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Financing a gender justice infrastructure

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Financing a Gender Justice Infrastructure to Counter Anti-Gender Ideology and Anti-Rights Movements


March 25, 2024

On March 19, 2024 the Ford Foundation, along with Global Philanthropy Project and the Institute of Development Studies, sponsored a parallel event to the 68th session of UN Commission on  the Status of Women conference in New York City. Titled “Financing a Gender Justice Infrastructure to Counter Anti-Gender Ideology and Anti-Rights Movements,” the event consisted of six presentations.

During the presentations, presenters and participants repeatedly stated, “I am full of rage” and “I’m raging.” Summaries of these presentations are shown below.

Argentinian President Milei’s Anti-Feminism Speech

Presenter: Angelika Arutyunova-

Co-Founder, CEECCNA Collaborative Fund

President Milei’s speech against feminism stirred considerable controversy within feminist circles. Many feminists argue that Milei’s rhetoric undermines decades of progress in gender equality and women’s rights. They view feminism not as a threat but as a crucial movement advocating for the rights and empowerment of women and marginalized genders.

Milei’s stance is seen as reflective of deeply ingrained patriarchal attitudes that seek to maintain traditional power structures and perpetuate gender-based discrimination. Feminists emphasize the importance of challenging such rhetoric and continuing to push for policies and social norms that promote gender equality and justice.

President Nayib Bukele’s Banishment of Gender Ideology

Presenter: Angelika Arutyunova

Co-Founder, CEECCNA Collaborative Fund

El Salvador president Bukele’s efforts to banish gender ideology in his country have sparked significant concern among feminists and LGBTQ+ rights advocates. They argue that Bukele’s actions not only erase the identities and experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals, but also perpetuate harmful stereotypes and discrimination. Feminists believe that gender ideology serves as a framework for understanding and addressing the complexities of gender, including issues of discrimination, violence, and social inequality.

By dismissing gender ideology, Bukele’s government risks exacerbating existing disparities and marginalizing already vulnerable communities. Feminists advocate for policies that recognize and affirm diverse gender identities and experiences, promoting inclusivity and equality for all individuals.

Collaboration between Feminists and Transsexuals

Presenter: Chivuli Ukwimi – Feminists and Transexuals Union

Deputy Director, International Trans Fund (ITF)

The discussion on collaboration between feminists and transsexuals underscored the importance of solidarity and mutual support within the broader gender justice movement. Feminists recognize the intersecting oppressions faced by transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and emphasize the need for inclusive activism that addresses the diverse needs and experiences of all gender minorities. Building alliances between feminists and transsexuals involves advocating for policies and initiatives that advance the rights and well-being of transgender individuals, including access to healthcare, legal recognition, and protection from discrimination.

Feminists aim to create spaces that are welcoming and affirming of all gender identities, fostering a sense of belonging and collective resistance against gender-based oppression.

Study on Anti-Gender Campaigns in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Senegal

Presenter: Caroline Kouassiaman 

Executive Director – Initiative Sankofa d’Afrique de l’Ouest (ISDAO)

The presenter’s study sheds light on the detrimental impact of anti-gender campaigns in West Africa, highlighting the challenges faced by gender activists in combating misinformation and promoting gender equality. Feminists view these campaigns as a deliberate attempt to undermine progress towards gender justice by spreading fear and misinformation and reinforcing traditional gender norms. They emphasize the importance of countering such narratives with evidence-based education and advocacy efforts that challenge stereotypes and promote gender equality as a fundamental human right.

Feminists work to amplify the voices of local activists and communities affected by anti-gender campaigns, supporting grassroots initiatives that empower individuals to challenge harmful ideologies and advocate for gender-inclusive policies and practices.

Role of Technology in Gender Activism

Presenter: Jac sm Kee

Co-funder and Cartographer, Numun Fund

The discussion on the role of technology highlighted both its potential as a tool for advancing gender equality and its pitfalls, including issues of harassment and the spread of misinformation. Feminists recognize the power of technology in amplifying marginalized voices, organizing grassroots movements, and raising awareness about gender-based issues. However, they also acknowledge the need to address digital harassment and online abuse, which disproportionately target women and gender minorities.

Feminists advocate for platforms and policies that promote online safety and combat cyberbullying, recognizing the interconnectedness of digital and offline forms of violence against women. They work to harness the transformative potential of technology while challenging its negative impacts on gender equality and women’s rights.

Considerations on Funding for UN Women and Advocacy Groups

Presenters: All above persons

The discussion surrounding potential cuts in funding for UN Women and related advocacy groups reflects broader shifts in philanthropic priorities and funding allocations. Feminists expressed concern about the implications of reduced funding for gender equality initiatives, particularly at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing gender disparities and heightened the need for targeted interventions. They emphasized the importance of sustained investment in organizations that work to advance gender equality, including UN Women, grassroots women’s groups, and feminist-led initiatives.

Feminists advocate for donor strategies that prioritize long-term sustainability, flexibility, and responsiveness to the evolving needs of women and gender minorities worldwide, ensuring that resources are directed towards effective, rights-based approaches to achieving gender justice.

During the two-hour event, there were no questions posed, only expressions of support for the topics under discussion and the prevailing atmosphere of anger.