Pilot to accelerate gender parity in politics launched in Michigan, Mississippi, and Washington
Today, The Ascend Fund, a collaborative fund dedicated to accelerating the pace of change toward gender parity in U.S. politics, announced $600,000 in grant awards to 13 nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations in Michigan, Mississippi, and Washington as part of a pilot project designed to increase the number of diverse women serving in state legislatures.
“Recent debates in state legislatures over abortion, voting rights, and other critical issues illustrate the increasing power of state lawmakers in politics. We want to ensure that everyone affected has a seat at the table in crafting such foundational bills,” said Abbie Hodgson, Director of The Ascend Fund.
Editor’s Note: The following essay is by By Dr. Susan M. Blaustein, Founder and Executive Director, WomenStrong International.
As someone who has funded and worked with women’s organizations to advance gender justice, human rights, and global development, I learned long ago that women always know what they and their families and communities need, in order to thrive; they simply lack the financial and technical resources needed to put their solutions into practice.
That’s why I celebrate the recent high-profile donor efforts to invest in women’s priorities. Yet, even with these bold commitments, the total philanthropic support for women’s organizations remains a paltry fraction – 1.6 percent — of U.S. grantmaking, according to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s latest Women and Girls Index, published by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. If we hope to improve the lives of and opportunities for women and girls worldwide, those percentages must rise dramatically.
During an afternoon session of Women Funded 2021, Cazembe Murphy Jackson (We Testify) joined Brandi Collins-Calhoun (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy) and Megan Murphy Wolf (WFN) for a discussion on trans equity and feminism through abortion access. Jackson, who has been an advocate for Black and trans rights across his career, shared his experiences as a Black, Southern, queer, trans organizer.
Storytelling as the Path Toward Trans Rights
“I don’t hear a lot of trans men talking about abortions,” said Jackson. “I want to tell my story so that other people like me will know that they can get an abortion and that there is somebody who went through a similar situation to what they’re going through.”
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Favianna Rodriguez, President of The Center for Cultural Power, a national organization investing in artists and storytellers as agents of positive social change.
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I wish I’d known more about the racial and gender barriers that exist for women of color leaders in the non-profit sector, particularly the arts and culture space. I knew how to pitch my ideas and raise money, but I lacked information on how to navigate situations in which I was experiencing unequal treatment due to my gender and racial identity. I was in many spaces where the safety of women was not prioritized. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years of being an institutional leader, I’ve experienced numerous uncomfortable situations including sexual harassment, the theft of my ideas by male leaders, being bullied by men when I challenged sexist assumptions, and being trained to lead in a boy’s club type of approach. Before, I didn’t have the language or tools to navigate these situations. But that has since changed, and I’m incredibly thankful for that because it gives me the opportunity to create safe spaces for other female and gender non-confirming leaders to thrive.
Women’s health is the cornerstone of all healthy communities. The collection speaks to the brand’s core mission to elevate women and inspire change, encouraging women to focus on their own health and take care of each other so that no one is neglected. Unfortunately, due to gender and racial bias in medicine, women are less likely to have pain treated, symptoms taken seriously, or be given a diagnosis, all of which can have serious implications.
Editor’s Note: This dual interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke, who are, respectively, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of the Pop Culture Collaborative, a philanthropic resource and funder learning community.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
Bridgit Antoinette Evans: I wish that I’d been introduced to Octavia E. Butler much earlier in life. Octavia wrote about this concept of “positive obsession,” which she described as “not being able to stop just because you’re afraid and full of doubts.” My mother and her siblings were leaders in the Civil Rights movement in Savannah, and while she fiercely believed that her daughters could be anything we wanted to be in the world, she was very clear that we needed to be improving the world while doing it. I wanted to be an artist, and so, as a teen, I became obsessed with one question: “What is the relationship between a great story and widespread cultural change?”
Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on August 18, 2020, before Kamala Harris became the first female Vice President of the United States.
“We’re gonna get it done.” These were some of the first words spoken by Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris in her phenomenal half-hour interview with Errin Haines, Editor-at-Large for the 19th, during the 19th Represents Summit on Friday. Harris’s plans to “get it done” refer to the upcoming Presidential election, and her goal to join Joe Biden in leading the U.S. out of one of its worst crisis periods in history.
Haines began the interview by asking what it was like for Kamala Harris to be in competition with women she respected and worked with, other candidates who were running for President and were in the lead to be asked to fill Biden’s ticket for the Vice President spot.
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!
WDN has launched a three-part seminar series covering reproductive justice and its relationships to feminism and anti-racist movements.
For the last ten years, birth justice service providers, advocates and funders have been pushing to improve US maternal health. Join WDN for a three-part series on birth justice and come away with an understanding of what the birth justice movement is, how it connects to the reproductive justice movement, and what it means to invest in it with an anti-racist, feminist lens.
Each session will cover a distinct topic with a panel of leaders from the birth justice movement. You can choose to go to as many or as few of the sessions as you’d like, in any order. Click “register” to select the sessions you’d like to attend.
The Biden Harris Administration recently released a statement analyzing how the American Jobs Plan will positively impact women’s employment.
Beginning with an acknowledgement of how the last year saw 3.7 million less women working, the Biden Harris administration recently released a statement discussing their efforts to fight against this trend. Since the onset of COVID, many women have taken on more difficult job conditions, while also being responsible for caregiving responsibilities. Discrimination and hardships plague women, especially women of color, as they try to participate in the workforce. Covid-19 has made this situation even worse, and solving this is key to economic recovery.