AOC: The Powerful Voice of Feminist Giving In Real Life

Editor’s Note: the following post was originally published on February 3, 2021.

Here at Philanthropy Women, we started a series called Feminist Giving In Real Life (F-GIRL) to provide a platform for women leaders at all levels who are giving in a feminist way. This giving can happen through donations and funding strategy, through professional excellence, and/or through leadership efforts in the community. Feminist giving is a form of leadership that has special impact because it often combines deeply personal experience and significantly political thinking and acting.

AOC
AOC became tearful as she disclosed that she is a survivor or sexual assault. In a 90 minute video on Instagram, AOC discussed the ways in which the January 6 riots constituted a form of trauma related to sexual trauma experienced by herself and many other Americans. (Image Credit: AOC on Instagram

Yesterday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez performed what I would call a supreme act of feminist giving. When AOC spoke out against the January 6th riots and connected these riots to her experience of being sexually traumatized, she simultaneously stood up for every human who has experience sexual assault, and challenged the largest political body of our country to acknowledge how the January 6th riots are part of a continuum of pervasive violence against women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.

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A Leader in Women’s Health Urges Donors to Lean Into Discomfort

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Dr. Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, an international reproductive health and rights organization.

Anu Kumar
Dr. Anu Kumar, courtesy of Dr. Anu Kumar

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

That the issues that I have chosen to work on, reproductive health and rights including access to abortion, are ones that will take generations to resolve. I naively thought that since Roe v. Wade was decided well before I came of reproductive age and the public health data were so clear about the health benefits of contraception and abortion for women, families, communities, and countries that logic would prevail and I would simply be running programs to scale up these programs. Little did I know that I would become a warrior for abortion rights!

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Blake Bailey and the Rise of Survivor Activists in Academia

Over 200 faculty and alumni at Old Dominion University have signed a statement denouncing the school’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct by Blake Bailey. UPDATE: Since this post was written, Old Dominion has announced they will do an independent investigation of Blake Bailey’s alleged sexual misconduct while holding the Mina Hohenberg Darden Chair for Creative Writing at Old Dominion University from 2010 to 2016.

Blake Bailey, who wrote a biographer of Philip Roth which was removed from print by Norton, stands accused of multiple acts of sexual misconduct. (Image credit: Norton)

From 2010 to 2016, Old Dominion University in Virginia hosted a visiting professor by the name of Blake Bailey. In addition to being a teacher, he was an author and the biographer for several esteemed male literary figures including John Cheever and, more recently, Philip Roth. But upon publication of his biography of Philip Roth, much has come to light about Blake Bailey’s history of alleged sexual misconduct, both during his time as a professor and in his professional life outside the school. As a result of some of these accusations, Blake Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth was removed from print, his literary agent dropped him, and the biography’s original publisher, Norton, has pledged six-figures for sexual assault survivor advocacy.

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Plan Awarded Sizable Grant to Fight Child Trafficking in Burkina Faso

On June 1st, Plan International USA was granted $2 million in funds to aid child trafficking survivors in Burkina Faso. The project, aptly named Strengthening Assistance for Child Trafficking Survivors, is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Plan International USA is joining forces with a local NGO in Burkina Faso, The Keoogo Association, to implement this much needed undertaking.  

Plan International USA will work to keep children attending school in Burkina Faso, where child sex trafficking is prevalent. (Photo credit: Plan International USA)

The project to end child trafficking

Strengthening Assistance for Child Trafficking Survivors aims to not only assist those victims of child labor and sex trafficking but also to stop it from happening in the first place. Dr. Tessie San Martin, President and CEO of Plan International USA, states, “due to underfunded education systems, poverty and a lack of employment opportunities, children in Burkina Faso are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, forced labor and recruitment by armed groups.”

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Sex Workers in India Need Our Help. Here’s What Donors Can Do

Editor’s Note: The following post from Katarzyna Rybarczyk, a Political Correspondent for Immigration News, details the increased danger for sex workers in India, and provides ways for donors to step in with support.

Despite India being home to some of the most significant populations of sex workers globally, sex workers in India have very few protections and are alienated from the government’s responses. Even before the pandemic, sex workers in India would face unfair treatment, discrimination, and poverty. Now, these problems have intensified to the point where for the majority of sex workers every day is a struggle to survive. 

sex workers in India
Photo by Sara Bakhshi on Unsplash

The Pandemic Exacerbated Sex Workers’ Vulnerabilities

Because of the nature of their profession, sex workers rely on physical contact and in-person meetings with clients to earn a living. As red-light districts have been recognised as one of the primary sources of new COVID-19 infections, they have experienced repeated closures and a significant decrease in the number of people using sex workers’ services. Their former clients not only fear contracting the virus, but many have also lost their jobs because of the pandemic and thus can no longer pay for regular meetings. 

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Rise Welcomes Revolutionary UN Resolution to Protect Survivors

Rise celebrates the announcement of a new United Nations General Assembly Resolution to protect survivors of sexual assault.

Rise is a survivor-led international organization dedicated to protecting and empowering survivors worldwide. (Image credit: Rise)
Rise is a survivor-led international organization dedicated to protecting and empowering survivors worldwide. (Image credit: Rise)

During the State Opening of Parliament address in Freetown on 18 May 2021 H.E. President Julius Maada Bio announced Sierra Leone will become the Lead Facilitator of a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution on access to justice for survivors of sexual violence. 

Sexual violence is a universal issue that demands international recognition. According to the World Health Organization, 35% of women worldwide – 1.3 billion people – are sexual violence survivors. However, the United Nations General Assembly has never passed a resolution focused solely on protections for sexual violence survivors. Around the world, people are demanding recognition and justice for survivors who are denied basic rights and access to information and justice. 

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How The American Jobs Act Strengthens Women in Society

The Biden Harris Administration recently released a statement analyzing how the American Jobs Plan will positively impact women’s employment. 

President Biden and Vice President Harris (Image Credit: uisjournal.com)

Beginning with an acknowledgement of how the last year saw 3.7 million less women working, the Biden Harris administration recently released a statement discussing their efforts to fight against this trend. Since the onset of COVID, many women have taken on more difficult job conditions, while also being responsible for caregiving responsibilities. Discrimination and hardships plague women, especially women of color, as they try to participate in the workforce. Covid-19 has made this situation even worse, and solving this is key to economic recovery. 

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Is High Net Worth Divorce Good for Women’s Philanthropy?

The question has to be asked: is high net worth divorce good for women’s philanthropy?

The way I see it as a gender lens publisher, every day that new information comes out about divorced billionaire men and how badly they treated women is a good day for women’s philanthropy. And every time I see a new headline about Bill Gates and his difficulties with women, I get a distinct feeling we might soon see a new wave of women’s rage philanthropy, directed by Melinda Gates and a cadre of other feminist donors who have had enough of the bullshit.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Building at Carnegie Mellon University (Photo by Jonathan Speek on Unsplash)

I saw people online saying they were worried about the Gates children in all of this. But their children are young adults now. In my experience, young adults are often the first to suggest to miserable parents that they consider divorce. You might just imagine one of the Gates children saying one day, “Mom (or Dad): We’re the richest people in the world. Why are you living in miserable confinement in your relationship?”

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Surviving Sexual Assault to Become a Social Worker and Publisher

As well as being a gender lens publisher and a social worker practicing for over 25 years, I too have been a survivor of sexual assault. Mine was of a particularly insidious kind, all wrapped up in academia. In the process of applying to graduate school for my Masters in Fine Arts for Creative Writing, I got sexually assaulted. Not kidding.

The Recommendation is a short animated film that discusses sexual assault in academia and ways to address the problem. (Image credit: The Recommendation)

Now, some 28 years later, with the perpetrator deceased, I am telling my story. But I still can’t tell it completely because my perpetrator was particularly unstable. He had been hospitalized multiple times for suicidality. He could go from complimenting you to abusing you in the blink of an eye. And he was particularly known for filing lawsuits, should anyone suggest he had problems with women. Given all of that, even with the perpetrator dead, it still isn’t safe to say his name. That’s the patriarchy for you. Even with the dominating male writer no longer among us, we still can’t talk about him safely.

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Asia Foundation to Honor Eileen Fisher and Women In Need

The Asia Foundation’s 2021 Lotus Leadership Awards will honor Eileen Fisher and Women In Need for their work for women in Asia and the Pacific.

The 2021 Lotus Leadership Awards will be held virtually on Wednesday, April 18th at 6pm EST / 3pm PST (Image credit: Asia Foundation)
The 2021 Lotus Leadership Awards will be held virtually on Wednesday, April 18th at 6pm EST / 3pm PST (Image credit: Asia Foundation)

The 2021 Lotus Leadership Awards will honor Eileen Fisher for her pioneering leadership in women’s economic empowerment and sustainability, and Women In Need (WIN), a non-profit partner working to end gender-based violence in Sri Lanka. The celebration will take place virtually on Wednesday, April 28th and features appearances by ABC “Nightline’s” Juju Chang and “Law and Order: SVU” actor Mariska Hargitay.

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