Giving Compass' Take:

• Jewish foundations are working hard to elevate female leaders in roles that take on more responsibility and offer spaces for perspectives to respond to issues like COVID-19. 

• What are the benefits of female leadership in charitable giving? 

• Learn more about female leadership within gender and giving. 

Whether it is as leaders of countries (Germany, New Zealand, Iceland, Finland), or as leaders of corporations and foundations and nonprofit organizations in and outside the Jewish community, women have been demonstrating their unique ‘courageous leadership’ skills during this COVID-19 Pandemic. As Tom Friedman so astutely pointed out in his recent NYTimes op-ed (4/21/20) “in a time of crisis, like we are in now, with people feeling frightened and uncertain, leadership doesn’t just matter more. It matters exponentially more.”

In our own Jewish community, it is predominantly women who are juggling the many different roles of parenting young children, putting food on the table, worrying about aging parents AND meeting the day to day responsibilities of either leading their organizations as CEOs or supporting the male leaders of their organizations as COOs or senior staff members. What is it that distinguishes women leaders and makes them particularly effective in this time of enormous stress and societal upheaval?

Fortunately, a few years ago Jewish communal foundations decided to invest in a “pipeline project” that is now known as Leading Edge. In their fourth study about “What Makes Jewish Organizations Great Places to Work?,” published in the Fall of 2019, they state what has become well known to us in the Jewish community: “Approximately two-thirds of the total workforce in the Jewish nonprofit sector is female. When it comes to leadership positions, however, approximately two-thirds are held by men.” The report goes on to say that “achieving gender parity in leadership is the right thing to do and is also critical to solving the complex problems facing our community today.” This has never been truer than it is now as we navigate our way forward to what will be a radically different post-COVID Jewish communal world.

Read the full article about elevating female leaders by Nancy K. Kaufman and Lori Weinstein at eJewish Philanthropy.