By Rena Greifinger, Director, Individual Philanthropy
In the U.S., less than 2 percent of philanthropy dollars are dedicated to women and girls. Consider that against the backdrop of the Global Gender Gap Index; since the Index’s 2006 founding, gender equality gaps have decreased by a mere 0.24 percent per year. At this glacial pace, it will take 131 years to close the gap.
Let’s be frank: philanthropy alone is not the solution to achieving gender equality. Entire systems require reimagining and cultural norms need rewriting. But do not allow philanthropy’s relative smallness to overshadow its significance, for there is no other form of capital that sparks as much creativity, ingenuity, flexibility, and innovation as private philanthropy. To close the gap, philanthropy is essential, and it needs to step up.
I’m betting on women to lead the way.
By 2030, American women will control much of the $30 trillion in financial assets that baby boomers possess. According to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, when women have control of money, they are more likely to give it away to social causes; give more than their male counterparts; give out of empathy rather than self-interest; give collectively rather than alone; and invest in organizations focused on women and girls.
With progress toward gender equality backsliding, it’s critical that women are ready to move resources in a bold way, and to do so together. On this International Day of the Girl Child, we join our global community to celebrate the gains made in girls’ thriving, and to recognize how much further we need to go. As women donors committed to accelerating gender equality, we join our philanthropy partners in the call to Give to Women and Girls and to join us in the sea of change that Maverick Collective by PSI started building a decade ago.
Women-Led, Collective Giving
In 2013, Melinda French Gates and HRH the Crown Princess of Norway, in partnership with Population Services International, set out to disrupt philanthropy’s status quo by moving more resources to women and girls through catalytic investments in health and reproductive rights. They created Maverick Collective by PSI, a community of women philanthropists using an experiential philanthropy approach that blends real-dollar grantmaking with hands-on learning and a community of like-valued peers to collaborate and grow with. Through bold giving, unparalleled proximity to frontline leaders and communities, and a generation of donors that are activated in the movements they fund, we are reshaping philanthropy’s future for health and gender equality. Since 2013, Maverick Collective has mobilized over $100M in new funding for girl-centered programming, reached 7 million people globally with cutting-edge healthcare, and, across five countries, helped change policies that restricted women’s access to care.
As we celebrate 10 years of impact, we are restlessly optimistic about what it will take to make the next decade better for gender equality.
We know it starts with women, coming together in community with the courage to give boldly and the curiosity to act differently. We know it requires deep collaboration across generations, geographies, and movements. We are fired up by the changes we’ve seen Maverick Collective spark, and humbled by our sisters who are taking the bigger, and often riskier, leaps of movement-building around the world. And like we celebrated during our 10-year anniversary event, we are doubling down on our commitment to keep changing philanthropy’s game, so that every day is a celebration of girlhood and a clarion call to give to women and girls.
Honoring Changemakers in Philanthropy – and on the Frontlines
Maverick Collective’s 10-year anniversary event brought together Mavericks in philanthropy and Mavericks on the frontlines – the people doing the difficult, uncomfortable, and often high-risk work in their communities to drive innovation and spark social change – to honor six exceptional women leaders and activists that are accelerating change for reproductive, climate, and gender justice.
These six women fight to ignite the change they want to see every day, and are examples of some of the great and critical work that we still have to do in this space. We hope that they inspire you to step up, give more, and take action for women and girls. We don’t have time to lose.
- Michele Goodwin, an award-winning author, activist, professor, and PSI Board member, is a global thought leader and advocate for abortion rights. Her podcast and writings provide instrumental commentary on reproductive justice.
- Shruthi Kumar, student, social entrepreneur, and Founder of GoYogi, actively seeks justice in menstrual equity on college campuses. Learn more and support Shruthi’s fight for menstrual equity.
- Pat Mitchell is a connector, convener, curator and Co-founder of TEDWomen and Connected Women Leaders. Her life and work model how to share power and the difference each of us can make in shaping an equitable, sustainable world.
- Hafsat Abiola, Co-founder of Connected Women Leaders and Project Dandelion, is a pro-democracy and civil rights activist, former member of Nigeria’s state cabinet, and President of the Women in Africa initiative.
Together, Pat Mitchell and Hafsat Abiola created Project Dandelion, a new women-led global climate justice campaign. Support their fight against the climate crisis and those who are suffering the most; women and girls.
- Hali Lee is a leader in philanthropy, creating space for more donors of color and democratizing the ways people give. Learn more about her work supporting arts & culture and support her work through the Asian Women’s Giving Circle.
- Favianna Rodriguez, artist and President of The Center for Cultural Power, is regarded as one of the leading thinkers and personalities uniting art, culture and social impact. Join The Center for Cultural Power in its mission to imagine a world where power is distributed equitably.