Women and girls are half of the world’s population and yet in 2020 they are not considered equals in most parts of the world.
And despite attempts in the social impact space to direct funding to organizations that serve women and girls, support is surprisingly deficient when compared with philanthropic giving as a whole.
In 2019, The Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University published the first Women & Girls Index, which measures giving to more than 45,000 U.S. organizations dedicated to women and girls. The findings show that only 1.6% of all philanthropic support went to these causes. And through studies of foundation giving in both the U.S. and Europe, researchers estimate that only about 7% of all foundation grants specifically benefit women and girls.
How can this be? We know that female-led households are more likely to give to charity than male-led households and, at nearly every income level, women donate almost twice as much as men. Additionally, women are both more likely to give to women’s and girls’ causes and give larger amounts to these causes.
And despite the current challenges we’re facing, the financial status of women in the U.S. continues to improve. Women already own more than half of investable assets and control decision-making for $11 trillion. They are expected to inherit 70% of the $41 trillion in intergenerational wealth transfer over the next 35 years. More women obtain college degrees than men and more women are in the workforce than ever before.
So with the knowledge that making investments in women and girls promotes a ripple effect of change throughout families, communities, and even entire countries – why aren’t more women supporting causes that lift up women and girls? And what can we do to change that?
Perhaps the answer lies in the confusion over how we can effectively support women and girls around the globe. Of the philanthropic giving directed toward women and girls, 90 cents of each dollar are focused on reproductive health, leaving inadequate funding for the range of other issues affecting them. The factors that will lead to women rising into co-equal partnership with men are varied and go beyond reproduction.
Intersectionality emerged in the late 1980’s as a way to understand the complexities of women’s lives and to develop solutions that take these complexities into account. Coined by Kimberle Crenshaw the essence of intersectionality is that gender alone does not determine women’s experiences. According to Crenshaw, intersectionality is a way to see “multiple forms of exclusion”, as well as to advocate for women of all backgrounds and identities.
So what does that mean for those of us who desire to lift women and girls out of oppression? It means we need to focus on multiple issues at the same time. We can’t devote resources in one area and expect it to be enough.
But it can be a daunting task to sift through data and information and identify those efforts that have the greatest potential for social impact. There are many existing frameworks used by different organizations, but no single framework that is commonly used across the field. For example, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are not specific to women, do not organize the topics that improve women’s lives holistically in one place, and can be overwhelming given there are a total of 19 goals.
But what can feel overwhelming doesn’t have to be. In an effort to simplify the approach to better focus our efforts in the places where we are likely to have the greatest impact, I’ve created the:
7 Pillars of Women’s Empowerment and the Divine Feminine Rising
Using research from the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania, we begin with the five core areas where the most promising solutions lead to the greatest impact on the lives of women and girls globally. These five dimensions are inextricably linked and provide a holistic view of how to create the greatest impact:
- Access to Healthcare
- Economic Empowerment
- Freedom from Violence
There is terrific work being done on the ground to address the issues that keep women and children disempowered. But is it enough? Are we moving women from a life of suppression and oppression quickly enough and at scale? What might we be missing?
Can we really make an impact on the empowerment of women and children if we’re living under the old constructs and beliefs of a patriarchal, hierarchical society? Constructs and beliefs around culture, religion, politics, business, education, healthcare that we have in many ways accepted for ourselves as truth. Until now.
The rise of the Divine Feminine on the planet is shifting the way we look at women and men, the roles we play, the privileges we have, where the power is held, and ultimately the imbalance that is prevalent in all sectors. And it’s time to incorporate two long forgotten pillars into the women’s empowerment movement and all sectors of society:
- Re-connecting to Mother Earth
- Restoring the Sacred Feminine
I believe these two anchor pillars merged with the five core pillars are the missing link to ending oppression and restoring equality for all. It’s time sisters to shift the paradigm that has allowed the “-isms” of sexism, racism, classism, etc…to fester and infect the health of our planet and humanity. Over the next couple of months I’ll share more about how we do this together.
Let’s get started!
Be Bold. Be Daring. Be AWE-dacious!