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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LaTosha Brown: The Time is Now to Fund Black Women and Girls

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 11, 2021.

This past summer, before the announcement of Kamala Harris as the nominee for Vice President, Latosha Brown received a phone call from the soon-to-be Vice President. The phone call was in response to an article Brown had published in Essence called Reimagining An America That Uplifts Black Girls. Vice President Kamala Harris wanted Latosha Brown to know that she shared her hope that America could reimagine the country so that all girls will be lifted up.

LaTosha Brown
LaTosha Brown shares her expertise as a movement organizer and leader, calling for more just and equitable funding for Black women and girls. ( Image Credit: LaTosha Brown)

“Vice President Kamala Harris called me to say she had read the article, and that she too was committed to women and girls all across the country,” said Brown, in a recent phone interview with Philanthropy Women.

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AOC: The Powerful Voice of Feminist Giving In Real Life

Editor’s Note: the following post was originally published on February 3, 2021.

Here at Philanthropy Women, we started a series called Feminist Giving In Real Life (F-GIRL) to provide a platform for women leaders at all levels who are giving in a feminist way. This giving can happen through donations and funding strategy, through professional excellence, and/or through leadership efforts in the community. Feminist giving is a form of leadership that has special impact because it often combines deeply personal experience and significantly political thinking and acting.

AOC
AOC became tearful as she disclosed that she is a survivor or sexual assault. In a 90 minute video on Instagram, AOC discussed the ways in which the January 6 riots constituted a form of trauma related to sexual trauma experienced by herself and many other Americans. (Image Credit: AOC on Instagram

Yesterday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez performed what I would call a supreme act of feminist giving. When AOC spoke out against the January 6th riots and connected these riots to her experience of being sexually traumatized, she simultaneously stood up for every human who has experience sexual assault, and challenged the largest political body of our country to acknowledge how the January 6th riots are part of a continuum of pervasive violence against women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.

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The 12 Most Promising Trends in Women’s Philanthropy

Editor’s Note: This post on feminist giving trends was originally published on August 3, 2020.

Since I launched Philanthropy Women in 2017, and even before then, I have been paying close attention to the feminist giving trends, as well as the big plays and strategy shifts, happening in feminist giving. For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to enumerate some of those gender equality giving trends and other happenings, and flesh out what they mean both now and for the future of philanthropy.

feminist giving
State-based women’s funds such are getting more powerful as large foundations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation begin to recognize the value of their existing infrastructure to leverage social change. (Image credit: Women’s Foundation California)

1. Women Funders Are Getting More Ambitious With Their Strategies

I see women funders getting more ambitious with their strategies in many different ways, both in terms of the subjects they will fund as well as the approaches they are willing to try. This means they are doing bolder things with their money, which often translates into helping our culture to become more inclusive and knowledgeable about difference. For example, Mona Sinha, Chair of the Women Moving Millions Board, has done some amazing work lately supporting the documentary Disclosure. This film does groundbreaking work in terms of exploring the growing world of gender transition, helping this community to be seen and valued by society. Being unafraid to cross the barrier and fund the LGBTQ community is just one of the many bold strategies that more feminist funders are adopting more frequently.

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Chiefly Female Healthcare Jobs Get Boost from Goodwill and Anthem

If this last year taught us anything, it’s that qualified healthcare workers are needed now more than ever. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is expected to add 2.4 million new jobs, which is more than any other occupational group. And as we know, healthcare jobs are predominantly held by women, with women representing about 76% of healthcare professionals.

As we recover from the pandemic in America, Goodwill is teaming with the Anthem Foundation to introduce Rising Together and the Goodwill Healthcare CareerLaunch.

The Rising Together coalition will use its combined hiring strength to support the holistic needs of job seekers, from providing essential transportation and broadband access to offering training opportunities and job search skills. (Image Credit: Goodwill)

The Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., focuses on funding critical initiates that improve lives and communities. Anthem is committing $750,000 for providing the necessary resources and training needed for individuals interested in working in the healthcare industryThe program is part of the new Rising Together coalition, which gives people support to access healthcare jobs that will lead to sustaining careers. 

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How Desai Foundation has Shifted Now for the COVID Crisis in India

When last we spoke with Megha Desai of the Desai Foundation, it felt like the sky was the limit. But like so much else during the pandemic, critical need forced the Foundation to pivot away from their ambitious campaign goals around mask-making, and toward medical aid on the ground.

Like so many other nonprofit organizations, the Desai Foundation has been prompted to learned unexpected (but no less impactful) lessons during COVID. When one door closes, another opens, right? The Desai Foundation, however, also decided to build new doors.

Image Credit: Desai Foundation

Pivoting from Mask-Making to Other Areas of COVID Response in India

At the beginning of the pandemic, Megha Desai hoped to create a “Masks of Hope” campaign in India and the United States. The plan was to transition the Foundation’s production machines, ordinarily used to manufacture inexpensive menstrual hygiene products for communities in India, into mask manufacturing tools. Once the technique and designs were honed, the plan was to bring those machines back to the United States, bolstering the supplies of PPE moving to first responders and essential workers.

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A Leader in Women’s Health Urges Donors to Lean Into Discomfort

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Dr. Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, an international reproductive health and rights organization.

Anu Kumar
Dr. Anu Kumar, courtesy of Dr. Anu Kumar

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

That the issues that I have chosen to work on, reproductive health and rights including access to abortion, are ones that will take generations to resolve. I naively thought that since Roe v. Wade was decided well before I came of reproductive age and the public health data were so clear about the health benefits of contraception and abortion for women, families, communities, and countries that logic would prevail and I would simply be running programs to scale up these programs. Little did I know that I would become a warrior for abortion rights!

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