Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series featuresKen Eulo, a criminal defense lawyer in Central Florida’s Smith & Eulo Law Firm. Eulo has a strong commitment to supporting domestic violence survivors through access to legal services, as well as supporting feminist movements as a male ally.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I wish I had known that my law career would involve advocating for my clients’ rights against the very justice systems sworn to protect them. I consider my first real-life foray into criminal law as having occurred when I went on several “ride-alongs” with Los Angeles’ local police. I was an undergrad studying Criminal Justice and Pre-Law at University of Central Florida at the time, and these experiences with cops in my hometown allowed me to see criminal procedures up close and personal.
IRL has created a new category to highlight events that advocate for gender equality through education and celebration.
As more and more women take positions of leadership across industries, their roles and responsibilities have paved a new path for young women everywhere to pursue their interests, career goals, dreams and aspirations. Thanks to women like Sarah Thomas, the first female to referee the Super Bowl, and other prominent female leaders such as Kamala Harris or Megan Thee Stallion, International Women’s Day will be a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements from women and how much more there is to be done for equality and inclusion.
When the world stops, life keeps going — especially for communities where social isolation and living off of savings are not viable options.
It’s a well-known fact that COVID-19 has made life at the bottom of the social pyramid even harder. Women and girls around the world, particularly in communities of color, are among the hardest hit by the ripple effects of the pandemic. The news reports address loss of income, life, and community, but the lesser-known impacts should not be forgotten.
Access to healthcare, particularly for women, was already a commodity difficult to come by in certain parts of the world. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, women and girls’ access to contraceptives, feminine hygiene products, and maternity care hangs more precariously than ever before.
In the same ways that traditional philanthropy has been historically dominated by white, older, high net worth men, feminist philanthropy has a noticeable population gap in younger age groups. Young women, in particular, in an era of crushing student loans, underemployment, and uncertainty in the face of COVID-19, are noticeably absent from a movement dedicated to their wellbeing.
This is not to say that the younger generations aren’t pulling their weight. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Young activists like Greta Thunberg and Sarah Goody are leading the way to revolutions in social justice and culture change. LGBT+ and POC youth are standing vanguard against discrimination, homophobia, and rollbacks of minorities’ legal rights.
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.
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.
On Thursday, January 28th, the Girls Leadership team and representatives from Open Access, TPG, Morgan Stanley, the National Hockey League, and TIME’S UP gathered to discuss the changing face of the American workforce. Based off of the organization’s pivotal Ready to Lead report, the second of Girls Leadership’s three roundtable discussions focused on the implications of the report’s findings on the workforce of the future.
The report details leadership supports and barriers for Black and Latinx girls and exposes the factors that make it difficult for these girls to rise into leadership positions. External challenges like the tendency for school systems and workforce upper management to be dominated by white employers, leaders, and authority figures, represent a major barrier to Black and Latinx girls carrying their own torches of leadership into the future.
On Tuesday, January 26th, the Philanthropy Women team gathered with representatives from The Jane Club, Women in Global Health (WGH), PSI, and Maverick Collective for a discussion on the ways radical philanthropy, operating alongside women-led movements, can lead to systemic change, particularly in health care services and employment, for women and girls around the world.
Editor-in-Chief Kiersten Marek moderated a discussion between Rena Greifinger of PSI/Maverick Collective and Sarah Hillware of WGH. Hosted by The Jane Club, a network of female-identifying persons and nonbinary and male allies, the event focused on ways to create more equitable healthcare systems by transforming the philanthropic system toward justice.
It’s a herstoric moment. It’s a historic day. It’s the end of the reign of terror that lasted four years under President Donald Trump. It’s the day that a woman of color ascends to one of the highest roles of leadership for our country.
Many women leaders have been inspired to speak today, to tell of how they are experiencing this massive shift in representation for our leadership, which we believe will lead us to becoming a better country. Here are some great responses and reflections from the Founding Mothers of the Ms. Foundation, all incredibly strong and enduring women leaders who capture the monumental nature of this event with their words. They are introduced by Teresa C. Younger, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women.
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:
20.6 billion has been pledged by countries and foundations globally to aid women, children, newborns, and adolescents affected by COVID-19.
(From PMNCH Press Release, December 2020) The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening three decades of improvement in health and social services for women, newborns, children and adolescents.
The well-being of this vulnerable group is being more affected than others due to disruptions to essential health, nutrition and social services since the pandemic, according to senior health experts at The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), a global alliance of more than 1,000 organizations, hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO).