Why SF will be the Epicenter of the Women’s Movement this September

Cynthia Nimmo

We recently sat down with Women’s Funding Network President & CEO Cynthia Nimmo to hear more about the organization’s upcoming Women Funded 2019: Leadership for a Changing World conference, which will take place in San Francisco, September 11-13.

How does the upcoming Leadership for a Changing World conference tie into the mission of the Women’s Funding Network?

Part of our mission is to bring together funders of gender equity from all over the world at our biennial conference, so that they can connect and learn from our speakers and from each other. For our attendees, it’s very gratifying to hear about how some of the current work being funded is positively impacting the lives of women and girls on a global, national, and local level. In addition, within the last five years of our thirty-year history, we have sought to bring more awareness to the need for gender equity worldwide. As a result, for this edition of the conference, we have brought together an incredible roster of global thought leaders. They will help us forecast where both the gender equity and the women’s funding movements might be headed.

What are some of the conference highlights?

Over three days, we will bring together 400 leaders in the women’s funding movement and feature more than 80 speakers in over 40 sessions. There are so many wonderful speakers and sessions that it’s hard to cite just a few, but one of particular interest is the opening panel on Wednesday morning [September 11], that will look at cutting-edge approaches to philanthropy, corporate responsibility, government funding and impact investing for the advancement of gender equity. That session‘s panel will include Paulette Senior of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Incidentally, Canada just announced a historic increase in global spending on women and girl’s health, so this is a particularly timely and relevant topic. This panel also includes speakers from the Gates Foundation, NoVo Foundation, and Pivotal Ventures.

Our speakers, from all walks of life, are creating innovative and effective solutions to everything from climate change to the wage gap. For example, the conference will include women who were formerly incarcerated and are now leaders in the criminal justice system, Latina women leading the national effort for reproductive rights, and Native American women who are front and center in the national dialogue on how to better partner with the Native American population. We will also hear from women investing in women and look at how philanthropy can be reshaped to direct and maximize resources toward gender equity. I think it’s so important to hear from the people who are effecting change directly and I’m particularly inspired by our incredible roster of speakers and sessions this year.

What are some of the conference highlights for non-members?

I think the majority of our sessions are for everyone and participants will find them both educational and inspiring. For example, the “I am Remarkable” session will demonstrate how women working with women can enhance career opportunities and boost women’s ability to self-promote in the recruitment and workplace environments. We also have a session on “The Happy, Healthy Woman Leader,” which probably speaks for itself, and an exercise by Native Americans in Philanthropy that provides a deeper understanding of the history of indigenous peoples. I’m also excited that we will screen Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s The Great American Lie, which has not been widely seen and uncovers the connection between gender and social and economic immobility. Donors will also be able to learn how to leverage and maximize different forms of giving and investing, in order to support female leadership and innovation.

There are also sessions on engaging boys and men in the equity movement and how we might reform current systems in order to create more opportunity for our future leaders. The conference’s diversity of topics and scopefrom women’s role within the global economy to specific case studies like “Ending Child Marriage in Pakistan”offers a unique opportunity for all of us to think deeply together about how we can work toward the project of gender equity and I’m incredibly inspired and excited.

For more information on the Leadership for a Changing World Conference, visit


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