Women Help Promote a Just Global Economy

In light of this week's historic APEC Women and the Economy Summit, Anasuya Sengupta, Global Fund Regional Director for Asia and Oceania, challenges women leaders in attendance to be a more critical force in shaping a different economic strategy for the region. In her opinion piece, published in San Francisco Chronicle’s Open Forum, Sengupta argues that if women were more involved in legislation and policy around farming, community and environmental stewardship might be prioritized over simple profit. Read more »


Elaine Martyn named VP of Development for Global Fund for Women

Elaine Martyn

Elaine Martyn’s position as Vice President of Development represents the intersection of her personal and professional passions: a commitment to women’s empowerment through high-level, dynamic fundraising. Ms. Martyn has lead efforts to build the philanthropic community in the UK, US and Asia. Her career has centered on the advancement of human rights through medical education, social justice, diversity policy, and advocacy using fundraising and political action. Elaine brings her experiences at Refugees International, King’s College London, the British Medical Association, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School to the Global Fund for Women to work with philanthropists who are committed to growing our impact.  

Prior to joining Global Fund, she lead the development team at Refugees International in Washington DC. From 2005-2008, she influenced the strategic vision behind King’s College London’s capital campaign, personally raising over $40 million towards medical research and healthcare projects in the UK, Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka and the U.S. She served as Head of Research Grants and Trusts at the British Medical Association and managed the work of a 20-member Board of Medical Education, crafting policy on patient rights and medical education. Ms. Martyn worked on marketing, communications, and donor stewardship initiatives at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the National Writing Project, and the International Institute. She has published on equal opportunities, mentorship, and management. 


Ms. Martyn double majored in Medical Studies and English Literature and Communications at Gannon University, and has a Master’s degree in Victorian Literature from the University of Leeds.  She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Women’s Foreign Policy Group and Women in Development, and an active supporter of Planned Parenthood. Her lifelong support of women’s rights, immigrant communities, and fundraising the developing world stems from her upbringing as a Sri-Lankan American and was inspired by her grandmothers who were passionate about philanthropy and education. When she’s not putting the fun in fundraising, Elaine enjoys reading 19th century novels and cheering for the New England Patriots.


Q & A with Abigail Disney: Listening to Women About War

When asked if Abigail Disney remembers the first time she picked up a camera, the Global Fund for Women board member laughs and says, “Of course I do, because I was 47-years-old.”


Even though Abigail grew up in a famous family, with a globally recognized last name, she decided to become a filmmaker after unearthing a story about Leymah Gbowee, a Global Fund grantee in Liberia who founded Women Peace and Security Network Africa. Abigail came back from Liberia angry that she had never heard Gbowee’s story before, so she connected with a team of filmmakers to produce her first documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

Now, Abigail is hooked. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t stop storytelling. She is co-creator of Women, War & Peace, a new PBS five-part documentary series that uncovers the powerful role of women building peace during war and conflict.

Global Fund: As a board member and long-time supporter of the Global Fund for Women, how did that relationship influence your decision to produce Women, War & Peace?

Abigail: Global Fund was central to my values around making these films because it’s the Global Fund and other women’s funds that I’ve worked with that have shown me the light in terms of the real meaning behind the word “grassroots.”

The word gets thrown around and beaten up, and you lose sense of how important it is to talk to women at the grassroots level. We need to hear directly from women who are affected by conflict, because they are not passively lying on the side of the road waiting for someone to save them. They are smart, fierce, creative and amazing people who have a lot to say.

Global Fund: How did you decide to feature Global Fund grantee partner, Afghan Institute of Learning in the third part of the series, Peace Unveiled?

Abigail: When you go to a country that has been in war for a long time, or any place where there’s great poverty, it’s very difficult to find the legitimate voices.

Global Fund board member [and founder of Afghan Institute of Learning], Sakena Yacoobi, was one of the first people I spoke to when we started talking about filming in Afghanistan. I ran everything through a sort of Sakena filter because she has such a powerful eye; her moral center is so balanced.

Global Fund: How do you hope to eliminate what you call the “media’s blind spot” in reporting on women’s roles during conflict?


Watch Women, War & Peace

The series will premiere on PBS Tuesday nights from Oct. 11 to Nov. 8, 2011. Check your local listings for air times.

Abigail: The media yawns and their eyes glaze over when you talk about women. If we can show them just how riveting these stories can be, we can really make a difference.

But, we’ve all grown up with war narratives, like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. The central defining eye is seen through a man’s. We never really think to consider that every image has been set designed and color corrected. We need to stop and remember that’s not reality.

Global Fund: Why should men care about this series?

Abigail: Men lose so much in the current way we are going about our business. It’s not just women who aren’t in rooms [during peace talks], but all types of men aren’t there either. Men I know and love aren’t in those peace talks.

If women can be brought to center of those rooms in the kinds of numbers where they don’t have to be ashamed to act like women, it loosens up the space so it’s not just one type of man dividing up money and political power. Rather, all kinds of men and women, side-by-side, bringing their different narratives to build a sustainable peace.

Global Fund: What can our network do to act in solidarity with women living in conflict zones?

Abigail: Of all the things we’ve exported as a country, we’ve exported the mythology of war better and more thoroughly than every other place. One of the things I see when I go to other countries is Mickey Mouse. I feel proud because he’s loved and admired universally in places where people don’t even have TV sets. But, the other character I see in every other country is Rambo… And what he means is, the most beautiful way to make meaning as a man, is to kill. We are responsible for that narrative, and we need to push back on the people who weave the narratives and ask for better.

You are invited to a public screening of Peace Unveiled before it airs on PBS.
Learn more »

The Gift of Sisterhood on 9/11

by Caitlin Stanton, Senior Program Officer, Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation

On October 23, 2001, a small, battered, plain white envelope arrived at our offices in San Francisco. It was from the women of the Association pour la Défense des Droits de la Femme en Guinée (ADDEF), a grassroots women's group and Global Fund grantee in Conakry, Guinea on the western coast of Africa.

girl with give peace a chance sign

The postmark showed the envelope had been in transit for over a month. Inside, was a fifty-dollar bill and a letter conveying a statement of condolences for those affected by the events of September 11th.

Read more »

Changing Spaces: Civic Leadership

Grantee partners in Fiji encourage the involvement of young women activists at policy-making forums.

San Francisco, CA — During a time of revolutionary civic transformations, Global Fund for Women grantees are engaging in public spheres once dominated by men, and challenging discriminatory laws and unjust cultural practices that keep women oppressed.

The Global Fund for Women recently provided $2.57 million in grants to 162 women-led organizations in 68 countries. One in three grants supported women’s groups working to build an active citizenry that includes women’s full political and civic participation.

In a pastoral community in rural Uganda, where animals rank higher than women, one grantee challenges the status quo. The Pastoral Women Alliance to Break Cultural Chains is working to reform discriminatory cultural practices, such as wife inheritance and polygamy. With support from the Global Fund, the Pastoral Women Alliance is educating police, church leaders, and youth on constitutional laws around women’s rights. Grant in this docket: $15,000

“Long gone are the days when women’s work was confined to the walls of her home. Women are now key decision-makers whose active civic participation is vital to transforming their societies. This is the work of realizing their rights, which upholds the rights of all.”  - Violeta Krasnic, Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zene to Mogu uses Global Fund support to provide reliable information about the 2003 Law on Gender Equality by organizing workshops on how women can promote adherence to the law in rural areas. At these workshops, women and civil society officials learn how to monitor and implement the gender equality law, which prohibits discrimination, gender-based violence and sexual harassment. Grant in this docket: $8,000

In Israel, the Working Group for Equality in Personal Status is making steps to ensure that Palestinian women have equal access to civil laws, and challenging practices that harm women, such as early marriage. With support from Global Fund, the Palestinian-women led initiative works to make the Israeli justice system more equitable by advocating for the nomination of women judges to civil Family Courts and religious Shari’a courts. Grant in this docket: $48,000 over two years

In the Pacific Islands, the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement trains young Pacific women to participate in policy-making forums, a critical step to strengthening women’s participation in Fiji’s transitional justice process post-coup. Their Young Women in Leadership program builds the self-esteem of the next generation of leaders through self-defense and assertiveness training. Grant in this docket: $30,000

In Ecuador, the Coordinadora Juvenil por la Equidad de Género campaigns for the inclusion of a feminist youth perspective in national and international policy. This network of young feminists between the ages of 15 and 29 uses Global Fund support to advocate on their own behalf for adolescent sexual and reproductive rights. Grant in this docket: $20,000

Whether advocating for progressive laws, or raising civic awareness through education, Global Fund for Women grantees are empowering women to become informed and engaged citizens.

Learn more about other groups we support!

Read grantees' success stories.

Search our grantmaking history

For more information about our work, or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Deborah Holmes, Vice President of Communications
Ph: 415-248-4800

About the Global Fund for Women

The Global Fund for Women is the largest publicly supported grantmaking foundation that advances human rights by investing in women-led organizations worldwide. Our international network of supporters mobilizes financial resources to strengthen women’s contributions to social justice, equality and peace.

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