From the CE: Generosity to support women and girls

March 15, 2018

Research suggests that less than 10% of philanthropic and grantmaking funding goes to programmes specifically targeting women and girls. That’s not good enough in a country like New Zealand where sexual and gender-based violence is pandemic, gender pay equity still over 200 years away at the current rate of progress, and recent events signal the need for our ‘#metoo’ movement calling out the silence and tacit tolerance of sexual harassment, rape culture, male privilege, workplace bullying and violence.

Of course, much of the change in response needs to come from men. We’ve been taught that we need to “man-up”, to be staunch, powerful, in-charge, unfeeling; and with that comes licence to abuse, to harass, to find humour in violence and oppression, to keep the ‘other’ out, and to mask our fear of difference with anger, antagonism, and denial of the testimony of the victims of male power and behaviour. Everyone has much to gain from male rejection of that position.

But at the same time, services for women and girls, the movement for empowerment, gender equity campaigns and women’s organisations from Rape Crisis to Urutapu to National Council for Women are all crucial in making our world a better place. Most of them live hand-to-mouth, survive on the goodwill of volunteers, and suffer from the risk of neglect and antagonism reserved for those courageous enough to speak truth to power.

That all adds up to a challenge for our sector, and makes the work of the Auckland Foundation, their new Women’s Fund, and the passion and energy at their Women’s Give event all the more welcome. I understand other community foundations are considering following suit to help grow gender-wise philanthropy in other parts of the country—a move PNZ strongly support.

Author: Tony Paine. CE, Philanthropy New Zealand