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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Fidelity Charitable has come out with a new report on trends in women’s giving, and it is definitely food for thought for anyone in the women’s philanthropy field.
The report delves into generational differences in giving between Millennial women and Boomer women.
Before talking about the report’s findings, I want to draw attention to the methodology, so we know specifically who we are talking about when we talk about Millennials and Baby Boomers. The report used survey data from Millennials, which they defined as women age 17 to 37, and Baby Boomers, which they defined as women age 51 to 71. So women in the 37 to 51 range (like me!) are not being talked about in the report.
One thing these two populations have in common is not prioritizing gender equality as an issue area for their giving. “Hunger and Access to Nutritious Food” is the number #1 giving issue for both Millennial and Baby Boomer women. Giving Issues #2 and 3 are mainly focused on health care for both generations of women, with Millennials putting environmental concerns in the #3 spot. That makes a lot of sense, given that younger people have had more experiences of the negative environmental effects of global warming, and the science about the problem has become clearer in recent decades.
One finding that struck me as most significant was about the meaning of philanthropy for Millennials, and how they weave it into every aspect of their life, including their love lives. As the report puts it, “Both generations discuss donations with their partner, but 46 percent of Millennials view giving as a way to deepen their relationships, compared with just 16 percent of Boomer women.”
Millennial women expect their partners to go deep with them into strategy around their giving. And perhaps even more significant: Millennials are willing to voice their differences of opinion about giving with their partner and face conflict about it. According to the report, 37% of Millennials women have disagreed with their partner/spouse, compared to only 26% of Baby Boomer women.
This may sound like a small finding, but it has huge implications. Theoretically, if you can tolerate conflict about something (like the partners/spouses of millennial women givers must do, according to this data) you are one step closer to real change. This means younger women may have an important new channel for impacting the world, by having more say over philanthropic giving.
Now if only Millennial and Baby Boomer women (and Generation X women in between) would consider the value of supporting philanthropy for gender equality, we might be able to effect some significant social change.
It’s Time Network hosted a conference call this past week that gave a window for states across the country to learn about California’s efforts to grow gender equality movements. The call featured Jessica Stender of Equal Rights Advocates, who has been coordinating and enacting many steps of a legislative agenda for women in California. The call was well-received nationally, with people registered from 16 states.
From Betsy McKinney and the It’s Time Network team:
Thank you for joining us for Tuesday’s virtual convening to learn about how we can support policy agendas that lift women and children out of poverty, ensure fair pay and family-friendly workplaces, and more, focusing on the Stronger California legislation.
Here are some actions you can take now to build momentum around action for women’s rights:
Join the network to be invited to participate in future convenings, connect with others in your city who are working for change, support collective action for women’s rights, and more
Please note that this call will cover topics of interest to all who support gender equity, whether or not you live in Denver, as we’ll provide information about how you can apply these learnings to your own city.
On June 10th, an authoritative voice leading the resistance and challenging both the left and right, Joy-Ann Reid, will receive the George Curry Drum Major for Justice Award for Excellence in Journalism.
The award ceremony, Say Her Name: 20 Years of Intersectionality in Action, will be hosted by Kimberlee Crenshaw, co-founder of AAPF and professor of law at Columbia University and UCLA. Crenshaw is also a major figure in the movement to fund philanthropy specifically for women and girls of color.
The ceremony will also mark the 20th anniversary for AAPF, and will include playwright/activist Eve Ensler, as well as Rep Keith Ellison (D-MN-5), who has been a supporter of the rights of Muslim Americans and received the Utne Reader’s Visionary Award in 2011 for his work.
As the host of “AM Joy” on MSNBC and a columnist for The Daily Beast, Reid has been critical of both liberal and conservative politicians and has used her platform to combat injustices against vulnerable communities.
In her recent book Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide, Reid calls out the Democrats’ reluctance to more directly address issues of race. Since the Trump administration took office, Reid has been a major leader in providing journalism that highlights the new President’s regressive policies.
“Joy-Ann Reid’s work to amplify the voices of Black women leaders through the Reid Report and The Grio is both necessary and inspiring,” said Crenshaw, in a press release announcing the award.
Recent initiatives by the AAPF have included: #SayHerName, which responded to the deaths of young African-American men by calling attention to the ongoing violence against black women, and #HerDreamedDeferred, a week long series of panels and discussions at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles which highlighted black women and girls’ experiences.
The AAPF journalism award is named for George E. Curry, who passed away in 2016. Curry was “the embodiment of journalistic integrity, committing his career to advancing civil rights” through his immense body of writing for Black newspapers nationally. Curry, like Reid, was also known for challenging and critiquing political leadership on both the left and right.
Of the $71.4 trillion dollars controlled by the asset management industry, only 1.1 percent of total assets under management are with firms owned by women and minorities.
You heard that right. Although the number of firms that are women- or minority-owned can range from 3 to 9% across the four different asset categories in the industry, assets controlled by those firms account for only 1.1% of all assets under management.
A press release from the Knight Foundation, which commissioned the study, states that this is the most in-depth study to date about ownership diversity in asset management. Additional analysis revealed that the 1.1% managed by women and minorities had no difference in performance from the 98.9% non-diverse asset management industry.
“While diverse-owned firms have grown in representation in recent years, the growth has been moderate and has not uniformly occurred across all asset classes,” states the report’s conclusions.
How did the Knight Foundation come to study asset diversity? Quite naturally. The study grew out of the Knight Foundation’s own efforts to diversity its endowment. Over the past decade, Knight moved 22 percent of its endowment — a total of $472 million dollars — into management by women- and minority-owned firms.
“This study, and our experience, confirm that there is no legitimate reason not to invest with diverse asset managers in the 21st century,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation.
The study was led by Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School, and the Bella Research Group. Lerner is Chair of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School and the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking.