A gender-neutral approach to grantmaking does not necessarily result in equal outcomes for women and girls and men and boys. Policies and programs can have a different impact on women and men. Equitable grantmaking can mean treating people differently to accommodate their differences.
Why should funders support women and girls?
- Research has found that mainstream programs generally under-serve women.
- A gender-neutral approach can result in women and children missing out.
- When gender is not considered, there is a risk that gender assumptions slip into programs.
- Inequitable programs are often less effective.
- Helping women has a flow-on effect, benefiting society as a whole.
What is equitable grantmaking?
- does not favour women over men
- does not compromise funding based on merit
- acknowledges that men and women have different social positions, skills, opportunities and resources and face different challenges
- acknowledges that programs and policies can affect men and women in vastly different ways
- is about making the best use of dollars spent
- ultimately increases opportunities for long-term change for everyone, including women and girls.
How do we introduce a "gender lens" to our program?
- Ask yourself:
- Is gender equality an existing priority within our organisation?
- Does our funding purposely seek to enhance gender equality, and is this reflected in our mission, vision and strategy?
- Which of our funded programs over the past two years best illustrates our organisation's awareness of gender?
- How has gender awareness translated into project design, implementation and outcomes?
- Can we think of any examples where increased gender awareness might have led to stronger outcomes from a past project?
- Find a cause. Consider a critical issue affecting women and girls, and seek to fund projects and programs to effect change in that area. Possibilities include access to education or healthcare for women and girls; women and girls who are homeless or living in poverty; domestic violence; human rights; women having a voice in the arts.
- Encourage grantseekers to apply a gender lens to all aspects of their projects.
- Review your application forms, application processes, decision-making structure, and monitoring and evaluation policies to address gender issues.
- Examine your gender balance: promote diversity within your organisation's leadership.
How do we improve our existing equity efforts?
- Critically appraise proposals:
- Does the project reflect the needs of women and girls in all its main aspects?
- Can women and girls enjoy real and effective involvement?
- Are the needs of women and girls safeguarded in practical ways?
- What are the expected outcomes for women and girls? Are they likely to be lasting, as opposed to short-lived?
- Will the outcomes be communicated beyond the project to strengthen advocacy and policy development elsewhere?
- Will the project outcomes be conveyed to others in the philanthropic sector?
- Speak with stakeholders about the importance of including women and girls in programs.
- Write women into design, targets and measurement:
- Does the project have clear aims and targets for men and boys? For women and girls? For both?
- Does the project consciously reflect and take account of any differences in the needs, interests and circumstances of men and women?
- Are women and men represented satisfactorily on the project management and governance group?
- Does the "culture" of the project encourage both men and women to voice their opinions?
- How will you ensure accountability when reporting on outcomes and impacts?
- What are the intended impacts and outcomes for the people involved? Do they differ for different groups?
- Consider how other social factors intersect with gender in relation to the programs you consider funding. These factors include age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and sexuality.
This advice is taken from a guide published by the Australian Women Donors Network: Gender-Wise Philanthropy: Strengthening Society by Investing in Women and Girls