Recently, I listened in on a call hosted by Catalyst at Large Suzanne Biegel, and author David Bank of Impact Alpha. Guests on the call included Luisamaria Ruiz Carlile of Veris Wealth Partners, which specializes in gender lens investing and research.
The call provided fascinating insights into the world of gender lens investing. Though in its early formative years, gender lens investing is a growing area of financial investment that is destined for big things.
Biegel began the call by giving an overview of both the expanding language and the expanding financial investments in the gender lens investing sector. “Gender lens investing is still small in the relative scheme of things, but it’s so much bigger than it was,” said Biegel. She shared the latest statistics from Project SAGE at the Wharton School of Business Social Impact, which turned up a record 87 funds that are now investing with a gender lens, with 46 of those funds being new creations that occurred between 2017 and 2018.
This is just a quick post before taking a few days off to enjoy time with family and friends. We will be covering several important events in upcoming posts, including a fascinating call on Gender Alpha with Suzanne Biegel and David Bank, where they discussed how “Gender Alpha” is all about identifying the specific dividends that gender lens investing yields. Biegel and Bank are co-producers of November’s Gender-Smart Investing Summit in London. Guests on the call included Luisamaria Ruiz Carlile of Veris Wealth Partners, which specializes in gender lens investing and research.
And one other quick note to acknowledge the significance of the recent elections, where voter turnout was higher than it has been in 104 years. That’s right — the last time voter turnout was as high as it was in 2018 was in 1914, before women even had the right to vote. Now that women and millennials are getting into the driver’s seat with social change, we hope to see even better voter turnout in 2020. I don’t know about you, but I am mighty thankful that people are finally getting the message (it seems!) about the importance of civic engagement. That could mean in 2020 we elect a President that gets us back on track in terms of valuing safety, diversity, and systems change to address inequality.
Two new reports from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute point to the increasing influence and diversity of giving circle (GC) members, and the challenges present when established foundations serve as “hosts” for GCs.
The reports are authored by the Collective Giving Research Group (CGRG) which was formed in 2015 as a collaborative “to explore and understand the dynamics of giving circles and other forms of collective giving.” Its members include scholars and consultants in the areas of philanthropy, public affairs and public administration, and it has institutional support from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), which is part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Funding for the reports came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation via the WPI, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
The election of Donald Trump has sparked a wave of political activism never seen before, particularly among progressive donors.
According to the Center for Responsive Politic’s data, the top 154 donors spent a combined total of over $700 million this election cycle, with Democrats and progressives spending an estimated total of $327 million in this election, and Republicans and conservatives spending an estimated $350 million.
While the Center for Responsive Politics is reporting that this year’s midterms were by far the most expensive in history, with a large share of that spending coming from the right, another large share of that spending involved progressive women donors opening their wallets to fund the protection of key civil liberties including reproductive rights, health care, and social inclusion.
According to a new study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, giving by women to progressive causes after the election of Donald Trump took off like never before. In fact, the study shows that women’s giving to progressive causes outstripped men’s by six-fold.
These findings add significantly to the growing evidence that women are using their financial power to drive political change. More from WPI:
“I firmly believe that data not only measure progress but inspire it,” said Hillary Rodham Clinton recently, referring to the potential uses for the inaugural Women, Peace and Security Index, a new tool for measuring the role of women in making progress on global peace and security. Clinton recognized “the work that remains to confront the violence, injustice, and exclusion that still hold back too many women and girls around the world,” but she believes this new global index on women, peace and security will help “to inform public debate and discussion and hold decision-makers to account.”
Just how sexist is the state you live in? As it turns out, we live in a relatively low-sexism state, Rhode Island, whereas states like Utah, Arkansas, and Alabama have some of the highest rates of “mean overall sexism,” as reported in a new study from the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago.
The title of the paper is “The Effects of Sexism on American Women: The Role of Norms vs. Discrimination,” which boils down to these findings:
The paper explains that sexist beliefs, especially those embedded early in life, have a significant impact on a woman’s ability to earn and to move up the social class ladder.
Both sexism in your birth state and in the state you live currently impact your wages and likelihood of having a job if you are a woman. Background sexism, the type of sexism a woman experiences as a girl, impact a woman’s outcomes “even after she is an adult living in another place through the influence of norms that she internalized during her formative years.”
Residential sexism, the sexism a woman experiences where she currently lives, impacts wages and job opportunities, due to male-dominated markets practicing discrimination.
Prejudice-based discrimination, founded on prevailing sexist beliefs and cultural norms that vary across states, drive lower wages and less job opportunities for women.
This study is helpful to have handy in case anyone tries to make the argument that the playing field is level for women in the United States. In fact, the playing field is full of major pits and grooves and is still giving men a decided advantage in the job markets. We have a long way to go before we are anywhere near leveling the playing field for women.
We’ve made the point here before, but we’ll make it again: the research is looking quite promising for supporting the idea that women make better political leaders. Some new findings recently published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization could become a big deal in today’s gendered political world, and could have huge implications for the future of civil society.
Feminist philanthropy is based on a growing body of knowledge demonstrating how gender equality improves civil society. This research is branching out in new directions all the time, studying and identifying ways that gender equality impacts every level of social functioning, from intimacy to politics to technology. I’ve rounded up just a few examples of the latest research that backs up the claim that a feminist world is a potentially healthier world for everyone.
Both Men and Women Sleep Better in More Equal Societies: A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family confirms that one of the most fundamental building blocks to health and well-being, sleep, is facilitated better in societies with less sexism. When we sleep better, we function better overall, making this study another important example of the deep health and well-being pay-offs that gender equality brings to the table.
BlackHer helps Track the Candidates and Provides Support: A new platform is helping to get the word out about Black women running for office in 2018, and is also a hub for research and advocacy for a more representative democracy. One of the great benefits of the internet is its ability to inform the voting public. This website is a great new place to gather information and help get more progressive Black women elected.
Study: Artificial Intelligence Can Be Used to Promote Gender Equality: It’s true: the tech bots can be on our side in the battle for more equality and less sexism in society. Coming out of Ireland, this article is part of a three-part series that looks at how “AI can help employers promote gender equality, including gender pay gap reporting, encouraging gender diversity and fostering collaborative workplaces.”
Kathleen Loehr’s New Book, Gender Matters: A Guide to Growing Women’s Philanthropy: If you’re a feminist philanthropy newshound like me, you might want to pre-order this one. Kathleen Loehr, a longtime consultant and expert in the realm of women’s philanthropy, is coming out with a new book that promises to identify the specific changes that organizations, teams, and individuals in philanthropy need to make in order to increase support for women. This will be a must-read for fundraisers in the feminist philanthropy realm who want to understand how to get their message across and help donors do more gender equality work.
Feminist Philanthropy of a Different Sort: Donating Your Research and Writing to Wikipedia: I’m always intrigued when women (and men!) find new ways to give of their time and talent for the cause of gender equality. Jess Wade, a physicist living in London, challenged herself to write one Wikipedia biography a day on the undiscovered world of star female scientists. As of 2016, only 17% of Wikipedia entries cover women. Wade decided to use her passion for diversity in the sciences to provide more knowledge to the world free of charge and on her own time, setting a powerful example for all of us on how we can each do our part to build a world where women are seen and recognized for their contributions and accomplishments. Bravo, Jess Wade!
When I told my husband I was going to a three-day retreat on gender reconciliation, he was genuinely excited for me, but he couldn’t help getting in a sarcastic reference to cliché. “Are you going to hold hands and sing kumbaya?” he asked.
I thought for a moment, and then my eyes lit up. “I think so!” I said.
The Gender Equity and Reconciliation International (GERI) retreat held in Framingham, MA did indeed involve some hand-holding and song-singing. But it also did much more, traveling into a realm of meaningful communication and understanding where I have never been before.