The Women’s Funding Network is currently hosting their 2011 annual conference in Brooklyn, New York this weekend, called “The Power of Global Networks.” I was fortunate enough to attend their opening plenary yesterday morning and listen to Majora Carter introduce her background and innovative ideas for the financial networking of women.
Money is the one tool that proves to be just as destructive as it is freeing. It can be the source of much anxiety and frustration for those who struggle to acquire it. Simultaneously, however, it can greatly alter the status quo of a pessimistic situation. Carter articulated that in order for women to join the tiny percentages of successful organizations led by females, we have to donate money. She then asked of her predominantly female audience, “What does it mean to be authentically global?”
Global issues affect all of us; we are all citizens of the world, and there cannot be complete peace as long as the majority is suffering. The Women’s Funding Network globally invests in women and programs that are both designed and executed by other women. Their ultimate goal perpetuates a more empowering environment for females on an international level, and encourages the communication and relationships between women of different nations.It also stresses the extreme importance of financial relations involved in an effective social change movement.
While holding the position as a big-wig donor is rightfully important, all women should also realize there are multiple roles to be played in this fight for a better world. These roles can unfortunately depend on income and the amount of money we’re able to give, but those of us who can’t donate the big bucks aren’t completely at a loss. There are many different ways to collaborate on these issues. For example, I’m not a millionaire, but I insist on writing about women’s issues and giving a voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to express their causes.
If women want to be realistic about accomplishing critical long-term goals, there has to be a fusion between those who contribute through a creative means and others who need to put their money where their mouths are, so to speak. Carter emphasized this on Thursday when she explained, “There is a funding disparity between organizations and companies led by men and women, at a 20:1 ratio. In the year 2011, the number of philanthropy donations are growing, but our problems aren’t getting any better.
In order to level out the playing field, more women with money need to donate in the same number brackets as their male counterparts. This is one of the main initiatives of The Women’s Funding Network and their “Power of Global Networks” conference; to empower wealthier females to make strategic decisions as to where their dollars are distributed.
Instead of wrongfully creating a surplus of new non-profit organizations, companies that already exist need to make sure they’re properly allocating funds. This is a critical component to effective social change, especially when it comes to international human rights issues. While idealism is all well and good, it unfortunately is not the driving force of our economic world.
Majora Carter said it best when she concluded her ideas and pleaded to the audience, “I need your help, and I think you need mine too. Meet me there.” (Or maybe Liza Minnelli sang it best.)