Driving Opportunity for Women and Girls in the COVID World

Editor’s Note: The following essay is by  Brenda Darden Wilkerson, CEO of AnitaB.org, a leading organization and grantmaker for women in technology.

2020 has had no shortage of challenges. The many losses of COVID-19 compounded with the painful yet necessary ripple effects of the rising social justice movement have called into question how we personally and professionally work.

Brenda Darden Wilkerson, CEO of AnitaB.org, shares her expertise on how to employ and empower more women in the COVID world. (Image credit: AnitaB.org)

While the events of 2020 have impacted everyone, women – and especially women of color – face the greatest burden. With over 11 million jobs disappearing from February to May of this year, and with lifestyle impact of gender pay parity so profound, the “she-cession” is upon us. 

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$50K for Hometown Girls: Jesseca Dupart Funds Digital Ed in NOLA

No matter how far we go in life, we never forget where we came from. This is one of the many philosophies of businesswoman Jesseca Dupart, Founder and CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products and Kaleidoscope Kares, the beauty company’s philanthropic arm. And this holiday season, Dupart is giving back to the community that shaped her.

New Orleans native Jesseca Dupart is the Founder and CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products and Kaleidoscope Kares, its philanthropic arm. (Photo Credit: Kaleidoscope Cares/Jesseca Dupart)

Through Kaleidoscope Kares and the #WhatsHot: Bridge the Digital Divide Charitable Initiative, Dupart has pledged $50,000 to connect New Orleans girls of color with the digital education resources they need to continue distanced learning during COVID-19.

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Briefing Biden for Bold Action on Reproductive Rights

Reproductive rights under Biden: what will it look like?

Since the Biden/Harris team clinched the US Presidency, feminist advocates and policy makers have begun to discuss the massive reclaiming of women’s rights that must occur to recover from the last four years of Trump-era regressions. To dig deeper into this mandate, leaders from several high profile organizations gathered recently online to make explicit what must happen to begin the recovery of rights for women and girls around the world.

Leaders gathered recently online to examine the necessary steps for the Biden administration to take to restore reproductive, sexual and health rights for women around the world. (Image credit: December 10, 2020 webinar)

Author and Attorney Jill Filipovic moderated the discussion, which featured Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, and Akila Radhakrishnan, President of the Global Justice Center.

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Which is More Important: Women on the Moon or Gender Equity on Earth?

Is repeating space/moon travel a more pressing issue than addressing gender equality on earth?

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos shared a video of his rocket engine on Instagram, with notes about the “thrust” and “deep throttling” of the machinery. (Image credit: Jeff Bezos Instagram)

Jeff Bezos seems to think so. The world’s richest man appears to be in something of a billionaire space-nerd contest with Elon Musk to see who can make the biggest cyber-splash with their private space travel enterprises.

Meanwhile, here on earth, we’re having much more pedestrian problems, such as mass deaths due to a preventable disease ravaging our populace, largely due to the extreme negligence of our country’s leadership.

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Focus on Climate and Justice: 2020 Catalyst Award Winners

WASHINGTON, DC— Rachel’s Network announced the awardees and finalists of its second annual Catalyst Award. The award provides women leaders of color support and recognition for their commitment to a healthy planet, along with a $10,000 prize, networking opportunities, and national recognition for their work.

catalyst awards 2020
2020 Catalyst Award Winners.

The nine 2020 awardees are:

Amy Cordalis, Yurok Tribe, McKinleyville, California
Amy is the first enrolled Yurok citizen to serve as her tribe’s general counsel and is a traditional salmon fisher and culture bearer. She has spent her entire life protecting and restoring the Klamath River. Find Amy on Instagram.

Alannah Hurley, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Dillingham, Alaska
Alannah (Yup’ik) is the executive director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB), a consortium of 15 federally recognized tribal governments in the Bristol Bay Watershed. UTBB works to protect their traditional way of life and opposes large-scale mines like Pebble. Alannah has worked extensively in community development and environmental justice and is dedicated to helping make self-determination a reality for Alaska’s indigenous people.

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Empowerment for Nurses: New Infusion from Rita & Alex Hillman

NEW YORK, Nov. 24, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation (RAHF) is announcing grants totaling $1,275,000 to support innovative, nurse-driven healthcare programs serving vulnerable populations, including four awards for interventions focused on mitigating health disparities exacerbated by COVID-19.

The Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation is granting $1.275 million more to support nurses, a profession dominated by women. (Image Credit: Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation)

“2020 has laid bare the deep inequities that plague our nation’s healthcare system,” said Ahrin Mishan, Executive Director of the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to promoting bold, new initiatives that seek to build a healthier, more just future for all.”

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Revealing Women’s Economic Value: A Chat with Berit Ashla

One thing COVID has shown us is new ways to appreciate women’s economic value and professional contributions to the world. A case in point that directly impacts me: many insurance companies during COVID have waived copays for psychotherapy (I’m a psychotherapist in my other day job), essentially granting many people an open door to emotional care, unrestricting access to an area of health care that had been previously blocked by confusing and expensive deductibles and co-pays. In doing so, this action also added economic value to mental health counseling, which is primarily done by women, in a new way.

Berit Ashla, Vice President of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, recently spoke with Philanthropy Women about how COVID is revealing women’s economic value, particularly in the care economy. (Image Credit: Berit Ashla)

Another case in point: the need for nurses, a profession comprised mostly of women. Suddenly this profession, which has always been sort of taken for granted, is front and center and absolutely vital to our survival. The result: the need for nurses has driven up wages and bonuses for the work.

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Creating STEM Environments for Women to Thrive: Olu Ibrahim

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Olu Ibrahim, Founder & CEO of Kids in Tech

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

olu ibrahim
Olu Ibrahim, Founder & CEO of Kids in Tech (Image Credit: Olu Ibrahim)

As fundraising becomes more professionalized, as a collective, our industry [the non-profit industry] is neglecting the human element of the work we do. Rarely do we have the opportunity to attend professional development workshops that invite us to step back, explore and embrace our humanity. We must center, explore and embrace our humanity in fundraising. Fundraising for social change is about a lot of heart work. It is the heart work that will change our world for all. I too love data and the information it provides  but let us keep that in mind.

It’s so easy for women to get in that space where you’re just everything to everyone all the time. We should be telling women and girls to take care of yourself, because that way, you’ll have more to give to those around you.

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Sara Monteabaro’s Mission for Women & Girls with MIT Solve

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Sara Monteabaro, newly appointed Director of Strategic & Partner Programs at MIT Solve.

Sara Monteabaro is the newly appointed Director of Strategic & Partner programs at MIT Solve. (Image Credit: MIT Solve)

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

Being a perfectionist is a strength masked as a weakness. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist myself, I’ve learned over the course of my career that perfectionist tendencies—when controlled—are something to lean into. It’s a matter of striving to do one’s best, while also accepting that failures along the way are learning opportunities, not signs of weakness or inadequacy. 

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(Liveblog) MIT Solve Welcomes 14 Grantees for Women and Girls

On Tuesday, September 29th, MIT SOLVE finalists and supporters alike gathered to celebrate the finalists in this year’s SOLVE grant competition. A wide range of speakers and presenters contributed to a fantastic two-hour event, with participants joining from across the globe.

MIT Solve recently held their 2020 Challenge Finalist event, where winners were announced. (Image Credit: MIT Solve)

What is MIT Solve?

MIT Solve is an initiative from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that aims to solve the world’s challenges through the lens of healthy competition. Teams of innovators apply to become “Solver teams,” who work together to tackle world problems across the current year’s categories. A panel of judges with expertise in the technology industry select finalists from the teams who submit their pitches online. Then, during the annual MIT Solve Challenge Finals, the finalists present their pitches for a community vote, and the winning teams are revealed at the end of the night.

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