If you had the next $150,000 idea, would your job get in the way of making that idea a reality?
The Workers Lab is a funding outlet and think tank dedicated to finding real-world solutions for the problems workers face around the world. As the backbone of companies, countries, and economies, workers are the drivers of transformation in society, but they’re often the first to be cast aside during events like the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of displacements and delays caused by COVID-19, The Workers Lab recently extended the application deadline for its Spring 2020 Innovation Fund award cycle to April 22. COVID impact has also led to the decision to cancel the Innovation Fund Finalist Showcase, typically held in San Francisco after each application cycle. This year, The Workers Lab is looking into virtual presentation options instead.
One small piece of good news about the COVID crisis is that there seems to be more awareness than ever about its gendered impacts. This piece in the New York Times, for example, discusses how women make up the majority of health care workers, and how, on top of that, they are more likely to take on the caregiving of sick people in their own families, and the care of children.
There are lots of things we can do to mitigate these impacts, but it will take conscious effort to resist the pull toward harmful gender norms. More than ever, we need to defend women’s rightful place in leadership and decision-making to end the COVID crisis. Think about it: if we had more women’s leadership at the table right now, say, for example, if Hillary Clinton had become President, we might be taking a much different approach to addressing this crisis, one that recognizes the validity of science and the need for preventative measures in health care.
ReflectUS, the nonpartisan coalition of the nation’s leading women’s representation organizations, is pleased to announce the hire of Tiffany Gardner as the coalition’s new CEO.
“Tiffany’s hire comes at a pivotal moment for the organization, and her leadership will help us capitalize on the heightened civic engagement of a presidential election year and advance the number of women in public office across America,” says Madalene Mielke, ReflectUS Board of Directors Chair and CEO of Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS).
Tiffany brings a decade of extensive international experience in human rights advocacy and domestic public interest. She has worked on women’s rights, human rights and grassroots organizing throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, and the United States. She worked with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the United Nations International Law Commission and Human Rights Watch and recently was the co-founder and director of the One World Exchange Program for under-represented U.S. college students and organized international solidarity coalitions. She is a former Mergers & Acquisitions associate at the New York law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. She received a B.A. from Yale University, a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a LL.M. in human rights law from Columbia University Law School.
We are now heading into our fourth year since our founding in January of 2017 here at Philanthropy Women. Starting and running PW has been a fascinating experience, and in an effort at radical business transparency, I’d like to fill you in on a little of the behind-the-scenes story of why we do what we do, and where we’re going.
Why Do We Do What We Do
Philanthropy Women was born out of my realization that very few people knew about the funders who have made gender equality a growing possibility in our world. Some 93% of these funders are women, and true to gender norms as women, they failed to promote their world-changing work.
This was a loss to society that I wanted to reconcile by showing what feminist givers looks like in real life. I also wanted to expand the definition of feminist giving to encompass a wide array of leaders at every level of society — from direct care workers to CEOs — who are giving their time, energy, and resources for the express purpose of seeing the world become more gender equal.
I was sitting in my office, wincing at the mid-afternoon sun bouncing off the gold dome perched atop the New Hampshire State House five years ago. The slant of the light created a glare that made it hard for me to look interested in the droning of a DC consultant who had cornered me there. He had scheduled meetings with operatives like me to talk about something “big” and “early” in the First in the Nation presidential cycle in New Hampshire – a $15 million spend to “draft Elizabeth Warren.”
Warren had just been elected to the U.S. Senate three years prior. His idea was nested in a paid and earned media schtick. He had donors. He had ideas. I was the lone progressive infrastructure staffer who had just gotten a crash course on running the state’s super PAC coalition to elect democrats up and down the ballot. I had seen a glimpse of the battlefield ahead and could have cared less about his ideas, mainly because he wasn’t actually looking for feedback.
The Ohio River forms at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, and flows southwest nearly 1,000 miles to southern Illinois where it meets the Mississippi River. Several corporations, notably Shell, have projects in the works to produce plastics and chemicals in the Ohio River Valley, and have already begun building ethane cracker plants, pipelines, storage facilities, and other dirty infrastructure. These projects will foul the air and water, exposing residents of parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to toxic emissions, sending health costs from just three proposed plants into the billions over the plants’ lifespan. Moreover, such production exacerbates climate change and make local economies vulnerable to the boom-bust cycles typical of the energy industry.
Editor’s Note: This post is not intended as an endorsement for any candidate for public office. Philanthropy Women is partially funded by fiscal sponsorship through the Women’s Funding Network, a 501c(3) organization, and therefore cannot make any political endorsements.
Many of us have probably read the articles about Bloomberg’s multiple lawsuits involving sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment for women. This post isn’t about that, and that topic is deserving of its own discussion in feminist giving circles. This post is about Bloomberg’s philanthropy for women, and the way his billions impact not just gender equality movements, but also environmental movements and movements for racial justice.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the nonprofit Power to Decide, “the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy.”
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
When I started my career, I really wish I had truly understood the breadth of possibilities available to me. Early on, I had a limited view of what I could achieve professionally. But I have been extremely fortunate to have exceeded even my wildest professional dreams. So, what I have learned is that with grit and vision, anything is possible.
What is your current greatest professional challenge?
Much has been written about fake news, bots, Internet trolls, and the gamut of tech-driven media manipulation that ranges from ad-hoc hoaxes to systematic attempts to hijack civil and political discourse. But there has been a lacuna in this coverage: gender, and the ways in which female politicians are victims of “gendered disinformation.”
In the report “Women, Politics & Power in the New Media World,” gender expert and women’s rights advocate Lucina Di Meco tries to fill this gap. “Millions of dollars are being spent on programs looking at democracy and technology,” she writes. “Almost none of them factors in women in politics. It’s infuriating and doesn’t make any sense.”
This year promises to be a landmark year for American politics. The Presidential campaign, paired with the current impeachment proceedings and an upsurge in female and minority candidates for seats in Congress, makes this one of the most anticipated campaign seasons in recent history. In some states, however, it is already too late to register to vote in the 2020 primary elections.
It’s no secret that America’s voting system is flawed. Voter registration systems and deadlines are often difficult to understand–or to find in the first place. Most states offer voter registration systems by mail, in person, or online, and a small minority offer registration on Election Day with the right materials.