“What can Philanthropy learn from feminism?” A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at Restless Development’s event on Power Shifting Philanthropy and was asked this question. It stayed with me. Besides the most obvious (and slightly glib) answer of everything — I believe feminism has some very specific lessons to teach philanthropy.
The first port of call most think of is bringing a gender justice lens to our philanthropic donations, even if on the surface the causes we’re supporting are not explicitly focused on gender equality. Think climate change, migration, conflict, entrepreneurship — all of these causes (and more) benefit from proactive gender analysis and investment.
The second port of call, however, is more uncomfortable. It’s that feminism is a wake-up call to our own privilege and the systems of injustice we are all complicit in. It encourages us to dismantle these power structures within ourselves and, by extension — our philanthropy.
There is such resistance, particularly among ‘social do-gooders,’ to admit that we ourselves perpetuate (and oftentimes benefit from) inequality. But we do. We are all raised breathing the poison air of patriarchy, racism, homophobia, ableism, and other systems of oppression and inequality. You can be a woman who has internalised sexism, or a queer person who has internalised transphobia — none of us are immune, no matter what identity we hold.
Read the full article about learning from feminism by Rachel Stephenson Sheff at Medium.
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