I’ve been listening to Hillary Clinton’s What Happened in spurts over the past few days, and it’s time to start sharing some of the highlights. In her own voice on audio, Clinton speaks on a wide range of topics related to her political life. In particular, Clinton speaks with regret about taking speaking fees from large financial corporations and analyzes how the alt-right’s slandering the Clinton Foundation skewed the election.
I am now on Chapter 9, and this is when What Happened gets very relevant to philanthropy. I highly recommend listening to the book on audio — it really helps to have the words spoken by Hillary Clinton, who is destined for legendary status in the history of women’s advancement, whether she won the presidency or not.
One big step forward for the Republican party, one big step backward for women leaders in politics. The graph here kind of says it all — we’re back to a Republican president and low, low numbers of women in cabinet leadership positions.
Another thing you’ll notice on the graph: the percentage of women in cabinet positions under President Bill Clinton was higher both terms (31.8% for his first term and 40.9% for his second term) than the percentage of women in cabinet positions for Obama’s two terms (30.4% for his first term and 34.8% for his second term). Sigh. Returning to the Clinton dynasty is starting to look better all the time, particularly for women’s leadership.
We know that childcare needs to be valued and supported for society to thrive. Yet, time and again, we leave parents, particularly low-income and young parents, out of the picture for access to childcare.
Today, a new study released by the Ms. Foundation for Women validated that state and local officials need to take the reigns and steer their community toward economic growth by funding access to childcare.
“Our approach has not only helped the local organizations achieve policy gains, but also provided necessary resources to develop intersectional leadership in grassroots organizations,” said Aleyamma Mathew, Director of Economic Justice at the Ms. Foundation for Women. “To achieve economic security in the Trump era, we have to win on the state and local level,” she added.
One thing that repeatedly intrigues me in philanthropy is the way that women leaders put together the components of giving and social progress in new and creative ways, in order to maximize deployment of funds to important causes. Nearly every week, I come across a new combination of philanthropy and social action that a woman is pioneering.
This week’s amazing tale of women doing good in the world comes from the online retail sector and a new hub for online shopping called Union & Fifth. This nonprofit online store makes it easy for you to donate women’s designer clothing, shoes, and handbags, and choose a cause for where the money will be donated.
While estimates are frighteningly low for the percentage of financial assets under management by women and minorities, that number is destined to change. Leading the charge for this change as one of the few women-owned asset management companies is ThirtyNorth Investments, headed by Suzanne Mestayer, Managing Principal, and Blair duQuesnay, Principal and Chief Investment Officer.
How did Mestayer and duQuesnay become gender lens investors? They were basically convinced by the business case for more women in corporate leadership. “It was an interesting confluence of increasing our knowledge on the topic of women in governance, and learning about how few women are on corporate boards,” said Mestayer in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. “This coincided with our acknowledgement of our own experiences serving on boards, and seeing the benefits of having diversity on those boards.”
Sustainable Harvest International Founder and President Florence Reed did not encounter many other women leaders in philanthropy when she started the organization in 1997. “I was flying by the seat of my pants. I literally went to a library and checked out a book on how to start a non-profit, and went through it chapter by chapter,” she recalled in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. Who knew then how successful her initiative would be: Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) was recently named by Charity Navigator as one of the “six highest-ranking charities in the sector making major strides to increase sustainable food production.”
In another unexpected “first” for our nation, Donald Trump decided to have his daughter, Ivanka sit in for him at the G20 leaders’ summit in Hamburg, Germany. But another, perhaps more important first also took place at this meeting: The World Bank Group announced the creation of an innovative new facility that plans to invest more than $1 billion to advance women’s entrepreneurship. This new facility will give women in developing countries a leg up when it comes to increasing their access to capital and markets that will help them start and grow businesses.
“This incredible facility will have a significant impact on women’s economic development around the world,” United States President Donald Trump said in a recent press release from the World Bank. “It will help increase opportunities and economic growth while addressing unique barriers women entrepreneurs face. I am proud the United States is helping to lead support of this unprecedented initiative.”
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.
It stops here.
Join us virtually for our first annual summit as we talk about using your voice for advocacy and creating change in your community; the power of news and information accessibility and how it is changing business; innovation and disruption as a way to close the gap; and how we can work together to make change happen.
With more than 30 speakers taking the stage, this full-day event will leave you inspired and ready for action, with key-takeaways you can implement in your life today.
Accenture, a professional services corporation which has studied and made public its own employee demographics, plans to reach 40% female employment by 2020. In addition, the corporation recently announced a new goal for total gender parity in its workforce by 2025.
But is it possible? Studies that peg the gender ratios for corporate boards predict the year that gender parity will be realized on corporate boards is 2055. Other studies suggest it will take another 40 years to close the gender pay gap in academia. But the company has a strong ethic of transparency that they believe helps them advance community objectives, and might possibly put them in a position to lead the charge on gender equity in business. “When you publish a goal, it holds you accountable to a higher level,” says Ellen Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer at Accenture, in this article from Fortune.
Let’s hope that, by making these goals widely known, Accenture will be able to influence other corporations in the same direction. The more corporations that make public their goals to reach gender equity, the better.
Accenture currently employs 150,000 women globally. In 2016, the company says that women accounted for 20% of its managing directors and 30% of promotions to the MD level. It aims to grow the share of female managing directors to 25% by 2020 […] The company credits its slow-but-steady progress to its willingness to experiment with how it attracts, advances, and sponsors women. Among the strategies it’s employed: a sponsorship program that connects senior women with two sponsors from the global management committee, a referral program that rewards employee who refer women, blacks, Hispanics, and veterans who are hired with a bonus, and a 16-week paid maternity leave policy.
An article from Barista Magazine brings good news for women and coffee aficionados worldwide: the launching of a new program aimed at improving coffee quality and productivity for female farmers in Colombia. The new program is a partnership of Strauss Coffee, Sustainable Harvest and the Relationship Coffee Institute. From the article:
A lot of things make coffee better—for example, better growing practices, a deeper understanding of soil quality, or more advanced machinery for depulping coffee cherries. Time and again, one of the single biggest contributors to an increase in both coffee quality and outcomes for farmers is investment in women. That’s why Strauss Coffee, one of the largest coffee companies in the world, in partnership with Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers and the Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI), are taking part in a new incentive program aimed at improving the lives of female farmers in Colombia.