Aligning Health with Human Rights for Women and Girls

Some of the wealthiest women in the world deploying vast fortunes with gender lens grantmaking: This is the future of philanthropy. Maverick Collective is one of the places where this strategy is already taking place.

maverick collective
Maverick Collective, co-chaired by Melinda Gates and H.R.H. Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway , is poised to deploy millions more in philanthropy with a gender lens.

But gender norms of the past still haunt many women philanthropists. “Women told us that they would be at a cocktail party, and people would come talk to their husbands, but not them,” said Kate Roberts, Senior Vice President for Corporate Partnerships with Population Services International (PSI). A global nonprofit “focused on the encouragement of healthy behavior and affordability of health products,” PSI is the host organization for The Maverick Collective.

“They felt that they were expected to give to what their husbands were giving to. And these are educated, empowered women, continues  Women have a different take on philanthropy, though: They have empathy and are learners. So they should definitely be a part of the conversation,” continued Roberts, with a deft summary in this NPR interview of the important reasons that women’s philanthropy is poised for major growth.

Meghan Ball, Associate Program Manager for Maverick Collective, PSI, gives us yet another angle on how women’s philanthropy adds value to the community. “According to a Harvard Business Review study, women in emerging markets reinvest 90% of every dollar earned into “human resources  – their families’ education, health and nutrition – compared to 30-40% by men. Investments into women have an exponential effect, bettering their own lives and those of their sons, husbands and fathers.”

The Maverick Collective appears to be a major new force on the scene of women’s philanthropy that is combining an agenda for women’s health and women’s equality — kind of like a one-two punch to global patriarchy. This means taking on some of the most important issues in health care, including domestic violence, maternal health, and cervical cancer.

The Maverick Collective recently undertook the support of a three-year pilot project called Giving Wings, which seeks to address menstrual health and remove it as a barrier to education and equality for women and girls. This is just one of many ways that Maverick aligns women’s health and human rights in order to advance equality for women and girls globally.

Back in February, we wrote about Ana Morales, one of the founding members of The Maverick Collective in this article by Kathy LeMay. Morales embodies The Maverick Collective’s approach in the empathic and  experience-driven approach she takes with her philanthropy.

We’ll be watching The Maverick Collective closely here at Philanthropy Women, tracking the strategies and grants they are making for women’s health and human rights.


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Author: Kiersten Marek

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

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