Just as I was remarking on Teresa Tanzi’s courage and how it led to an important victory for women and girls, comes news that the episode is bearing more fruit in terms of raising awareness and taking action.
Adding to the momentum of Teresa Tanzi and other state legislators, Time Magazine is spotlighting 7 female legislators from across the country who are collectively voicing their concerns about sexual harassment, and calling for states to lead the way with creating safer, harassment-free environments for all people.
The piece was cowritten by Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, South Carolina; Rep. Daneya Esgar, Colorado; Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, California; Sen. Sara Gelser, Oregon; Rep. Renitta Shannon, Georgia; Rep. Teresa Tanzi, Rhode Island; and Rep. Litesa Wallace, Illinois.
The news is definitely not all good. But here and there, feminist victories are being won for women and girls. This past week in my home state of Li’l Rhody, we saw a sexual harassment scandal in the state capital blossom into a resignation of an offensive ranking Democratic party official, Joe DeLorenzo. As representative Teresa Tanzi said on Facebook regarding DeLorenzo’s resignation: “This is how we do it. Stand up, speak up and do so relentlessly. And unapologetically.”
Another feminist victories: And then there is the matter of The New Republic’s thirty-year veteran Literary Editor, Leon Weiseltier, who we now know delighted in sexually humiliating women on a daily basis. Thanks to Laurene Powell Jobs, Mr. Weiseltier will no longer be pioneering a new publication called Ideas, since it appears his sexist and misogynist ideas and behavior are part of the problem.
When I first received my copy of Feminism from A to Z, I admit I was dubious. How well would a teenager appreciate being given a book whose contents were organized by the first letters of the alphabet?
But I was so wrong. In fact, the book immediately addressed my first concern by explaining its reasons for its organizing format. And as I began reading each of the chapters, it only took me until about letter D to realize I had just discovered a gold mine of ideas for how to work with young women to build feminist awareness into their identity.
Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece by Xiomara Corpeño is part of a series being provided by Philanthropy Women to help identify and address growing threats to global human rights, particularly for vulnerable groups.
Several weeks ago, I woke up to the sound of my mother’s TV broadcasting the local morning news. “Breaking News! President Trump has reinstated a ban on Transgender troops this morning.” The White House later issued policy guidelines titled, A Guidance Policy for Open Transgender Service Phase Out, which would impact 15,000 trans service members.
Timing couldn’t be better. Today, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it will give $20 million over the next three years to empower women’s organizations globally.
The news comes on the same day that Equal Measures 2030 released a Gender Report along with the Gates Foundation and ONE Campaign Coalition at the United Nations General Assembly, taking place this week in New York.
Some of the new funding from the Gates Foundation will go toward better research and training, as well as multiplying support for grassroots activism in the gender equality sector of development.
If a foundation’s mission is to build more healthy partnerships in the world, what better place to start than with their own internal partnerships? In fact, for Peter and Jennifer Buffett of the NoVo Foundation, developing their own partnership as a couple coincided with developing the mission of their foundation, which is to transform relationships across the globe from “domination and exploitation” to “collaboration and partnership.”
I had approached NoVo wanting to talk to either Jennifer or Peter individually, but, apropos of their partnership approach to philanthropy, I got them both. They spoke to me by phone from their home in the Hudson Valley, about two hours north of New York City.
Young feminists have been organizing across the globe for decades, but their work, particularly in the media sector, has been woefully underfunded. I know, since I was one of them. In 1969, when I co-founded Women Make Movies, women’s funds didn’t exist.
Over the decades, thousands of young activists have gathered at events like the International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development, the flagship event of AWID (Association of Women’s Rights in Development), and have talked about the need for more funding for young feminists, particularly in media. As the last decade closed, many young activists lamented that no women’s fund specifically addressed their youthful organizing needs. So they decided to start their own, with AWID and Fondo Centralamericano de Mujeres (Central America Women’s Fund) incubating this spark of an idea.
A coalition of international and UN organizations, private foundations and governments have come together to produce startling new research on the state of gender norms in the Middle East. The study, entitled Understanding Masculinities: Results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), helps to clarify how cultural norms for both men and women contribute to hostility and violence against women, specifically in the nations of Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine.
Supporters of this effort range from foreign ministries in the Netherlands and Sweden to UN organizations and programs. As well, the Arcus Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, the U.S. Department of State in partnership with Vital Voices, and the Oak Foundation, contributed to funding this report.
The murder of two women joggers in the past week has focused new attention on sexual violence against women. Over the past few years, this issue has been on the agendas of several key sectors of society—including universities, which have grappled with campus sexual assaults; professional sports, where top players have stood accused of attacks; and the military, where rape is common. All of these are different forms of gender based violence.
Philanthropy is another sector paying attention, with new sources of funding appearing in recent years.
Last year, we mentioned that a documentary on campus sexual assault, The Hunting Ground, had inspired a funding effort that includes resources at NEO Philanthropy, an intermediary that works with both funders and nonprofits. It’s not clear how much money that effort has raised, or what these funds have been used for. What is clear that the film brought major attention to campus sexual assault, an issue that has drawn in other funders, too—most notably the Avon Foundation, as we’ve reported.
Here’s the story of how Emily Nielsen Jones and her husband, Ross Jones, discovered their niche of integrating a gender focus into their faith-inspired philanthropy. The Boston-based couple once funded Christian Union, an Ivy League campus ministry, to launch a new branch at their alma mater, Dartmouth College. They were impressed with the organization at first because of its interest in mobilizing students to engage in combating human trafficking.
But as Jones got closer to the organization and started asking gender-related questions, she uncovered that within its own organization, the Christian Union promotes what it calls a “complementarian” leadership structure, which excludes women from top leadership positions. Once the couple gained more awareness about this policy, which creates gender ceilings for both staff and students, they engaged in a dialogue to encourage Christian Union to reconsider its practices of limiting women in the organization.