A Universal Sign for Help, Powered by a Global Network

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

Dear Colleagues, 

Women’s funds matter. Women’s Funds save lives. This past weekend, a teenage girl was rescued by Kentucky police by using a hand signal created by the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF) and learned on Tik Tok. Known as the “Signal for Help,” this nonverbal hand signal provides a way to discreetly communicate when someone needs help.

Local innovations can become global solutions when amplified and supported by a powerful alliance. This is why women’s funds matter: women are changing the world by creating and sharing solutions with each other, fighting for progress through policy and advocacy work to create a world where every person can be safe, healthy, and powerful.    

As women’s funds and gender justice funders, you know that violence against women is only one part of a web of interconnected issues that prevent us from all being able to be safe and independent. In the short term, resources like the #signalforhelp are a last resort meant to help survivors just before they go over the waterfall. In the long-term, many of you, like CWF, are committing resources and efforts much further upstream to change the material and systemic conditions that perpetuate gender-based violence in the first place. 

The Canadian Women’s Foundation shows us what it looks like when women’s fund do what they do best: respond quickly, road test solutions, and then share what works generously across a global network for multiplied impact.   

Thank you for joining us.  

In solidarity, 


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

Letters from Elizabeth