This is a series on how feminist and gender justice funders are responding to COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting women and girls the hardest, especially those from low-income communities. A recent study in the U.K. finds that women were about one-third more likely than men to work in a sector that has been shut down, as they make up the bulk of retail and hospitality workers. In the face of gender injustice, a group of philanthropic funders are acting, rooted in feminist principles to challenge oppressive norms and power relations. The first step is to address the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has on women and girls.
“Home is not a safe place for many women and girls. Gender-based violence – affecting 1 in 3 women globally over their lifetimes – is a risk now with COVID-19. Mandatory lock-downs trap and isolate; other sheltering options are inaccessible; added stresses trigger perpetrators; medical care and psychological support are overburdened,” says Cynthia Steele, President and CEO of EMpower, a foundation focused on at-risk youth in emerging market countries. Despite the reported rise in domestic violence, governments have not been providing support to those affected. In mid-March, Steele and the Empower team already reached out to their grantees individually to express solidarity and check in on them.
EMpower is also a partner of the With and For Girls Collective, the world’s only participatory fund by, and for, adolescent girls. They are working on a series to highlight how, in this global health and economic crisis, girls will continue to be the worst affected, and a multitude of issues will be exacerbated, whilst new concerns and inequalities will also arise.
Another strategic partner of With and For Girls Collective, Global Fund for Women is supporting grantee partners to respond to the rise of domestic violence in countries with lockdown. They have invested in over 5,000 grassroots organizations in 175 countries since 1987. “We are supporting grantee partners who are running help lines for victims of domestic violence during shelter-in-place orders, working to ensure the protection of Palestinians in the LGBTQI+ community from violence stemming from the impact of COVID-19, physical isolation, and occupation, and supporting survivors of the growing and brutal violence against transgender women under quarantine situations in Central America,” says Latanya Mapp Frett, President and CEO of Global Fund for Women.
In the U.S., Collective Future Fund announced in March of a $2 million rapid response Survivor Safety and Support Fund. “We are committed to centering trans, cisgender, and non-binary women and girls of color survivors and movement leaders, and we are addressing the specific needs of women and girl survivors of violence in these communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Aleyamma Mathew, the Fund’s executive director.
“The fund will help these survivors, along with the millions of queer, trans, and cis women of color and Indigenous and immigrant women who make up significant proportions of the community-based first responders in essential care and service industries and now face risks to their health, emotional stress, and the added economic insecurity brought on by the coronavirus outbreak in addition to the widespread discrimination, harassment, and violence and lack of health benefits and paid sick days, low wages and job insecurity they already faced,” continues Mathew.
In New York, one of the places hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Women’s Foundation launched in March a $1 million response fund, to helping women, transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary individuals, and their families most impacted by COVID-19. “Rooted in a tradition of Radical Generosity, The Foundation is launching the new fund to support the needs of its grantee partners as they navigate the impacts of COVID-19 and respond to the needs of their community,” says Ana Oliveria, President and CEO of The Foundation.
Courtesy of News : forbes