Obama Foundation Announces New Global Initiative to Educate Girls

The Obama Foundation announced the launch of The Global Girls Alliance, which will seek to increase education for girls worldwide. (Photo courtesy of Obama Foundation website.)

Today, in recognition of International Day of the Girl, the Obama Foundation has announced the launch of a new initiative that will empower adolescent girls around the world through education.

The initiative aims to support more than 1,500 grassroots organizations around the world that reduce barriers to education for girls such as early marriage, limited access, and lack of financial resources.

Michelle Obama appeared on the Today Show to make the announcement, emphasizing that “The stats show that when you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country.”

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This Social Enterprise Helps Women See Strategies for Giving Up-Close


Jacquie Love becoming a student for the day at ZOE International rescue house in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

As feminist strategies in philanthropy continue to grow, new organizations are being created to serve the needs of this sector.  Among these new organizations is the Secret Sisterhood, founded by Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Jacquie Love. Launched in the second half of 2017, the enterprise reports already having 40,000 women in its network.

Along with creating jewelry that celebrates gender equality and women’s leadership, the Secret Sisterhood conducts “philanthropic journeys” —  travel events in the developing world that offer women an opportunity to see first-hand how philanthropy can aid in gender equality movements. The journeys have four aims — empowering female entrepreneurs in developing nations, reducing human trafficking, eliminating violence against women, and providing education for girls.

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Gender Equality Research Round-Up: AI, BlackHer, Wikipedia, Sleep

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Related:

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Ecofeminism to the Rescue: Mary Robinson Launches New Podcast

Mothers of Invention, a new podcast featuring former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, and comedian Maeve Higgins, will celebrate the fascinating world of feminist climate change strategy.

The Guardian reports that former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, is launching a new initiative to call attention to feminist solutions to climate change.

From The Guardian:

Women around the world who are leading the fight against climate damage are to be highlighted by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and UN high commissioner, in the hopes of building a new global movement that will create “a feminist solution for climate change”.

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Supporting Women-Led Enterprises in South East Asia: Root Capital Partners with Australian Government

Root Capital is partnering with an Australian Program to provide loans for women in agriculture in South East Asia.

While some feminist thought leaders such as Chief Executive of Women’s World Banking of Ghana, Charlotte Baidoo, are calling on microfinance institutions to do more when it comes to lending to women, Root Capital is beginning a new partnership with the Australian Government to do just that.

Root Capital will partner with the Australian Government’s program,  Investing in Women, to deploy $2 million AUD (approximately $1.49 million U.S. dollars) in a ten-year program to support women business owners in South East Asia.  As a partner of Investing in Women, Root Capital plans to bring in private sector co-investments for women’s small and medium-sized agricultural businesses in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

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Big Prize Focused on Educating Girls, Women’s Rights, and Climate

The Roddenberry Prize is looking for applications that will work at the intersection of girls’ education, women’s rights, and climate issues related to creating a plant-rich diet and reducing food waste.

Good news for gender equality philanthropy:  another large prize is taking on gender issues this year. The 2018 Roddenberry Prize will go to four organizations ($250,000 each) that have realizable plans to address problems at the intersection of girls’ education, women’s rights, and climate change.

Not familiar with the Roddenberry Prize? It was launched in the fall of 2016 at the Smithsonian, in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, and in 2017, the first prizes were awarded. The Roddenberry Prize is sponsored by The Roddenberry Foundation, which was founded in 2010 with a mission to support “remarkable people and organizations who can disrupt existing dynamics, challenge old patterns of thought, and discover new ways to help us move towards a better future.” You can learn more about the Roddenberry Foundation here.

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To Aid Gender Equality, Reward Work, Not Wealth

A new report from Oxfam outlines clear steps that governments and the private sector can take to create an economy that works for ordinary people.

A new report from Oxfam takes a hard look at our growing inequality problems, and outlines steps that governments and businesses can take to work toward a more equitable and healthy economy.

Endorsed by several experts in development and labor, the report also has a section devoted to addressing the overlap between “economic and gender inequality” that looks at how the gender wealth gap plays out in women having less land ownership and other assets, and observes that “the neoliberal economic model has made this worse – reductions in public services, cuts to taxes for the richest, and a race to the bottom on wages and labour rights have all hurt women more than men.”

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Geographical Sums Up Global Gender Quandaries in November Article

Author Mark Rowe discusses the gender equality challenges that we face globally in the November 2017 issue of Geographical.

An article in the November 2017 issue of Geographical, a print publication out of the UK, does an exceptional job of summarizing the current research on gender equality globally. Geographical came to my attention after having the opportunity to talk with staff at Oxfam Great Britain (Oxfam GB), in order to learn more about the way Oxfam has approached integrating gender and development for the past two and a half decades.

The article points to research showing that making gains in gender equality could add as much as $12 trillion to the economy, but also quotes some experts who are dubious about using economic arguments for achieving political gains for women. Dr. Torrun Wimpelmann says that it’s unproductive to argue with social conservatives using this economic data. Another expert, Dr. Jeni Klugman, author of a high level UN report called Leave No-One Behind, says there is room for the economic argument, since it comes at the issue pragmatically.

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Making the Connection Between Gender Equality and the Environment

The latest issue of Gender & Development looks closely at connecting up feminism with environmentalism.

The newest issue of Gender & Development is taking a close look at the connections between gender equality and environmental work in today’s world, a world where President Trump has the power to reduce the size of  public monuments in Utah by millions of acres, a potentially illegal move that has huge implications for gender justice.  Certainly, now is the time for feminist and environmentalists to come together and strategize about how to fight back.

In a post introducing the new issue of Gender & Development, Editor Caroline Sweetman reminds us that 2017 has been the deadliest on record for environmental activists.  Further, in many countries around the world, women are on the losing end of deals made to extract natural resources from developing nations.

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Why We Must All Care About the SDGs – And What They Are

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development lay out key parameters for creating a more just, humane, and environmentally sustainable planet.

Do you know all 17 of the sustainable development goals adopted by the UN in January of 2016?  If so, good for you. Up until today, I was mainly familiar with SDG 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Now that I read Equal Measures 2030’s research showing that many policy leaders in the development sector do not know very much about the SDGs, I decided it was time to do my homework and learn more about the SDGs myself.

So here they are. They read kind of a like a very long human rights mantra.  Let’s break it down and start with the first five:

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