from grants, and that as our subscriber base grows, eventually, we could become attractive to a regular small business publication or larger progressive media platform.
With the world in a state of crisis and flux, the people at Giving Tuesday, which happens the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, have created another day of global unity, #GivingTuesdayNow, which will take place this Tuesday, May 5, in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
As editor and publisher of Philanthropy Women, I will be participating in GivingTuesdayNow by supporting organizations that are particularly dedicated to women. We know from reports that women are crying out for help during this time, due to increased rates of domestic violence, increased problems with employment and income, and many other needs. In consultation with my family, these are the organizations we have chosen to support.
Right now, what we need more than ever is feminist leadership to get us through the COVID crisis.
That’s why we’re excited to share some BIG NEWS here at Philanthropy Women. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, a generous donor has provided extra support so that we can make registration for Premium Access to Philanthropy Women FREE for the next three months. (Editor’s Note: This special offer is now over.)
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.