To Grow Women’s Rights Globally, We Must Invest in Women Locally

Editor’s Note: The following essay is by By Dr. Susan M. Blaustein, Founder and Executive Director, WomenStrong International.

As someone who has funded and worked with women’s organizations to advance gender justice, human rights, and global development, I learned long ago that women always know what they and their families and communities need, in order to thrive; they simply lack the financial and technical resources needed to put their solutions into practice. 

 Partners working together at WomenStrong International’s Girls’ Education and Empowerment Retreat. (Image credit: WomenStrong International)

That’s why I celebrate the recent high-profile donor efforts to invest in women’s priorities. Yet, even with these bold commitments, the total philanthropic support for women’s organizations remains a paltry fraction – 1.6 percent — of U.S. grantmaking, according to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s latest Women and Girls Index, published by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. If we hope to improve the lives of and opportunities for women and girls worldwide, those percentages must rise dramatically. 

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Reporting Live from The Feminist Factor, Women Funded 2021

The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) is back this year with another exciting convening on the many forms of feminist changemaking happening in today’s world. This year’s Women Funded 2021 virtual conference, The Feminist Factor, focused on a wide range of philanthropic and social justice topics as we continue to fight the tide of inequality in a post-COVID world.

Carmen Perez spoke at The Feminist Factor about Latinx feminist giving. (Image Credit: WFN)

The conference’s mainstage plenary introduced some of the superstars of the feminist philanthropy world.

Monica Ramirez and Carmen Perez on Latinx in Feminist Giving

The mainstage event began with a conversation between Mónica Ramírez (Justice for Migrant Women) and Carmen Perez-Jordan (The Gathering for Justice) on the importance of Latinx feminism. Perez described her journey as a Chicana feminist, starting with her realization that her own mother was a feminist and had passed those ideals on to her.

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Favianna Rodriguez on the Power of Art to Heal Polarization

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Favianna Rodriguez, President of The Center for Cultural Power, a national organization investing in artists and storytellers as agents of positive social change.

Favianna Rodriguez, courtesy of Favianna Rodriguez
  1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I’d known more about the racial and gender barriers that exist for women of color leaders in the non-profit sector, particularly the arts and culture space. I knew how to pitch my ideas and raise money, but I lacked information on how to navigate situations in which I was experiencing unequal treatment due to my gender and racial identity. I was in many spaces where the safety of women was not prioritized. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years of being an institutional leader, I’ve experienced numerous uncomfortable situations including sexual harassment, the theft of my ideas by male leaders, being bullied by men when I challenged sexist assumptions, and being trained to lead in a boy’s club type of approach. Before, I didn’t have the language or tools to navigate these situations. But that has since changed, and I’m incredibly thankful for that because it gives me the opportunity to create safe spaces for other female and gender non-confirming leaders to thrive.

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Love-Bombed, Then Abandoned: Plight of the Feminist Grantee

Philanthropy Women May be Winding Down Due to Lack of Support for Feminist Media about Donor Leadership, Strategies and Practices.

With nearly 1,100 posts published, an unusually high and rising domain authority, and hundreds of feminist leaders and strategies highlighted, Philanthropy Women is simultaneously a feminist media powerhouse and running out of resources. And it’s not for lack of trying to find those resources, or generate them on our own.

Photo by Valentina Conde on Unsplash

What happened to us? It’s a case of what I can only describe as donor love-bombing and subsequent abandonment.

I’m sure this happens to most nonprofit organizations, but I think it might be particularly acute in the social justice realm. Because we go for so long in life having the experience that no one cares about social justice or, in my case, feminist social justice, and then suddenly all of these people DO care. And not only do they care, but they are willing to write you $5,000 checks to do this work.

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The Brain Health Gap and How It is Hurting Women

Data reveals how women suffer disparities in health funding, especially related to brain disorders. As a result, funding for women’s brain health is alarmingly insufficient and contributing to expensive long-term treatment costs.

Women have been coming out and speaking against the inequities they face in health care. For years, women have been saying that the healthcare field has not had their best interests at heart. They frequently have expressed that the medical community has treated them with dismissal and misdiagnosis. 

WHAM’s research shows a deep disparity in funding for women’s brain health. (Image credit: WHAM)

New data reveals this to be especially poignant in terms of women dealing with brain health disorders. An organization by the name of WHAM (Women’s Health Access Matters), released a report about this data. 

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Teneral Cellars’ New Wine Collection Funds Women’s Health

Teneral Cellars’ new “Healthy Women, Healthy World Collection” has launched to raise awareness of and money for women’s health.

Teneral Cellars, a purpose-driven all digital winery, announced the launch of its Healthy Women, Healthy World Collection featuring a trio of wines that bring attention to reproductive, heart and breast health issues that affect millions of women globally. With every three-pack sold, $10 will be donated to the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EndoFound).

Teneral Cellars Launches Healthy Women, Healthy World Wine Collection Supporting the Endometriosis Foundation of America (Image credit: Teneral Cellars)
Teneral Cellars Launches Healthy Women, Healthy World Wine Collection is supporting the Endometriosis Foundation of America (Image credit: Teneral Cellars)

Women’s health is the cornerstone of all healthy communities. The collection speaks to the brand’s core mission to elevate women and inspire change, encouraging women to focus on their own health and take care of each other so that no one is neglected. Unfortunately, due to gender and racial bias in medicine, women are less likely to have pain treated, symptoms taken seriously, or be given a diagnosis, all of which can have serious implications.

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Is the World Fundamentally Unserious About Gender Equality?

As someone who has spent the past five years of her life studying the way we fund gender equality movements, this is the question I am often left with at the end of the day: Is the world fundamentally unserious about gender equality?

Because the more you look at the data, the more it seems that funding for gender equality is so sidelined and misdirected and poorly tracked and evaluated, that it’s really no wonder that progress is as slow as it is.

A new report entitled Tracking Philanthropic and Gender Equality Financing aggregated data from SDGFunders to come up with the following totals of funding from the top 10 private foundations doing this work in Kenya. (Image credit: Publish What You Fund)

Now, a new report by Publish What You Fund and partners helps to elucidate just what funding for gender equality looks like in different nations around the world, and shows us just how little we know about what is going on with this sector of social change funding.

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How Madam CJ Walker Empowered Black Giving in the Time of Jim Crow

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 20, 2020. We are resharing in celebration of Black Philanthropy Month.

On October 12, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI celebrated the launch of Dr. Tyrone McKinley Freeman’s new book, Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: Black Women’s Philanthropy During Jim Crow. Moderated by Bob Grimm, Philanthropy Historian at the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute, the event featured conversations with Freeman, as well as Madam Walker’s great-great granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, who also wrote the foreword for the book.

The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy celebrated the launch of Dr. Tyrone McKinley Freeman’s book about the life and legacy of Madam C.J. Walker in an event featuring the author, the chair of the Do Good Institute, and Walker’s great-great granddaughter. (Image Credit: University of Illinois Press)

The event opened with a welcome from Bob Grimm, the night’s moderator. He began by introducing Dr. Freeman, a professor at the Lilly School, and a prolific author whose work has been featured in a wide range of outlets. Grimm also introduced A’Lelia Bundles, Madam Walker’s great-great granddaughter and author of many books about Madam Walker and her legacy.

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Kamala Harris: “We’re Gonna Get It Done.”

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on August 18, 2020, before Kamala Harris became the first female Vice President of the United States.

“We’re gonna get it done.” These were some of the first words spoken by Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris in her phenomenal half-hour interview with Errin Haines, Editor-at-Large for the 19th, during the 19th Represents Summit on Friday. Harris’s plans to “get it done” refer to the upcoming Presidential election, and her goal to join Joe Biden in leading the U.S. out of one of its worst crisis periods in history.

Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris spoke with Errin Haines of The 19th on Friday, August 14th, giving details of her experience becoming the first woman of color nominated to the U.S. Presidential ticket. (Image Credit: The 19th video, Youtube)

Haines began the interview by asking what it was like for Kamala Harris to be in competition with women she respected and worked with, other candidates who were running for President and were in the lead to be asked to fill Biden’s ticket for the Vice President spot.

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Equal Rights Amendment Can’t Wait in Time of COVID

Editor’s Note: This post urging passage of the Equal Rights Amendment was originally published on September 3, 2020.

Three weeks ago, I was elected as Board Chair of the Equal Rights Amendment Fund for Women’s Equality. As a funder and champion of women’s rights and economic justice, this call to step up could not have come at a more urgent time. 

equal rights amendment
The ERA Coalition is the sister organization to the Equal Rights Amendment Fund for Women’s Equality. (Image Credit: ERA Coalition)

Each one of us has had many moments of reckoning during COVID-19. But as women of color, we have seen that COVID has treated us differently from the rest. Race has been identified as a co-morbidity and a risk factor, just like diabetes or heart disease. Our healthcare systems, our educational systems, and our systems for protecting essential workers are all struggling mightily against a dangerous and mysterious disease. Basic rights and systems have been demolished for women, and women of color are being particularly hard-hit, facing higher rates of job loss while also being expected to bear more responsibility for caregiving and educating children.

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