What We Are Reading: May 2021

May 1, 2021

A  new AWID report,  Where is the Money for Feminist Organizing?  analyzes the budgets of feminist and grassroots women’s rights organizations and the funding flows from bilateral and philanthropic donors.  Despite an increase in donor interest in funding gender equality work, feminist movements remain severely underfunded.  Research shows that feminist movements play a critical role in advancing and sustaining gender equality gains. However, a study of  nearly 4000 women’s rights organizations in the global South revealed that almost half had annual budgets below $30,000 USD.  Less than 1% of development funding for gender reaches women’s rights organizations.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated gender equality gaps. Anti-gender movements are mobilizing massive resources in support of agendas aimed at rolling back gender equality gains. To achieve gender equality, a major shift in how power and resources flow is required.  The report calls for bolder commitments to funding feminist activists and movements in this critical time, and recommends that donors:

  • Leverage political commitments to start new funding programs or review existing ones;
  • Ensure that eligibility criteria and funding mechanisms allow them to fund the organizations making the greatest impact on women’s rights;
  • Develop accountability mechanisms that link directly to feminist movements;
  • Elevate participatory governance models that include constituency-led and grassroots feminist actors.

Where is the Money for Feminist Organizing?Tenzin Dolker (Contributors: Kasia Staszewska, Inna Michaeli, Gopika Bashi, and Cindy Clark) (2021)

As the Paris Generation Equality Forum (GEF) approaches, a recently released Young Feminist Manifesto questions whether Generation Equality is living into its ambitious vision for advancing gender equality.  The multistakeholder GEF process was designed to center civil society, and explicitly recognizes the important role young feminists play in achieving gender equality objectives.  The members of the Youth Task Force for Generation Equality, and other youth activists engaged in the process believe it is falling short when it comes to promoting youth leadership and co-ownership, putting feminist values into practice and ensuring that the GEF is shifting power and ensuring intersectional approaches. The Manifesto lays out “a young, intersectional feminist vision” for the Generation Equality Forum and its Action Coalitions including an analysis of the way the process is working now, and examples of challenges youth leaders have faced. Recommendations include:

  • Shifting, challenging and transforming power inequalities through a power analysis and efforts to counter imbalances and share power more fairly and equally;
  • Moving beyond youth participation to youth co-leadership and co-ownership;
  • Strengthening accountability to youth in decision-making, including mechanisms for them to contest decisions;
  • Resourcing the participation of youth leaders to ensure diverse, representative participation;
  • Capacity strengthening workshops for Action Coalition leaders and other key stakeholders in the GEF process focused on feminist leadership, intersectionality, and decolonizing approaches.

Young Feminist Manifesto — Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition Youth Leaders, National Gender Youth Activists and Youth Task Force (2021)

This Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security report explores how gender disparities, discriminatory norms, class, race and ethnic identities increase vulnerability to climate impacts and conflict.  At the same time, these factors also limit access to processes, platforms and dialogues aimed at anticipating and addressing these impacts. Case studies from Colombia, Sudan and Nepal offer examples of contexts where women’s groups have overcome the obstacles and made important contributions to peace and environmental sustainability. 

The report makes recommendations for mitigating the impacts of climate change on women, centering them as leaders and actors, and strengthening the linkages and addressing the gaps in the climate-gender-conflict nexus.   5 priority areas for action are proposed:

  • Buffer the disproportionate vulnerabilities women bear from climate change impacts;
  • Center women as crucial actors in climate, peace, and security;
  • Strengthen linkages between the different levels and sectors in the climate-gender-conflict nexus;
  • Address knowledge gaps within the climate/ gender/ conflict nexus;
  • Promote women’s leadership in climate-related conflict mitigation and prevention and reduce barriers to inclusion.

The Climate-Gender-Conflict Nexus-Amplifying Women’s Contributions at the Grassroots — Jessica M. Smith, Lauren Olosky, Jennifer Grosman Fernández (2021)

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