The Immigrant Journey is Often One of Survival, Not Choice

Dear Colleagues,

On Sunday, World Refugee Day, we celebrated the contributions immigrants make to all countries. But even as we honor them, we cannot forget that their journey is often one of survival, not choice. 

As feminist funders, we know that economic resilience and peace are intertwined. Now is the time for a global framework that centers the wellbeing of marginalized genders of ethnic minorities and in communities of color, and that interrogates violent global systems of power that drive millions of people from their homes and homelands each year. 

According to the UN, 1 in every 95 people on earth has fled their home. In addition, 82.4 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced at the end of 2020 as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order. Refugees are typically women and children; in fact, half of the world’s refugees are children. COVID-19 has exacerbated existing gender inequities, with reports of rising violence against women. Displaced women of color, indigenous women, and youth face compounded risks and barriers.

The recent conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia, underscores how violence and the consolidation of power can directly impact women, children, and families. Across Tigray an estimated 1.7 million people are displaced and thousands of them are living in communal sites without adequate shelter and resources. 

Thankfully, initiatives like the Generation Equality Forum are fueling a powerful and lasting global coalition for gender equality. That’s why your WFN made a commitment on behalf of the network to move $300 million in investments and resources to economic justice and rights over the next five years. This commitment reflects your global efforts at this vital moment for activists, feminists, youth and allies to achieve transformative change for generations to come. You can support gender equality and women’s empowerment around the world by taking part in the UN Women’s Generation Equality Campaign or help raise awareness on social media.

No matter where violence and displacement occur in the world, we draw inspiration from the work of members across the Network. Organizations like Rise Up and the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights and Global Fund for Women partner with women’s movements worldwide to create cultures of justice, equality and peace.

Thank you for all you do.

In solidarity,

Elizabeth Signature

Elizabeth Barajas-Román
Women’s Funding Network 
President & CEO

Letters from Elizabeth