Feminist Funding Fuels Human Rights

Dear Colleagues,

The anti-gender movement is top of mind this week for me at Human Rights Funders Network’s Funding Futures Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia. Being in community with the Women’s Fund in Georgia, and the Global Philanthropy Project, I am reminded that around the globe, women, gender-nonconforming people, and the LGBTQI community are on the underfunded front lines of resistance to authoritarian ideology, redefining the populist category of “the people” in expansive, feminist terms by embracing inclusivity over marginalization, intersectionality over universalism, and global solidarity over nationalism. 

I am also reminded that the United States is only one of six countries globally not to ratify the Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which is one of nine core UN human rights treaties. CEDAW promotes gender justice in every area of life—civil, political, economic, and cultural—and recognizes a broad range of intersecting identities. Often described as an international bill of rights for women, CEDAW has been ratified by every country in the world, except for six: Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Palau, Tonga, and the US.

In response, the Cities for CEDAW movement emerged ten years ago to mobilize gender justice in the US from the ground up. Why is this important? Because when cities pass CEDAW, effective ordinances contain an oversight body and funding for conducting data analyses to identify inequities. This data doesn’t just sit on a shelf. It must include a community-wide action plan to remedy inequities. 

As part of WFN’s work to support local, feminist, power building, I am thrilled WFN is partnering with Women’s Intercultural Network (WIN) and Cities for CEDAW to build a collaborative open data portal to track the progress of CEDAW-inspired legislation and allow jurisdictions to publish datasets so that other cities, women’s funds and commissions, and other aligned organizations can coordinate and develop strategy to advance local gender equity. 

It’s in the spirit of collaboration, that I am reminded that our power as a movement comes from both our deep expertise and partnerships on the local level as well as our ability as a network to collaborate, support, and build strategies across local, state, and global lines.  Thank you again for all you do.  

With gratitude, 

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

Letters from Elizabeth