Despite the urgent need to provide immediate relief to women harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot ignore the roots of why women are more vulnerable in these crises.

The impact on women is particularly evident across global value chains, especially in sectors like agriculture and apparel where women make up the majority of the workforce. Girls and women are bearing disproportionate economic, health, safety, and caregiving burdens, while hard-fought advances in gender equality are being wiped away in the blink of an eye.

We simply must invest in the long-term recovery and resilience of women who form the backbone of the global workforce — even as we address urgent needs ranging from meeting essential health and rights needs to protecting against the “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence.

An innovative fund, launching today, aims to do just that by galvanizing a new approach to corporate investment and philanthropy. The Resilience Fund for Women in Global Value Chains pools resources from global corporations, corporate foundations, and private foundations into a collaborative fund that provides unrestricted funding to organizations in the Global South — trusting local and regional women’s funds, female-led organizations, and feminist leaders to know what their own communities need. Through this model, recipients can channel resources where they will have the strongest impact amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

This is not a traditional model of change, and it marks a significant shift from the way the private sector has typically approached philanthropy and corporate giving. For the first time, companies and foundations are teaming up and combining resources to infuse new and vitally needed funding into the ecosystem of women’s funds and community organizations. But that is only part of the equation — Fund investors are also working shoulder to shoulder with these women’s funds and grassroots organizations in allocating investments in a way that is equitable, effective, and adaptable to changing circumstances on the ground.

Read the full article about investing in women-led change by Seema Jalan at United Nations Foundation.