NNCG Knowledge Center

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Gender Transformative Philanthropy

November 5, 2012

As foundations and other philanthropic institutions assess where they can maximize the social return on their charitable investments, many are looking at issues of gender norms and gender equity. One program officer put it this way: "Our grantees and staff get race and class; some are even starting to get sexual orientation. What I want to know is -- what happened to gender? Where is the gender analysis?" Over two decades of research has now shown that challenging harmful codes of masculinity and femininity is a major key to improving outcomes in reproductive health and gender-based violence. Yet the field continues to mostly overlook gender norms. As the same time, studies have shown conclusively that having a strong gender analysis of the disparate impacts on women and men is crucial to increasing the effectiveness of civic engagement organizing. However, many non-profits in this space either ignore gender equity, or marginalize it as a "women's issue." As one experienced program officer put it, "Grantees need to see gender and race together. Gender impacts every issue they work on. But grantees are not being challenged to do innovative work around gender [in a way that parallels their work on race or class concerns]. This accessible overview will help program officers who want to integrate a stronger gender focus into their giving and their grantees' work and analysis.

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