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Where is the money for feminist organising?

Τhe interest in financing gender equality and feminist collective actions may have grown over the years, nevertheless the backlash against gender justice in many countries and the severe under-resourcing of feminist movements persist.

The UN warns that all of the global progress made towards gender equality over a generation can be wiped out with a  deepening crisis catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before COVID-19, the UN Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, emerged as one of the least financed SDGs.

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) performed an analysis, based on budget information from 3,739 organizational profiles submitted with Global Fund for Women between 2015 and 2019, and just released a report with some devastating numbers:

  • Only 0.42% of foundation grants are allocated towards women’s rights.
  • Despite new funding commitments made, women’s rights organizations (WROs) receive only 0.13% of the total Official Development Assistance (ODA) and 0.4% of all gender related aid
  • 99% of development aid and foundation grants still do not directly reach women’s rights and feminist organizations. In particular, those groups working at intersecting forms of marginalization (LGBTIQ, indigenous, young feminists, and sex workers) are funded even less.
  • 48% of women’s rights and feminist organizations from the Global South seeking funding from Global Fund for Women report their most recent fiscal year budget was less than $30,000 USD a year

feminist funding

Despite the advances made on gender equality and women’s rights since the Beijing Platform, it is clear that the funding ecosystem for intersectional feminist organizing, and for feminist movements in general, is still bleak. Newly committed resources are not reaching feminist movements at the breadth and depth necessary, especially in the Global South. These findings constitute a clear call to all actors within the feminist funding ecosystem to mobilize so that resources finally reach feminist movements and activists during this critical period.

The mechanisms discussed in the report recommends funders to:

  • Leverage their political commitments to start new funding programmes or review the ones already in place;
  • Make their eligibility criteria and funding mechanisms fit for purpose to fund organizations that have the greatest impact on women’s rights;
  • Commit to developing accountability mechanisms directly to feminist movements;
  • and Embrace and include participatory governance models that include constituency-led and grassroots feminist actors.

AWID is a global, feminist, membership, movement-support organization that for over 35 years supports feminist, women’s rights, and gender justice  movements to thrive, to be a driving force in challenging systems of oppression, and to co-create feminist realities.

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