This is just a quick post before taking a few days off to enjoy time with family and friends. We will be covering several important events in upcoming posts, including a fascinating call on Gender Alpha with Suzanne Biegel and David Bank, where they discussed how “Gender Alpha” is all about identifying the specific dividends that gender lens investing yields. Biegel and Bank are co-producers of November’s Gender-Smart Investing Summit in London. Guests on the call included Luisamaria Ruiz Carlile of Veris Wealth Partners, which specializes in gender lens investing and research.
And one other quick note to acknowledge the significance of the recent elections, where voter turnout was higher than it has been in 104 years. That’s right — the last time voter turnout was as high as it was in 2018 was in 1914, before women even had the right to vote. Now that women and millennials are getting into the driver’s seat with social change, we hope to see even better voter turnout in 2020. I don’t know about you, but I am mighty thankful that people are finally getting the message (it seems!) about the importance of civic engagement. That could mean in 2020 we elect a President that gets us back on track in terms of valuing safety, diversity, and systems change to address inequality.
The election of Donald Trump has sparked a wave of political activism never seen before, particularly among progressive donors.
According to the Center for Responsive Politic’s data, the top 154 donors spent a combined total of over $700 million this election cycle, with Democrats and progressives spending an estimated total of $327 million in this election, and Republicans and conservatives spending an estimated $350 million.
While the Center for Responsive Politics is reporting that this year’s midterms were by far the most expensive in history, with a large share of that spending coming from the right, another large share of that spending involved progressive women donors opening their wallets to fund the protection of key civil liberties including reproductive rights, health care, and social inclusion.
One thing is for sure: there are not enough financial supports out there for women. As a woman myself developing the sustainability of my publishing work, I am always on the look-out for ways to get a stronger foothold in my own business/nonprofit niche, and I know many women who are in the same boat. Banks and investors routinely discriminate against women entrepreneurs when giving small business loans and venture capital, so where can women entrepreneurs turn when they are angling to start successful small businesses?
Once you study women’s philanthropy for long enough, you begin to recognize that a confluence of events relating to women and giving are changing the philanthropy landscape in significant ways. One of the scholars who has studied women’s philanthropy and done this dot-connecting is Kathleen E. Loehr. In her new book, Gender Matters: A Guide to Growing Women’s Philanthropy, Loehr addresses the important question of how fundraisers and those committed to women’s giving can take specific actions that will increase women’s philanthropy – already an area of giving scheduled for a large uptick in the near future.
Just how sexist is the state you live in? As it turns out, we live in a relatively low-sexism state, Rhode Island, whereas states like Utah, Arkansas, and Alabama have some of the highest rates of “mean overall sexism,” as reported in a new study from the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago.
The title of the paper is “The Effects of Sexism on American Women: The Role of Norms vs. Discrimination,” which boils down to these findings:
The paper explains that sexist beliefs, especially those embedded early in life, have a significant impact on a woman’s ability to earn and to move up the social class ladder.
Both sexism in your birth state and in the state you live currently impact your wages and likelihood of having a job if you are a woman. Background sexism, the type of sexism a woman experiences as a girl, impact a woman’s outcomes “even after she is an adult living in another place through the influence of norms that she internalized during her formative years.”
Residential sexism, the sexism a woman experiences where she currently lives, impacts wages and job opportunities, due to male-dominated markets practicing discrimination.
Prejudice-based discrimination, founded on prevailing sexist beliefs and cultural norms that vary across states, drive lower wages and less job opportunities for women.
This study is helpful to have handy in case anyone tries to make the argument that the playing field is level for women in the United States. In fact, the playing field is full of major pits and grooves and is still giving men a decided advantage in the job markets. We have a long way to go before we are anywhere near leveling the playing field for women.
Feminist leader and journalist Marianne Schnall’s eight-year-old daughter had a striking question after the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Why have we not had a woman president?
The question wouldn’t go away for Schnall, and soon she found herself bringing it up to thought leaders and scholars, trying to figure out what it would take to put a woman in the highest governmental office in America.
One thing Schnall realized in this process was the need for stronger coalition-building across progressive movements. “This isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a human issue. It’s an issue of having a reflective democracy, and that’s why we need to have men be part of these conversations,” said Schnall.
Feminist philanthropists take note: The 25th Anniversary issue of GreenMoney is entitled Women and Investing, and is written entirely by women. Here are some quick summaries of the top articles.
Julie Gorte of Pax World/Impax AM:
In her piece, Gender Equality: With or Without the Federal Government, Gorte notes that the current GOP administration is less gender-diverse than the previous five (FIVE!) administrations. Gorte contends that there are many other ways that gender equality can be effected besides federal policy. She points to recent moves in corporations pushing for more board diversity, and provides evidence for gender equality being a significant stimulus to local economies.
While some feminist thought leaders such as Chief Executive of Women’s World Banking of Ghana, Charlotte Baidoo, are calling on microfinance institutions to do more when it comes to lending to women, Root Capital is beginning a new partnership with the Australian Government to do just that.
Root Capital will partner with the Australian Government’s program, Investing in Women, to deploy $2 million AUD (approximately $1.49 million U.S. dollars) in a ten-year program to support women business owners in South East Asia. As a partner of Investing in Women, Root Capital plans to bring in private sector co-investments for women’s small and medium-sized agricultural businesses in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
While there has been a recent rise in the number of women running for offices across the United States, the journey towards gender equality in politics is not moving fast enough. Statistics shown in a recent paper written by Saskia Brechenmacher, an associate fellow in Carnegie’s Democracy and Rule of Law Program, prove that gender equality in politics is still far from reach, yet many European countries have come significantly closer to this goal. Brechenmacher’s paper provides research about the efforts of such countries and identified moves the United States can make to reach gender equality sooner.
There’s the philanthropy that happens when people invest money to promote social change, and then there’s the philanthropy that happens when people take their money and their talent, and employ them in a way that addresses a social problem. Celebrities, particularly multi-talented and highly educated ones, have a unique capacity to combine their financial capital, talent, and public stature in order to push for needed social change.
That appears to be part of what happened when Israeli-American filmmaker Sigal Avin teamed up with several feature actors including David Schwimmer, Cynthia Nixon and Bobby Cannavale, to film a series of six short films called, “That’s Harassment.” In each of these three to six minute cinéma verité shorts, the viewer is positioned as a cringing voyeur while scenes of sexual harassment unfold. Since debuting in the spring of 2017, these films have been adapted into 30 second public service announcements that are getting wide visibility.