9 December 2019

Gender Equality Network launches report on mainstreaming gender equality in philanthropic organisations

At a meeting held in Brussels from 20-21 November, the EFC Gender Equality Network launched an initial analysis of the internal gender mainstreaming experiences and approaches of six of its members: C&A Foundation, Fondation CHANEL, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, King Baudouin Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Wellcome Trust. The report, entitled “EFC Gender Equality Network: Initial Gender Mainstreaming Assessment”, is the first in a new series called “Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Learning Journeys”.

The members of the EFC Gender Equality Network, funders who are committed to advancing gender equality through their philanthropic programmes, see these Learning Journeys as an exploratory process in which they can experiment with and revise various tools, practices and structures as they learn from these experiences.

The new report outlines motivations for starting this process, specific target areas for change, how this work is being coordinated internally, what resources have been deployed, and what challenges have been encountered. The analysis includes a list of recommendations for organisations considering or undergoing this process. One striking commonality in the initial assessment was that all funders involved found that while gender was a starting point for their Learning Journey, it helped unlock other intersecting issues of power and privilege. These organisations have acknowledged the importance of addressing other forms of power imbalances and inequalities down the road, and they have broadened the scope of their attention and have begun to focus on diversity and inclusion.

The meeting in Brussels also included a workshop on gender mainstreaming that focused on how gender issues are related to other forms of discrimination, and what philanthropic organisations need to be aware of as change agents themselves when it comes to their own biases.

Previously the network had looked at how to apply a gender lens externally in philanthropic work. In 2015, the Gender Equality Network produced a publication titled “Grantmaking with a Gender Lens: Five Practice / Case Studies”. With Learning Journeys, the network is filling out the picture of gender equality by seeing how it is applied internally. Funders believe that mainstreaming gender both externally and internally makes them better grantmakers and helps them achieve greater impact.

Download the report