What We Are Reading: January 2021

Illustration by Paula Champagne
There is growing consensus on the importance of funding feminist activists and their organizations. Yet many funders still find it difficult. They don’t have the capacity or the experience. The ‘transaction costs’ may be considered too high and definitions of ‘risk’ get in the way. This timely, new report responds to and provides answers to these challenges.

After reviewing the landscape and the challenges, the authors outline basic ‘building blocks’ that bilateral and multilateral funders can put in place to better reach feminist movements. They explore four basic categories, providing options in each.

  • Political commitment
  • Eligibility criteria
  • Programme design and funding mechanisms
  • Governance and management.

These ‘building blocks’ are illustrated through several case profiles. These cases outline recent initiatives that have been successful in moving money to feminist organizations and movements. We’re excited to see the Equality Fund profiled on this list.

Moving More Money to the Drivers of Change: How Bilateral and Multilateral Funders Can Resource Feminist MovementsAWID, Mama Cash, and Count Me In! (November 2020)


From the global to the local.  Our next selection comes from an organization working at the municipal level in Ottawa, Canada.

Feminists around the world are looking to do more than ‘build back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic. They are putting together concrete recommendations on how recovery investments can build more equal and sustainable economies and societies. One of the early inspirations came from a county in Hawaii, when they adopted a COVID recovery plan that gave priority to women and gender equality. As the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic have become more and more evident and clearer, the urgency of this approach is clear.

The City for All Women Initiative spent several months talking to their members, community leaders, researchers and organizational partners regarding the impact of the pandemic and what could be done. They developed a set of recommendations using an intersectional lens covering:

  • Housing for all
  • Food security for all
  • Income security for all
  • Social inclusion for all
  • Safety for all.

Underpinning all of these recommendations, the authors highlight the importance of gender-disaggregated data. This is a concrete and important call to leaders at the local level.

Gendered Recovery ReportCity for All Women Initiative (CAWI) (2020)

Gendered recovery report

As the Biden/Harris administration settles in in the United States, there are questions around changes in foreign policy. This policy brief recommends how a feminist foreign policy could be operationalized with the institutions and policy-making processes of the US government.

The brief generally explores tenets of a feminist foreign policy, highlighting the importance of listening to traditionally marginalized voices in the policy process. “At its core, feminist foreign policy addresses power imbalances between the implementers of foreign policy and those impacted by it.” It draws on the experience of implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda and previous commitments to gender equality in US foreign policy.

The brief provides recommendations for American policy makers (from the President and Congress, through to specific agencies), including:

  • Diversify representation;
  • Prioritize gender in information collection and analysis;
  • Ensure input from those affected;
  • Reform the institutional structure;
  • Increase accountability of individuals and transparency of institutions;
  • Increase resources; and
  • Utilize technology.

Interestingly, the focus is on the administrative and technical aspects, rather than thematic questions such as disarmament, sexual/reproductive health and rights, demilitarization, anti-colonialism, intersectionality and anti-racism.

Concrete Steps Toward a Feminist Foreign Policy One Earth Future and Our Secure Future  (Winter 2021)

Secure future

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