Top 5 "Say WHAT?" Moments

We’re well into the 21st century and homosexuality is a punishable crime in multiple countries, and survivors of rape and members of the media who report sexual violence face ridiculous fines and even jail time. These outrageous setbacks for human rights worldwide have us scratching our heads and shouting, “say what?!?”

1. Being gay could land you in the slammer

A gay rights activist (L) fights for her rainbow flag against an anti-gay protester during a gay pride event in Saint Petersburg

Getty Images

On February 24th, Uganda’s President signed into law a bill that punishes gay people with 14 years in jail, and life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality.” Adding insult to injury, the law makes it a crime not to report gay people. Uganda is the latest country to pass laws criminalizing homosexuality, which is similar to one passed in Nigeria in January; in June 2013, Russia passed its controversial anti-propaganda law; and who could forget when India reinstated its 1861 law banning gay sex last December.

2. Syrian women and children face rage instead of refuge

A Syrian-Kurdish refugee woman sits at the Quru Gusik (Kawergosk) refugee camp, 20 kilometers east of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq

Getty Images

The Syrian crisis has been marked by systematic, brutal violence against women and girls, including rape as a weapon of war. Equally horrific: reports of violence from overflowing refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and beyond. In the largest camp for Syrian refugees, Zaatari, on the Jordanian border, a bridal boutique that has sprung up in a small tent – where the average age of girls wearing a bridal gown is 15 – has become a disturbing symbol of rampant child marriage, trafficking, and other forms of sexual violence.

3. Somalia: Report a rape, go to jail

a Somali woman, who was sentenced to a year in jail after she told a reporter she was raped by security forces, holds her baby at the court house in Mogadishu on March 3, 2013.

Getty Images

In December, a 19-year-old Somali woman was sentenced to six months in jail for reporting her rape – the second time in 2013 that a woman in Somalia faced jail time for reporting sexual violence. The Somali court also sentenced two male journalists who interviewed the survivor and reported on her experience for defamation and “offending state institutions.” Oh, the irony.

4. 24 million child brides = 24 million reasons to act

a newly married child bride, left, stands at a temple in Rajgarh, about 155 kilometers from Bhopal, India.

AP Photo

India has 24 million child brides, the highest number in the world, despite the fact that the legal marriage age is 18. In September, India refused to join 107 other countries in co-sponsoring the first-ever U.N. resolution calling for the end of child marriage to be included in the post 2015 global development agenda.

5. Think you have control over your body? Think again.

Two US women hold pro-choice signs saying STOP THE WAR ON WOMEN and KEEP ABORTION LEGAL

Getty images

Many countries – including the United States – restricted access to safe, legal reproductive and sexual healthcare in recent months, even in the case of sexual violence and rape. 2013 saw the largest wave of legislation aimed at restricting access to abortion in the U.S. in the decades since Roe v. Wade, with North Dakota, Kansas, Virginia, Arkansas, and Alabama enacting strict laws to restrict access to abortions. One of the most horrific being Michigan's "rape insurance" law. In El Salvador, where there is a complete ban on abortions, the heartbreaking case of Beatriz was a harsh reminder that the global fight for reproductive rights is far from over.

 

Global Fund for Women and International Museum of Women Merge

A bold new force for change: announcing the merger of Global Fund for Women & International Museum of Women

In a bold move to increase awareness and action on vital global issues for women, Global Fund for Women and the International Museum of Women (IMOW) today announced they have merged. The merger brings together Global Fund’s expertise on issues, grantmaking and fundraising with IMOW’s skills in awareness raising, online advocacy and digital story-telling. Read the press release »

Both organizations are united by their vision of an equitable and sustainable world in which women and girls have resources, voice, choice and opportunities to realize their human rights.

“I am thrilled by the exponential potential that this merger will create,” said Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO of Global Fund for Women. “By combining our on-the-ground expertise and networks with IMOW’s creativity and digital advocacy we see a unique opportunity to engage and mobilize the next-generation and to make a deeper impact than ever before.”

IMOW’s fusion of culture, media and online advocacy programming complements Global Fund’s on-the-ground relationships and grant-making activities with grantees and human rights organizations around the world.

“We see this as an unprecedented opportunity.” said Clare Winterton, Executive Director of the International Museum of Women, now VP of Advocacy and Innovation at the Global Fund for Women. “Together, we’ll have far greater ability to illuminate critical issues, tell important stories, reach new audiences and spur wider action for gender equality.”

IMOW engages over 700,000 annual visitors, including visitors to global events and exhibits. In the past three years IMOW has held physical events and installations in 14 countries on five continents. Global Fund’s international network includes 20,000+ donors, a global online community of more than 650,000, and more than 2,000 volunteers and 4,700 grantees on the ground in 175 countries. Together, the two organizations will engage more than one million visitors per year through social media, email and Web, in effect doubling their impact as separate entities.

Stay tuned for more announcements and changes in the coming months as we launch new creative projects together and begin to unite our websites and brands. We also hope you will share the excitement about changes and join our expanded, shared agenda for women’s rights!

For more information, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Have questions? Visit our FAQ page »

Share your message of congratulations below!

 

News Release: Global Fund for Women and International Museum of Women Merge

A bold new force for change: announcing the merger of Global Fund for Women & International Museum of Women

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Mar. 5, 2014 — In a bold move to increase awareness and action on vital global issues for women, Global Fund for Women and the International Museum of Women (IMOW) today announced they have merged. The merger brings together Global Fund’s expertise on issues, grantmaking and fundraising with IMOW’s skills in awareness raising, online advocacy and digital story-telling. Under the terms of the merger, IMOW becomes a part of Global Fund for Women; Global Fund headquarters will remain in San Francisco, CA. with an office in New York City.

“I am thrilled by the exponential potential that this merger will create,” said Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO of Global Fund for Women. “By combining our on-the-ground expertise and networks with IMOW’s creativity and digital advocacy we see a unique opportunity to engage and mobilize the next-generation and to make a deeper impact than ever before.”

“We see this as an unprecedented opportunity.” said Clare Winterton, Executive Director of the International Museum of Women, now VP of Advocacy and Innovation at the Global Fund for Women. “Combining IMOW’s unique skills and content with the Global Fund’s deep expertise and reach will bring together resources and advocacy for the world’s women. Together, we’ll have far greater ability to illuminate critical issues, tell important stories, reach new audiences and spur wider action for gender equality.”

Both organizations are united by their vision of an equitable and sustainable world in which women and girls have resources, voice, choice and opportunities to realize their human rights. IMOW’s fusion of culture, media and online advocacy programming complements Global Fund’s on-the-ground relationships and grant-making activities with grantees and human rights organizations around the world. IMOW engages over 700,000 annual visitors, including visitors to global events and exhibits. In the past three years IMOW has held physical events and installations in 14 countries on five continents.

Global Fund’s international network includes 20,000+ donors, a global online community of more than 650,000, and more than 2,000 volunteers and 4,700 grantees on the ground in 175 countries. Together, the two organizations will engage more than one million visitors per year through social media, email and Web, in effect doubling their impact as separate entities.

About Global Fund for Women

Global Fund for Women defends and expands hard won gains in women's rights by focusing on three critical areas: zero violence; economic and political empowerment; and sexual and reproductive health and rights. In addition to grantmaking, Global Fund uses its influence, multimedia expertise and networks to advocate for issues and connect women to funding, influencers and partners. Global Fund was established in 1987, by Founding President Anne Firth Murray, Frances Kissling and Laura Lederer. Since then it has invested more than $110 million in supporting women’s groups across 175 countries and is one of the most consistent funders investing exclusively in the rights of women and girls.

About International Museum of Women

Founded in San Francisco in 1997, the International Museum of Women (IMOW) is an innovative online museum with a mission is to inspire creativity, awareness and action on vital global issues for women. The museum’s recent online multi-media projects have included Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices, which counters stereotypes of Muslim Women, and MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe, which raised awareness of global maternal health. Each project includes online activism. IMOW’s Founding President Elizabeth Colton remains a leading supporter of the organization and of the merger with Global Fund for Women.

Media Contact: Deborah Holmes, Vice President of Communications, 415-248-4849, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Merger FAQ

A bold new force for change: announcing the merger of Global Fund for Women & International Museum of Women

Q. Why Merge?

A.Global Fund for Women and International Museum of Women (IMOW) share a vision– a just, equitable and sustainable world in which women and girls have resources, voice, choice and opportunities to realize their human rights. Global Fund’s strengths are its networks, impact grantmaking and grounding in women’s human rights. IMOW’s strengths are “changing hearts and minds” through inspiring online content, high quality exhibitions, digital story-telling and the arts. We’ve come to realize that we can pursue our shared vision more strongly together – and that the return for the world’s women will be greater.

Q. Will merging take money away from grantmaking?

A.No, we will continue to be a leading funder of women’s human rights. We believe it will help us generate even more resources for women-led organizations and the movement. Human rights work hinges on educating people in ways that change their way of thinking about and compel them to act upon challenges facing women and girls. Together, we can develop a unique and strong media and advocacy platform and competence that can change minds and open check books.

Q. How does merging make Global Fund unique, what will actually be different?

A.We’ll have an integrated approach to women’s human rights. Many not-for-profits operate in silos i.e. campaigns, policy, or philanthropy. Together we’ve recognized that you need to integrate all three, all the time, in order to propel the kind of deep seeded change we seek. Merging allows us to do that; to play in multiple spaces and power transformative change at every level. IMOW’s skills in digital story-telling around major issues for women will catalyze and accelerate Global Fund’s communications efforts. Global Fund can connect IMOW’s awareness and story-telling effort with focused activism and fundraising opportunities to propel women’s rights.

Q. Is there a danger that IMOW becomes just “PR” for Global Fund for Women?

A.No. The merger creates a global voice for unheard women and women’s issues all over the world – especially aligned with Global Fund impact areas of Zero Violence, Political and Economic Empowerment and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. This work will be a major pillar of the organization’s work and theory of change. And it will draw both from and beyond existing Global Fund grantees and networks.

Q. What happens to Global Fund and IMOW websites?

A.In the short term, before the two websites are merged, the IMOW website will continue with links to the Global Fund website. Since Global Fund and IMOW websites have highly specialized functions, merging the two will take time. Ultimately we envision becoming online global hub for expertise, multi-media and philanthropy on women’s human rights.

Q. Are Global Fund and IMOW boards merging?

A.No, as part of the merger agreement, two members of the IMOW board will join Global Fund board of directors. They are IMOW board chair Roxane Divol and IMOW Board Secretary Chandra Alexandre.

Q. Who will lead Global Fund for Women?

A.Musimbi Kanyoro is President and CEO. IMOW’s Executive Director, Clare Winterton becomes VP of Advocacy and Innovation with Global Fund.

Q. Will the offices move? Will the name change?

A.Under the terms of the merger, IMOW becomes a part of Global Fund for Women; Global Fund headquarters will remain in San Francisco, CA. with an office in New York City. In the longer term we aim to create a single website and brand for the merged organization and the IMOW name will discontinue. You will see a number of changes in the months and year ahead as the results of the merger unfold.

Q. What does Global Fund Founding President Anne Firth Murray think of the merger?

A. Anne is very supportive. When she, Frances Kissling and Laura Lederer founded Global Fund for Women in 1987, its three “areas of concern as they relate to women” were Human Rights, Media and Communications Technology, and Economic Autonomy. So in many ways merging with IMOW puts that commitment front and center once more.

 

The Untold Story of the Ukrainian Revolution

ukrainian woman smiling

February 27, 2014: News from Ukraine is moving so fast that if you don’t look closely, you’ll miss the untold story: a revolution for and by Ukrainian women.

In a week, more than 80 people were killed and some 500 injured when the government of President Viktor Yanukovych – who is now being sought on charges of mass murder – tried to crush our protests with violence. The opposition movement that toppled his corrupt regime came together for a common goal, but was by no stretch of the imagination homogenous.

People referred to Maidan as a force of “male heroes” while delegating women to cook, clean, and provide moral support. Men donned signs reading, "Women, if you see garbage clean it up. Revolutionaries will be pleased.” Social media was buzzing with requests for “more women in the kitchen.” Some women followed suit with a “hug initiative” to show solidarity by hugging their male heroes.

Protestors organized themselves in “Hundreds” – self-defense groups of roughly 100 people, aligned with their region or cause. Organizing in groups of 100 is an old tradition, from the 16th century Cossack war of independence. Protestors with cars united in the “AutoMaidan” movement, calling on those with vehicles to block streets and drive alongside people as they marched to the homes of oligarchs. When Natalia Karbowska, Global Fund for Women advisor and board chair of the Ukrainian Women's Fund, called the AutoMaidan hotline to offer her vehicle, she got “you should go to the kitchen; we need help there.”

The kitchen was not an option for women like Karbowska, who, in collaboration with others, organized the “women’s hundred.” Women taught self-defense classes to female protesters. At Maidan University, an informal education center in the square, the women’s hundred invited lecturers to speak about feminist theory.

As snipers opened fire on civilians and more and more people were injured at the hands of police, it was dangerous for them to go to the hospital. Instead of getting medical treatment, they would simply disappear. The women’s hundred helped organize shifts at the hospital, documenting the names and telephone numbers of the injured protestors in case they went missing. Women lawyers offered legal aid to patients and finally, women drivers used their skills in AutoMaidan.

Others like Olena Shevchenko, feminist activist and executive director of Insight Ukraine, refused to fall in line. She started what became known as the “women squadron”, teaching self-defense classes to female protesters.

“Women stopped being passive followers and were outraged by this sexism and invisibility,” said Shevchenko. “For the majority of them, feminism is still a bad word, but they feel that they can no longer live in such an unfair situation.”

The revolution owes a lot to the women’s movement. In the early months, Ukrainians outside Kiev thought the resistance was confined to the capital city. It was women’s rights organizations in western and southern regions of Ukraine that helped export the revolution from Kiev to the regions. Women leaders with years of experience working in the region were trusted so it made it easier for them to mobilize their communities. “When the regions stood up, it was a breakthrough,” said Karbowska.

Their next step? Putting more women in decision-making roles. "One of the reasons for such incredible corruption was that there were no women in power. What is needed in Ukraine is the opinion of women, the other 54 percent of the country," says Karbowska.

According to Karbowska, many Ukraians realize they need a new generation of politicians.

“We need those for whom power is not about money, money and more money; those who can easily enter the power structures and easily leave them,” said Karbowska.

While many are looking to Yulia Tymoshenko to fill that role, Karbowska is not convinced.

“Tymoshenko is a powerful leader. She as a great revolutionary, she can motivate people at barricades and they will follow her. But Ukraine has very difficult times ahead – the country is almost bankrupt. We need to make unpopular reforms, we need to build trust in politics and with politicians, and we need to build understanding between east and west Ukraine. We basically need to turn the page and rebuild the country. And for this, we need new types of managers. I do respect Tymoshenko and her role in Ukraine and I think there will definitely be a place for her, but not as a top manager of the country.”

Just because the opposition ousted the president, does not mean the work is over. Rather, it has just begun, which is why the communities within Maidan plan on keeping the space alive.

“Maidan is staying because it’s not about changing one face to another, one leader to another. It’s about the change of systems and the fight against terrible corruption. We don’t want our new leaders to lead like him [Yanukovych]. We want the rule of law and democracy.”

 
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