Key Findings and Insights
There was no single strategy or magic formula uncovered, but the following themes and messages were common.
- A universal challenge: Growing funding for women and girls is hard everywhere.
- The Gender Data Gap: Improving gender data is key to overcoming implicit bias.
- Leadership, scale, and diversity: Effective leadership in the funding eco-system is critical, as is scale and diversity.
- Gender Lens philanthropy is still rare: A gender lens approach is not yet embedded across philanthropic giving in any country visited: it is largely limited to women’s funds and a relatively small segment of trusts and foundations.
- Women’s Funding Eco-system: It takes time to build women’s funds and to build scale in women’s funds and foundations.
- Men are part of the solution: Funding women and girls ought not be seen as the responsibility of women only: engaging men in funding for gender equality is the next focus.
- Understanding catalysts for change: Increased giving to women and girls can sometimes be attributed to negative forces we would not wish to replicate (e.g. the US division over reproductive rights), however replicating other catalysts (e.g. seeding and growing a national eco-system of women’s funds) is desirable.
- Celebration of Australia’s achievements: Australia can be proud of profiling women and girls and gender lens in philanthropy: the issue is “on the agenda”, and we are gaining traction that we can build on.
- Corporate Philanthropy: The national network of Male Champions of Change is unparalleled in the countries I visited and presents a unique opportunity in Australia to influence corporate leaders to align their corporate giving with their corporate values about gender equity.
- Sustainable Development Goals: In the absence of regulatory measures, we need to elevate Australia’s focus on Sustainable Development Goals – especially SDG 5 Gender Equality – to lend additional legitimacy to the issue.
Keywords: Philanthropy, institutional giving, gender-based giving, investment, donors, gender equity, social investment, women and girls