Focus on Women and Girls
The focus on women and girls is accelerating with increased awareness of barriers to be broken and new calls for action. Addressing 21st century challenges facing women and girls is central to the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly, whose members gathered in September in New York City. The Clinton Foundation highlighted women and girls at its 2014 conference, earmarking $600 million to improve education for girls that will open the doors to full participation around the world.
Women’s organizations in the United States are front and center in these efforts. In Princeton, NJ, where I live, the Princeton Area Community Foundation (PACF) Fund for Women and Girls (FWG) works on researched-based issues facing women and girls in central New Jersey, annually dispersing more than $100,000 in grants to local non-profits. FWG sponsored a luncheon at Jasna Polana in Princeton on October 16, 2014 featuring Ana Oliveira of The New York Women’s Foundation. Ms. Oliveira spoke about best practices and how women themselves can use their creativity and innovation to support girls and the women who raise them.
We know when girls have access to quality education, … cycles of poverty are broken, economies grow, glass ceilings crack and potential is unleashed. — Hillary Clinton
Taking action to address major challenges becomes more doable with a “gender lens to charitable giving.” Women Moving Millions recently released a report, All in for Her: A Call to Action that invites women to step up and lead the way by increasing their individual giving. The report notes that women have the capacity to give $1 trillion a year globally. Funds to empower women and girls, the report concludes, are essential to solving the world’s greatest problems including poverty and climate change.
In an interview with Forbes, Jacquelyn Zehner, president of Women Moving Millions, whose organization made the $1 trillion challenge, says “women with power, in all its forms (financial including philanthropic, investment and purchasing power – leadership – voice – influence – access to networks) (can) use it with a gender lens. … Countless studies have shown us that when women and girls thrive so do communities, countries and the world as a whole.”
The Boston Consulting Group agrees that $1 trillion is indeed possible. In a 2009 study, the consultancy found that women controlled 27% of the world’s wealth — about $20 trillion dollars. With a conservative annual growth rate of 6%, women could control $75.4 trillion by 2030! That type of financial muscle, combined with clear goals and effective leadership, offers great hope for improving education and healthcare for women and girls living in Trenton, New Jersey to Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
There is no global versus local when focusing on issues facing women and girls. We are all in this together. Take action today. If you live in the greater Princeton area, please join us October 16 to discuss how to help women and girls thrive in New Jersey and New York.