You work in a nonprofit that supports strengthening diversity and being conscious of race and gender bias, and yet you feel discriminated against year after year, as you are bypassed for promotions and other career advancement opportunities. It’s a familiar story for many LGBTQ people of color, and now a new report has come out that fills a big research gap — the lack of data on leadership of LGBTQ people of color in the nonprofit industry.Read More
A massive defunding for women is now under consideration in the United States Senate. All told, it represents billions of dollars annually that will come straight out of primarily women’s wallets.
You may not usually think of the federal government as a philanthropic institution. Yet from our country’s start, congressional acts have subsidized various segments of the population and for a variety of reasons. Take the 1792 Postal Act. A spirited debate went on in the second session of Congress, over maintaining access to information. That Congress voted to create low postal rates for newspapers and to improve roads by creating postal routes to ensure expansion and development of our fledgling country, rather than solely serve existing communities. Americans still benefit from reduced media postal rates today.Read More
Here’s a good idea: Encouraging funders to adopt language in their contracts with grantees that spells out how the grantees will prevent gender-based abuse and harassment and provide safety for everyone in the work environment.
An article by Sophie Edwards in Devex discusses some new research from Humanitarian Women’s Network that shows just how serious the problem of gender-based harassment still is in the aid and relief work sector. The Devex article spells out some specific ways that funders of international aid can help protect aid workers from gender-based harassment and abuse. From the article:Read More
For Helen LaKelly Hunt, three central passions drive her work: funding for gender equality, changing the culture of intimate relationships, and rethinking the historical roots of American feminism. These three passions all come together in a new way with the publication of her latest book.
“Jennifer Baumgardner gets much credit. After all, she published this book,” said Helen, in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. “And as a result of Jennifer’s passion, I always remind her, this book has two mothers.” Baumgardner is the Publisher at The Feminist Press, which released Helen’s book this past May.Read More
One of the things I love about Ellevate Network is the way they are bringing together authority, autonomy, and agency in order to grow gender equality movements. Sallie Krawcheck comes with the authority in finance, she has now launched Ellevate which gives her vision more autonomy, and today Ellevate is taking a big step to increase the agency of gender equality movements by hosting its first-ever summit to mobilize gender equality movements.
From the Summit’s webpage:
Action. Impact. Power.
These words are some of the ones we deal with every day at Ellevate Network. We know women have power (after all we hold trillions of dollars in investable assets, control 86% of consumer spending and are starting businesses at a faster pace than men.) And yet, there is still gender inequality.Read More
Recently, I got an email from Stephanie Gillis, Senior Advisor at the Raikes Foundation, wanting to “explore potential synergies” with the work we are doing at Philanthropy Women. Naturally, I was eager to do so, and soon learned about Givingcompass.org, a new team effort of several foundations and nonprofits, aimed at drawing on the chops of the tech sector in order to provide more resources for the philanthropy sector, particularly around how to assess the quality of philanthropy and get the most impact per philanthropy dollar.Read More
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
I have spent the past few years observing, writing about, and getting more involved in the world of women’s philanthropy. During that time, multiple experts have referred to the work of Kimberlé Crenshaw as being essential to the changes we now see going on in philanthropy, with more efforts to apply both a gender and race lens when framing problems and funding new strategies.
Indeed, with her scholarship, advocacy, and legal expertise, Crenshaw has helped build and disseminate whole new areas of knowledge including critical race theory and intersectional theory. These concepts have helped philanthropists like Peter Buffett and organizations like the NoVo Foundation apply an inclusive gender and race lens that values and addresses the needs of women and girls of color in the United States.Read More
I had an amazing discussion today with Helen LaKelly Hunt about how funders are aligning across the political spectrum to help strengthen families, and within this approach there is huge potential for gender equality agendas to be realized.
In the context of Helen’s work as both a relationship expert and a philanthropy expert, she sees clearly how philanthropy can do more to build relationship skills, and in doing so make progress for gender equality. As she puts it, “teaching relational skills transforms the family and bring gender equality to the family.”
Right after talking to Helen, I happened upon this article from the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) entitled “Families Can Drive Gender Equality, but Only if We Help Them Evolve.” AWID has been around for over 30 years and describes itself as “an international, feminist, membership organisation committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights.”
The article discusses the “deeply paradoxical” nature of family for women, as an environment that brings “love and life but also struggle, inequality and, far too often, violence.”
These are exactly the issues that Helen LaKelly Hunt’s new book synthesizes: How transforming relationships across culture, including within families, is key to moving away from rigid gender norms that reduce life outcomes for women and girls.
Stay tuned for an article I am working on that discusses the implications for philanthropy of Helen’s new book, And the Spirit Moved Them: The Lost History of America’s First Feminists. For now, here’s a snippet of the article by Shahrashoub Razavi on AWID:
In 2012, 47% of all women who were victims of homicide were killed by an intimate partner or family member, versus just 6% of men, according to the United Nations’ Global Study on Homicide.
Evidence also shows that family income and resources are not necessarily pooled or shared equally between partners, practices that can entrench domestic gender inequality. Men in both the developed and developing world are also more likely than women to use family income for personal spending and to have more leisure time.
How can we make families work better for women?
International Day of Families is a good moment to reflect on this question and consider how families might change to become agents of gender equality and female empowerment.
In international law, the protection of the family is closely linked to the principle of equality and non-discrimination, meaning that all members of a family must enjoy the same liberties and rights regardless of gender or age.
As social realities change, perceptions of just what non-discrimination looks like have also evolved.
Today, many countries, including Brazil, Finland and Spain, recognise same-sex partnerships, while others offer legal protections for children born out of wedlock and for single-parent families. That would have been unthinkable just 50 years ago.
Such rapid shifts, though, can incite a backlash from people who fear that new familial structures threaten their personal beliefs, religious values or social norms.
To help families become more gender equal, it is important to be clear about what changes are required and what, concretely, these changes entail. Only doing this will allow policies seeking to empower women and girls really work.
Women Who Wait
Things are already trending in the right direction. Around the globe, women’s voice and agency within the family are growing. In many parts of the world, women are also postponing marriage, in part because they are attending school for longer and building a career.
In the Middle East and North Africa, regions where marriages have tended to be early and universal, women delayed marriage for between three and six years (depending on the country) between the 1980s and 2010s. By 2010, the mean marrying age for the region’s women ranged from 22 to 29 years and in nearly all countries it now surpasses the legal minimum age of marriage without parental consent.
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.
From the paper:
Few social justice foundations today would seek to create portfolios that were race and class blind, and fewer still fund grantees that offered race- or class- blind programs, particularly in communities of color. That’s because they know that addressing underlying structures of oppression like race and class race and class makes efforts more effective.
Yet most funders still don’t consider gender an essential lens for their funding strategy, although — as international donors continue to prove — reconnecting race, class, and gender in a truly “intersectional” approach.
As funder Loren Harris (an early leader on gender and former director with the Ford and WK Kellogg Foundations) has pointed out, gender impacts every issue funders deal with; yet most funders and grantees overlook or ignore gender norms, or disconnect them from core concerns like race and class.
Now that is finally changing. A core of leading funders like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Endowment, Ford Foundation, and Heinz Endowments have moved forward important grants in this area. Leading funder networks like A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities (ABFE), Women’s Funding Network, and Women Moving Millions have all published papers placing gender norms at the center of racial, social, and economic justice work.
The paper speaks to three specific areas where gender norms have a negative impact on women and girls:
• Basic health, including health care seeking and depression and suicide;
• Reproductive and sexual health, teen pregnancy, and intimate partner violence; and
• Education, including school pushout policies, economic security, and STEM
It finishes with recommendations, including that funders convene a national conference on how gender norms impact Latina women and girls. Other recommendations focus on funders supporting more empirical research on Latina women and how they are influenced by gender norms. Still others focus on training grantees about gender norms.
Recommendations also include impacting culture by creating social media campaigns to raise awareness about how gender norms influence problems like the high rate of suicide for Latina women. Finally, the recommendations call for more collaboration between stakeholders, particularly those with legal influence such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).
This paper helpfully addresses Latina women in the context of the larger problem: that much of philanthropy lacks a gender lens, and this contributes to major gaps in effectiveness. It also gives practical and achievable recommendations for how to address the problems raised.
While problems intersect in different ways, the lessons of this paper could be applied to other marginalized women’s populations, including women of different race and class backgrounds. Now that data is more widely available, it is time for the dominant culture to recognize the damage of rigid gender norms. Armed with data, pressure from many different marginalized communities to address the ill effects of rigid gender norms, may aid the cause of improving civil society.
Final note: The paper is published by an organization called TrueChild, which is a fascinating place to visit in and of itself. The mission of TrueChild is to “help donors, policy-makers and practitioners reconnect race, class and gender through “gender transformative” approaches that challenge rigid gender norms and inequities.”Read More