Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 8, 2020.
Is repeating space/moon travel a more pressing issue than addressing gender equality on earth?
Jeff Bezos seems to think so. The world’s richest man appears to be in something of a billionaire space-nerd contest with Elon Musk to see who can make the biggest cyber-splash with their private space travel enterprises.
Meanwhile, here on earth, we’re having much more pedestrian problems, such as mass deaths due to a preventable disease ravaging our populace, largely due to the extreme negligence of our country’s leadership.
Seemingly out to impress people with his capacities for creating “deep throttling” rockets, Jeff Bezos continues to run a massive monopolizing corporation that does not impress many. As a therapist treating young people getting jobs as Amazon drivers, I can tell you that Amazon does some of the poorest new employee training I have ever seen. The safety risks both for those new employees not being adequately trained and the community as a whole, are astounding. Amazon is also notoriously poor at providing the most basic worker benefits such as bathroom breaks.
So which side do we come down on in our regard of Jeff Bezos, as advocates for women’s empowerment and women’s leadership? Should we be glad that Bezos is paying attention to women and wants to be the one who plants a woman on the moon?
I have a hard time feeling glad about this. Most people just want to live with the simple freedoms of having fresh air to breathe, a safe place to lay their head at night, good food to eat, and friends and family around them. When so many are deprived of these basic freedoms due to the hoarding of wealth of the richest one percent, how are we to feel good about the one percent’s adventures in outer space?
Dear Jeff Bezos, Please Fund More Here
These are the Jeff Bezos philanthropy initiatives we are most excited about here at Philanthropy Women: the $43 million in funding for the Hive Fund, and the $43 million in funding for the The Solutions Project. These are some astounding donations that have the potential to make a significant impact on improving funding and leadership for women. Also, it’s pretty great that he and MacKenzie Scott were part of a recent $13 million in new funding for maternal health.
I would really love to see Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have a contest to see who could give the most money to women of color leaders first, instead of jockeying over who can make another giant step for humankind in outer space. The contest for giving away money to women leaders of color — now that’s one contest I could definitely get behind, and would enjoy watching to the bitter end.