Imagining What Is Possible: This Young Feminist Funder is Growing Women’s Media Globally

FRIDA is a global feminist funder dedicated to social change. It has made $1.3 million in direct grants to over 150 groups in over 80 different countries.

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.

Read more

Bloomberg and Partners Support Philanthropy Strategy Aimed at Female Coffee Farmers

Sustainable Harvest has a wide array of supporters including The Clinton Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Lemelson Foundation. It reports leveraging more than $4 million in development grants from foundations and academic, corporate and institutional partners, to deliver programs that help coffee farmers.

An article from Barista Magazine brings good news for women and coffee aficionados worldwide: the launching of a new program aimed at improving coffee quality and productivity for female farmers in Colombia. The new program is a partnership of Strauss Coffee, Sustainable Harvest and the Relationship Coffee Institute. From the article: 

A lot of things make coffee better—for example, better growing practices, a deeper understanding of soil quality, or more advanced machinery for depulping coffee cherries. Time and again, one of the single biggest contributors to an increase in both coffee quality and outcomes for farmers is investment in women. That’s why Strauss Coffee, one of the largest coffee companies in the world, in partnership with Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers and the Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI), are taking part in a new incentive program aimed at improving the lives of female farmers in Colombia.

Read more

New Study Funded by Global Coalition Sheds Light on Violence Against Women in the Middle East

The new study, called IMAGES MENA for short, is funded by governments, the UN, and the Arcus and Oak Foundations.

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.

Read more

Are Conservatives Taking Over the UN? What are the Implications for Gender Justice?

OURS, which sponsored the new report, Rights at Risk, is a working group that included Planned Parenthood Global, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), and many other global nonprofits.

Recently, one of our lead sponsors, Emily Nielsen Jones, philanthropist and Co-founder of Imago Dei Fund, raised the warning flag about the growing conservative Christian influence on religious culture in the U.S. Now, a new report has come out that warns of a growing conservative religious influence on the United Nations. The report, entitled Rights at Risk and produced by The Observatory on the Universality of Rights (OURS), argues that  “the universality of human rights is under attack by an increasingly coordinated and agile set of anti-rights actors operating in the international human rights sphere.”

Read more

Which Countries Fund Gender Equality Most? And Will #1 Keep Its Spot?

The report, created from data produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), shows where member countries rank in providing funding for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Another day, another fascinating report on the status of gender equality philanthropy. Today I came across the report, Aid in Support of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, and read about how the United States stacks up against other Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member nations in terms of funding gender equality.

The data shows that as of 2014, the U.S. was the largest supporter of gender equality and women’s empowerment among the DAC membership. The report shows that of the $40.2 billion committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment, the U.S. was responsible for $26,211,000 of that. Second behind the U.S. is Japan, with a total of $16,817,000 in total aid screened. (It’s a complicated mix of ways this money is calculated, so you should look at the notes in the report to get an accurate sense of what they mean by “total aid screened” and other terms.) Third behind Japan in total aid screened is EU Institutions, with a total of $16,312,000.

Read more

Discovering America’s History of Black Female Philanthropy: Madam C. J. Walker

American women have not generally been celebrated for their philanthropic activity, so it shouldn’t be surprising that African-American female philanthropists are especially invisible in contemporary culture.

Madam C. J. Walker

But that wasn’t always the case. In the early 20th century, African-American women were engaged in a literal battle for survival in a segregated and violently racist nation. One African- American woman, however, managed to go from being a laundress who sometimes earned less than one dollar a day to becoming one of the first self-made female millionaires in the United States. Her name was Sarah Breedlove, but she was known far and wide as Madam C. J. Walker, the founder of a hair care empire and a noted philanthropist. Walker used her fortune to champion the YMCA, the Tuskegee Institute, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and other important civic and educational organizations.

Read more

Warning: Machismo Kills. How One City in Colombia is Putting Women First

Joaquín Sarmiento/FNPI

If you’ve ever had the notion that your big strong male partner is going to protect you and provide for you, you are not alone. This cultural norm runs particularly deep in Latin cultures, where the term machismo is positively identified by traditional men who see it as their duty to protect and provide for their families. But the negative implications of machismo — violence, rigid gender roles, and the expectation that men should maintain financial control of the family — can have devastating impacts for women and children.

Read more

NATO: Exhibit A of Why We Need More Gender Equality in the World

President Trump, in Belgium on the fourth leg of his overseas trip, met with NATO and European Union leaders. Analysts said expectations were low.

I will let The New York Times fill you on what happened at this meeting with NATO and European Union leaders, but this picture tells a large part of the story about what global leadership looks like today — it is heavily male-dominated. Hopefully as more philanthropy takes on gender equality, we will see the percentages of women in politics increase.

Source: Highlights: In Brussels, Trump Scolds Allies on Cost-Sharing, and Stays Vague on Article 5

Gender Justice Uncovered — Help Promote Sound Judicial Decisions for Gender Equality

The Gender Justice Uncovered Awards help expose  inequities in the justice system for women and girls.

As a social worker, I know too well how local justice systems do not always render judgements that best serve women and girls. I have had the experience of counseling domestic violence survivors still suffering major injuries from a recent assault, and these victims telling me that the offender is already back on the street, and they are afraid for their lives.

So for me, and the clients I serve, it is exciting to learn about the Gender Justice Uncovered Awards, a way to push for better decision-making in the courts worldwide by giving judges positive and negative reinforcement for their decisions involving women and girls.

Read more

Can Philanthropy Do More to Impact Gender Norms for Women and Girls?

It’s always interesting to drill down on a specific population, such as young Latina women, and consider the implications both for that community and for other marginalized communities.

A new report, Gender Norms: A Key to Improving Outcomes Among Young Latinas does just that. The report, prepared in partnership with Hispanics in Philanthropy and Frontline Solutions, takes on the issue specifically of Latina women and how gender norms put them at risk for lower life outcomes.

The paper begins by telling the story of how philanthropy has begun to approach gender in different ways, but still does not integrate gender awareness as broadly as it could.

Read more