Hamutal Gouri: Seven Steps to Growing Feminist Funding Eco-Systems

Hamutal Gouri takes her decades of experience as a feminist funding leader and outlines seven steps we can follow to grow feminist funding ecosystems.

After leading the DAFNA Fund in Israel for over 15 years, Hamutal Gouri has written an overview of how we can grow funding for feminist philanthropy and accelerate social change that is both inclusive and fair, and that engages the larger systems of government in new ways.

In the article, Gouri calls on leaders invested in Israel to do more to safeguard human rights and equality, which are under threat from growing religious and nationalist extremes. She then outlines the unequal status of women in Israel before offering her vision of the future steps needed. The article considers the particular concerns of Israel, including specific religious, security, and social justice contexts of the nation.

From the article:

Women comprise 51 per cent of Israel’s population, yet according to the Gender Index published by the WIPS Center at Van Leer Institute, the gender gap in Israel remains steady in most areas of life. Less than 30 per cent of Knesset members are women; only three out 19 government ministers are women and only 2 per cent of mayors and heads of local and regional councils. Women in Israel still earn up to 32 per cent less for the same work as men, are more exposed to abusive employment practices and comprise 54.6 per cent of people living in poverty.

While these numbers are true for other countries around the world, women in Israel face two unique challenges: coping with the lack of separation between religion and State and living in a violent conflict zone. While the former accounts for the exclusion of women from public spaces and the subjugation of their rights and welfare to conservative religious laws and practices, the latter accounts for our exclusion from political discourse and decision-making on issues of peace and security.

In this political climate, the leadership qualities and unique assets of women who could offer a gendered lens on society and the conflict are often undervalued. Yet there is a great deal of evidence that the active participation of women in public and political life serves to build stronger societies and economies, especially when the voices of diverse women are heard in policy formation and decision-making.

The article also describes the growth of intersectional approaches in Israel, which have helped to connect diverse organizations that share a commitment to gender equality. The steps that Gouri outlines are vividly articulated and align well with other visions of feminist philanthropy. While the steps outlined are specific to the needs of Israel, they can also provide guidance to other nations or organizations that are looking to grow a more feminist approach to their work.

In her seven steps to funding the feminist ecosystem, Gouri calls on the Israeli community to jointly strategize for action with diverse stakeholders, increase engagement of state agencies, learn from the work on the ground, apply a gender lens, get more political, take risks with big gifts for promising approaches, and have a vision that extends beyond short-term fixes. Read the full article at Fathom Journal.

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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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