Building Out Funding for Women and Girls in Anti-Feminist Political Times

Gender equity work will continue, though the U.S. may no longer be world leaders on that front.  (weep, weep)

Let’s face it: it’s going to be a rough time for gender equity over the next four years, if not longer. In my private practice as a therapist, just days after the election, I saw a clear uptick in violent and threatening behavior toward my domestic violence clients. This may have just been coincidence, but I wondered. Suddenly, a very old threat was a new threat again.

This article from ReutersWomen’s Rights Face a Daunting New Year Worldwide, Campaigners Warn, lays out clearly where and how movements for gender equality will be hurting in the coming years. Work to end violence against women is going to face major challenges, as will work to keep access to contraception and abortion available. And the list goes on.

The Reuters article notes that the U.S. played a key role in forwarding gender equity agendas in recent years, particularly in “helping draw up global development goals approved by the United Nations, one of which calls for gender equality by 2030.” But things are going to change, and the U.S. may no longer be playing that key role.

With Donald Trump as our leader, the U.S. may no longer be the global leaders in setting the agenda and moving things forward for gender equity. The frontrunners on gender equity may hail from other nations, as we stave off the flood of rollbacks that the Trump administration and conservative allies will now try to carry out.

Still, the work will continue in the U.S., and it may even grow stronger. We have already seen The Women Donors Network step up boldly to lead in funding for vulnerable populations, and we will likely see more strong leadership moves from the Harnisch Foundation, the Ms. Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, Women Moving Millions, and community-based women’s funds across the country. Historically, women’s funds and feminist foundations have taken an inclusive approach to tackling social issues, seeking to bring in and advocate for other marginalized groups, including people of all races and sexual orientations. This role will likely develop further as we see progressive coalitions grow to defend human and civil rights.

There is already a strong coalition forming to march in Washington, D.C. on January 21, and more marches and protests are being planned. We will highlight that event and others like it here on Philanthropy Women, particularly as they relate to funding for women and girls.

We will also be following corporate giving for gender equality, and will find out which corporations will maintain and grow their focus on women in this new political era. We hope to see good things continuing for women’s empowerment at the corporate foundation level and will be tracking that work closely.

Kiersten Marek

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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