Seattle Foundation and Global Washington hosted Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, CEO of the Global Fund for Women, for a round-table discussion about the importance of supporting women-led organizations around the world.
Global Fund for Women was founded in 1987 to channel philanthropic dollars to women-led, grassroots organizations around the world. The organization has seeded movements addressing major challenges facing women and girls from gender-based violence to legal rights, economic empowerment and reproductive healthcare and security. Global Fund for Women has provided over $100 million in grants to organizations working in 170 countries -- 100 of which now have policies to address violence against women and 47 of which have inheritance laws.
Global Fund for Women has also focused on "tipping points for women" -- or what they have identified as "critical moments for political or social turmoil" -- such as the trafficking of women and climate change. This organization not only funds movements, but also works to connect organizations and ensure women leaders have a seat at the table. Dr. Kanyoro reiterated the importance of intersectionality within the global women's movement as well as the inclusion of women of color, indigenous women and others who have the local credibility and leadership needed for these grassroots efforts to be successful and sustainable.
By supporting grassroots, women-led movements and women leaders themselves, Global Fund for Women is filling a critical funding gap for women's rights internationally. Many surveys on philanthropic trends do not segment data by "women and girls" as a distinct category of impact, but it is estimated that only five to seven percent of all foundation funding is specifically directed to women's and girls' initiatives. Furthermore, it is estimated that only five percent of international aid goes to support gender equality as a principle focus. It is crucial for the philanthropic sector to support efforts focused on gender equality and women's rights -- whether at home here or abroad.
"The world is becoming closer...it is not misplaced to care about what is happening [here] in the U.S. Awareness of local movements help open us up to other movements," shared Dr. Kanyoro.
Dr. Kanyoro reflected on the interconnectedness of the world and how issues impacting women and girls in the U.S. also affect women and girls halfway around the globe. "We've opened our eyes to the problems of the world...we are not going back form an open world and we are not afraid to stand for women's leadership," Kanyoro continued.
Seattle Foundation's Healthy Community Framework delineates the essential elements of a thriving community and focuses philanthropy toward the greatest impact. Built on eight elements, including Global Giving, the framework acknowledges the complex and interwoven nature of both the challenges and assets in our community.
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