As we have noted before here on Philanthropy Women, there are many reasons why it is very hard to sustain a nonprofit or a business that provides a gender lens. There are also frequently economies of scale that can be realized when two entities with overlapping missions join together to enhance their work. A recent announcement from Gender Avenger and The Female Quotient highlights both of these dynamics.
Yesterday, Gender Avenger and The Female Quotient announced that they will be merging. Gender Avenger, a nonprofit that provides data and tools about gender discrimination in public dialogue, announced today that it is joining forces with The Female Quotient (The FQ), a for-profit company “changing the equation and closing the gaps” in gender equality. According to the press release, the collaboration “aims to remove barriers and break down the intimidating scale of the equality conversation happening all around the world.”
Editor’s Note: The following essay is by By Dr. Susan M. Blaustein, Founder and Executive Director, WomenStrong International.
As someone who has funded and worked with women’s organizations to advance gender justice, human rights, and global development, I learned long ago that women always know what they and their families and communities need, in order to thrive; they simply lack the financial and technical resources needed to put their solutions into practice.
That’s why I celebrate the recent high-profile donor efforts to invest in women’s priorities. Yet, even with these bold commitments, the total philanthropic support for women’s organizations remains a paltry fraction – 1.6 percent — of U.S. grantmaking, according to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s latest Women and Girls Index, published by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. If we hope to improve the lives of and opportunities for women and girls worldwide, those percentages must rise dramatically.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series featuresMarsha Morgan, a founding member of the Birmingham Change Fund and past Chair of the Community Investment Network.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I wish I had started my journey in philanthropy with a proper understanding of the true definition of philanthropy: love of humanity. Having this knowledge and perspective would have allowed me to take more ownership of my power and would have changed how I leveraged my resources as a philanthropist when I first started working in collective giving.
2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?
During an afternoon session of Women Funded 2021, Cazembe Murphy Jackson (We Testify) joined Brandi Collins-Calhoun (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy) and Megan Murphy Wolf (WFN) for a discussion on trans equity and feminism through abortion access. Jackson, who has been an advocate for Black and trans rights across his career, shared his experiences as a Black, Southern, queer, trans organizer.
Storytelling as the Path Toward Trans Rights
“I don’t hear a lot of trans men talking about abortions,” said Jackson. “I want to tell my story so that other people like me will know that they can get an abortion and that there is somebody who went through a similar situation to what they’re going through.”
The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) is back this year with another exciting convening on the many forms of feminist changemaking happening in today’s world. This year’s Women Funded 2021 virtual conference, The Feminist Factor, focused on a wide range of philanthropic and social justice topics as we continue to fight the tide of inequality in a post-COVID world.
The conference’s mainstage plenary introduced some of the superstars of the feminist philanthropy world.
Monica Ramirez and Carmen Perez on Latinx in Feminist Giving
The mainstage event began with a conversation between Mónica Ramírez (Justice for Migrant Women) and Carmen Perez-Jordan (The Gathering for Justice) on the importance of Latinx feminism. Perez described her journey as a Chicana feminist, starting with her realization that her own mother was a feminist and had passed those ideals on to her.
One Billion Rising is organizing events around the world on September 25th, 2021 to show support of Afghani women.
On Saturday, September 25, RISE FOR AND WITH THE WOMEN OF AFGHANISTAN will take to the streets in a day of action following an online day of solidarity on September 1, garnering participation from over 85 countries. During the global day of action, activists, women’s organizations, human rights groups, and high profile individuals will mount in person events in cities, towns and areas across the globe. Some events will take place online due to local Covid restrictions.
Wavelength Productions has opened submissions for the WAVE grant, which will award five women and non-binary filmmakers of color.
Submissions for the WAVE grant are now open. From Wavelength Films, the production studio behind titles such as Isabel Bethencourt and Parker Hill’s “Cusp” and Ekwa Msangi’s “Farewell Amor,” the initiative supports first-time women and non-binary filmmakers of color. The Wave Grant stands for “Women at the Very Edge” and includes a $5,000 grant and mentorship program.
The WAVE grant was launched to support directors with the production of their first short documentary or narrative film. A press release from Wavelength announced that “the program has been so successful that they will be awarding the mentorship program and grants to the top five filmmakers this year.”
Readers of Philanthropy Women know that we closely follow the feminist giving strategies on getting more women into politics. Now, an exciting announcement comes from our home state of Rhode Island, as State Senator Cynthia Mendes and Former Secretary of State Matt Brown have announced their joint campaign for Lt. Governor and Governor of Rhode Island.
Not only are these two uniquely qualified candidates running together, they have cultivated 50 more progressive candidates running for a large swath of positions in Rhode Island. Together, this could make for a new paradigm of leadership in the state.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Favianna Rodriguez, President of The Center for Cultural Power, a national organization investing in artists and storytellers as agents of positive social change.
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I wish I’d known more about the racial and gender barriers that exist for women of color leaders in the non-profit sector, particularly the arts and culture space. I knew how to pitch my ideas and raise money, but I lacked information on how to navigate situations in which I was experiencing unequal treatment due to my gender and racial identity. I was in many spaces where the safety of women was not prioritized. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years of being an institutional leader, I’ve experienced numerous uncomfortable situations including sexual harassment, the theft of my ideas by male leaders, being bullied by men when I challenged sexist assumptions, and being trained to lead in a boy’s club type of approach. Before, I didn’t have the language or tools to navigate these situations. But that has since changed, and I’m incredibly thankful for that because it gives me the opportunity to create safe spaces for other female and gender non-confirming leaders to thrive.
In the wake of the pandemic, the Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) has launched SHEcovery to support women of color in the workforce.
Decades of hard-fought gender equity progress have vanished over the past 18 months as women have been pushed out of the workforce in record numbers due to COVID-19 while taking on increased childcare and caregiving responsibilities. To address these challenges head-on, Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) today announced SHEcovery™ – a commitment from the Foundation to fund, support, and build a more equitable system that supports Women of Color.