As someone who has spent the past five years of her life studying the way we fund gender equality movements, this is the question I am often left with at the end of the day: Is the world fundamentally unserious about gender equality?
Because the more you look at the data, the more it seems that funding for gender equality is so sidelined and misdirected and poorly tracked and evaluated, that it’s really no wonder that progress is as slow as it is.
Now, a new report by Publish What You Fund and partners helps to elucidate just what funding for gender equality looks like in different nations around the world, and shows us just how little we know about what is going on with this sector of social change funding.
On September 23rd, The Women’s Funding Network will host The Feminist Factor, a virtual conference to discuss feminism across the globe.
Women Funded 2021 is a virtual gathering of all gender and racial justice funders, allies, and individuals committed to place-based solutions across the globe for gender equity. Women Funded ‘21 will explore the intersectional nature of feminism as a driver of our work, of the values that we hold, and how we are collectively building a more equitable future.
This gathering is open to the broader philanthropic and movement community as well as the WFN membership.
Editor’s Note: This post urging passage of the Equal Rights Amendment was originally published on September 3, 2020.
Three weeks ago, I was elected as Board Chair of the Equal Rights Amendment Fund for Women’s Equality. As a funder and champion of women’s rights and economic justice, this call to step up could not have come at a more urgent time.
Each one of us has had many moments of reckoning during COVID-19. But as women of color, we have seen that COVID has treated us differently from the rest. Race has been identified as a co-morbidity and a risk factor, just like diabetes or heart disease. Our healthcare systems, our educational systems, and our systems for protecting essential workers are all struggling mightily against a dangerous and mysterious disease. Basic rights and systems have been demolished for women, and women of color are being particularly hard-hit, facing higher rates of job loss while also being expected to bear more responsibility for caregiving and educating children.
Editor’s Note: This post first appeared on April 14, 2021.
Women’s History Month was definitely one for the books, especially with Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative dispersing $3 million in grants at the end of the month. This newest funding was allocated to four grassroots organizations focused on breaking down educational barriers for women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Sisters of Code is the first female coding club in Cambodia, where the field of technology is heavily male-dominated. The program was established in 2019 to empower female students and support them through education so that they can reach their full potential and grow a new generation of digital creators.
“Girls can often hear that technology is not a career path for a lady,” said Mrs. Natalja Rodinova, Sisters of Code founder. “But why would we exclude 50% of the population not even giving a chance? That is what Sisters of Code wants to challenge.”
Women often feel unwelcome in the tech industry. They get negative comments about their skills, they don’t have enough role models, and they don’t get enough support. Sisters of Code helps girls grow confidence and challenges long-held gender stereotypes by providing an environment where young women can learn directly from other female instructors, encourage each other, and share in their accomplishments.
This summer saw the return of events around the world dedicated to feminist funding, and chief among them was the annual #GenerationEquality Forum, held online and in Paris from June 3oth to July 2nd.
Topics ranged from progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the pandemic’s impact on women’s empowerment to notes on our progress from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The ultimate attitude of the Forum was one of anticipation and excitement: as the impact of the pandemic lessens around the world, we can look forward to a time of progress toward #GenerationEquality goals and recoup the social losses from COVID-19.
When last we spoke with Megha Desai of the Desai Foundation, it felt like the sky was the limit. But like so much else during the pandemic, critical need forced the Foundation to pivot away from their ambitious campaign goals around mask-making, and toward medical aid on the ground.
Like so many other nonprofit organizations, the Desai Foundation has been prompted to learned unexpected (but no less impactful) lessons during COVID. When one door closes, another opens, right? The Desai Foundation, however, also decided to build new doors.
Pivoting from Mask-Making to Other Areas of COVID Response in India
At the beginning of the pandemic, Megha Desai hoped to create a “Masks of Hope” campaign in India and the United States. The plan was to transition the Foundation’s production machines, ordinarily used to manufacture inexpensive menstrual hygiene products for communities in India, into mask manufacturing tools. Once the technique and designs were honed, the plan was to bring those machines back to the United States, bolstering the supplies of PPE moving to first responders and essential workers.
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.
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!
What would happen if we helped communities get deeply engaged in the conversation around fossil fuels? Climate Access, a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating the dialogue around climate change, seeks to answer this question through the power of collective advocacy.
Founded in 2011 to be driving force behind shifting societal awareness, Climate Access generates political and public support and involvement in the fight against climate change. Where other nonprofits focus on on-the-ground solutions, Climate Access works to guarantee that legislature and logistics are in place for grassroots organizations.
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.
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.”