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Elizabeth Barajas-Román: Feminist funding and gender equity


In this episode we speak to Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President & CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, about taking a feminist approach to funding and what more philanthropy should be doing to drive gender equity.


  • What does it mean to be a feminist funder?
  • Is feminist funding just for those who are interested in gender and women’s issues, or can the principles be applied by funders in other areas?
  • What are the similarities and the differences in terms of the context for gender equity issues across different geographic regions?
  • How important is it to take an intersectional approach when funding gender issues?
  • Is it ever a challenge to balance specificity in focusing on the particular needs of intersectional groups against the desire to address gender-based issues more broadly? Or can the two be mutually reinforcing?
  • How important is the rise of women as donors (individually, or using collective models) for ensuring the growth of gender equity funding?
  • What impact has the US Supreme Court’s decision to roll back the abortion rights in Roe v Wade had on the landscape for gender equity and women’s philanthropy in the US?
  • Has it had an impact on gender equity and women’s rights orgs work in other countries too?
  • Does the rollback of Roe vs Wade suggest that philanthropic funders in the US were complacent about the need to defend previously won freedoms? Does it suggest that gender issues were not taken seriously enough?
  • Is philanthropy too often paternalistic, and centered on decisions being made about communities rather than by them? Is this a particular problem for women’s organisations?
  • Is there a risk that funders can co-opt social movements or grassroots orgs, by deliberately introducing grant stipulations etc aimed to direct the focus of the movement away from controversial areas or soften their tactics?
  • Do participatory approaches come more naturally to orgs with roots in the history of feminism and women’s rights? What can other funders learn from them?

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