A Leader in Women’s Health Urges Donors to Lean Into Discomfort

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.

Anu Kumar
Dr. Anu Kumar, courtesy of Dr. Anu Kumar

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!

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WDN Presents New Seminar Series on Uplifting Birth Justice

WDN has launched a three-part seminar series covering reproductive justice and its relationships to feminism and anti-racist movements.

WDN's three-part series will be spread across three separate dates: June 1st, June 16th, and July 14th. (Image credit: WDN)
WDN’s three-part series will be spread across three separate dates: June 1st, June 16th, and July 14th. (Image credit: WDN)

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.

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How The American Jobs Act Strengthens Women in Society

The Biden Harris Administration recently released a statement analyzing how the American Jobs Plan will positively impact women’s employment. 

President Biden and Vice President Harris (Image Credit: uisjournal.com)

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. 

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New Campaign Aims to End Period Stigma and Poverty

Plan International USA (Plan) and Always have joined forces to address the period poverty crisis faced by women and girls in a new campaign.

Plan International USA Campaign Image (Image Credit: Plan USA)

Fear and shame are often the emotions most closely associated with menstruation. This has, unfortunately, led to the development of related issues that have yet to be properly addressed. The campaign is devised to raise awareness of these and work towards their betterment

The campaign is spurred on by a report that delves into the multi-faceted issue of menstruation. The report, entitled Menstrual Health & Hygiene “It’s Time to Talk”, details the various insecurities that come along with periods. 

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Senators Call for Biden to Create Office of Reproductive Health

A letter addressed to President Biden and Vice President Harris implores the administration to form a new office for reproductive rights within the White House.

A group of democratic senators have called on the Biden Administration to create an office dedicated to reproductive rights. A letter, first reported to The 19th, was penned by senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkly of Oregon, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Richard Bluementhal of Connecticut. 

reproductive rights
Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senator who co-authored the letter. (Image credit: Elizabeth Warren)

The letter proposes an Office of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Wellbeing that would operate within the White House’s Domestic Policy Council.  In their letter, the senators outline how such an office would function and argue in favor of it.

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Register Now! Critical Discussion on Abortion and Reproductive Justice

On March 3rd, Ipas, ARROW, SAfAIDS, and ASAP will join forces to present a webinar on the importance of a gender lens in healthcare.

Ipas, ARROW, SAfAIDS, and ASAP will discuss important topics concerning women's healthcare and COVID-19 on March 3rd. (Image credit: Ipas)
Ipas, ARROW, SAfAIDS, and ASAP will discuss important topics concerning women’s healthcare and COVID-19 on March 3rd. (Image credit: Ipas)

Building resilient reproductive health access
Why we must use a gender lens during the pandemic and after
 
Wednesday, March 3, 9:00 – 10:30am EST

As International Women’s Day approaches, please join us to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on women is driving innovation and new approaches to expand reproductive health access—right now and for the long term.

Presenters in this webinar will discuss how COVID-19 is impacting all facets of reproductive health and why a gender lens is necessary to overcome challenges and sustain change. And they’ll share examples of promising strategies and programs that can help build a more equitable reality for women and girls after the pandemic.

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Sex Doesn’t Stop for a Pandemic: Maverick Collective Pivots in COVID

When the world stops, life keeps going — especially for communities where social isolation and living off of savings are not viable options.

Maverick Collective connects women and girls around the world with essential sexual and reproductive healthcare. (Image Credit: Maverick Collective/PSI)

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.

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My Survival Is Worth Funding: NCRP’s Brandi Collins-Calhoun

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Brandi Collins-Calhoun, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy Senior Movement Engagement Associate.

Brandi Collins-Calhoun, courtesy of Brandi Collins-Calhoun

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession? 

I’m not sure that there was anything I could do to prepare to enter work that would be grounded in philanthropic feminism, especially knowing that the radicalization of mainstream feminism hasn’t happened across all movements and sectors yet. However, I wish I knew the weight of the shift from my life as an organizer fighting for my survival and safety to be centered, to my current role petitioning that my survival and safety is worth funding. I wish I knew how to find the balance and show up for myself through that process. There is often guilt and weight that comes with centering my needs in this work because this fight is so much bigger than just me, but I am reminded that Audre Lorde named that, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” That balance between holding the sector accountable and caring for myself is a radical act that is necessary for me to continue the work.

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Jaana Rehnström: Bigger Not Always Better, Especially 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:

Dr. Jaana Rehnström, Founder and President of the Kota Alliance, discusses the need for funders to step up for women and girls if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. (Image Credit: Kota Alliance)

Gender equality has been talked about in Europe and the United States since the late 1800s. The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress in 1972, falling short of state ratifications by the original deadline. The CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) was adopted in 1979. The 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 and SDG #5 commits governments to take measures to comply by 2030.

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New 20.6 Billion Pledged for Women, Children, From Call To Action

20.6 billion has been pledged by countries and foundations globally to aid women, children, newborns, and adolescents affected by COVID-19.

PMNCH’s Call to Action raised $20.6 billion for women, children, newborns, and adolescents around the world. (Image credit: PMNCH)

(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).

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