We must pull all the levers for gender justice
In March, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, President BidenJoe BidenPelosi votes on bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday Pressure increases to cut diplomatic formalities for Afghans left behind President Biden makes the world a more dangerous place MORE issued a decree establish the Gender Policy Council and create our country’s first-ever national gender strategy âas a matter of human rights, justice and equityâ. The council’s recommendations for legislative and policy changes, both nationally and internationally, are expected to land on his desk overnight.
The goal of a coordinated strategy is to advance gender equity across a wide range of topics, including economic security, health, education, foreign policy, climate change and gender-based violence. If this sounds like a huge network, it’s because every political issue needs to be approached from a gender and intersectional perspective in order for it to be truly transformative. Gender equity must be integrated into our efforts to advance racial equity, as women of color face even greater systemic barriers. It should also include equality for transgender women and girls, gender nonconforming people and LGBTQ + people, as it needs to focus on people who experience multiple forms of discrimination and prejudice. In our progression, we want to go far, we want to go fast – and this time, we will not leave anyone behind.
Gender equity at the political level must also recognize that seemingly different political priorities are all interconnected. For example, raising a girl of course affects her future economic security. Restrictions on access to health care, including sexual and reproductive health care, undermine a woman’s ability to care for her family and advance in the workplace. Failure to act on the climate crisis has an impact on women and girls around the world, who constitute 80 percent people displaced by climate change.
In addition to bold and intersectional policies, another lever that we must harness in the fight to advance gender equality is the investment by government and private donors in funds for women – community foundations created for the purpose. accelerate progress for all by investing in the leadership of women and girls. , especially black, Latin, Native American, and other women and girls of color. Funds intended for women transfer money faster than traditional funds, and they often finance at the margins, reaching out to the organizations of the nascent movement. During the pandemic, new groups organized primarily by women of color took action across the country to address unprecedented needs such as affordable housing, food insecurity, child care and process protection. democratic, fueled by grants from women’s funds. These local women’s philanthropic groups are also based in the communities they serve, which builds trust, relationships and a deep understanding of their needs.
Policy changes that are created, tested and validated locally by the Women’s Funds can lay the groundwork for national policy transformation. In Arizona, for example, low-income working mothers could access federally funded child care vouchers. Yet if mothers enrolled in college courses or vocational training, it did not count as âworking,â causing them to lose their childcare vouchers, essentially blocking upward mobility. The Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, a women’s fund led by Dr Amalia Luxardo and a member organization of the Women’s Funding Network, stepped in and worked with legislators change state use of funds to enable women to qualify for childcare vouchers while working or attending school or vocational training. The new policy is better for women, but it is also better for families and for our economy. This change in the way federal funds are used in a state is a perfect case study of how women’s funds can lay the groundwork for proven national policies.
Everyone understands that policies on abortion or equal pay affect women. But the truth is, even policies that do not appear on the surface to be “about women” have a huge impact on women’s livelihoods, health, security, happiness and freedom. With Biden following the recommendations of the Gender Policy Council and with the support of Fund for Women, we have a unique opportunity to make real change and create a future where everyone can thrive.
Elizabeth Barajas-RomÃ¡n is the President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, the world’s largest philanthropic organization for gender equality.