It is a privilege to write to you as Global Fund for Women’s new President and CEO. I stand on the shoulders of our previous phenomenal leaders—Anne Firth Murray, Kavita Ramdas, and Musimbi Kanyoro—and I don’t take that lightly. I am humbled to follow in their footsteps and I am committed to making them proud.
I came to Global Fund for Women because of what my grandmothers taught me—you have to love hard and fight hard. For the last 30 years, Global Fund for Women has loved and fought for women around the world. We’ve seeded and supported more than 5,000 women’s organizations in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and Europe and Central Asia that have won rights for millions of women and girls, and influenced progressive laws, policies, and culture around economic justice, climate justice, reproductive justice, freedom from violence, and women’s leadership. Our goal was to put resources directly in the hands of courageous feminists who are building social movements and challenging rising conservatism, authoritarianism, and regressive governments. We succeeded. And we need to do more.
One of the organizations we are supporting this year is SOS Corpo, defending human rights and democracy in Brazil. With the rise of hostile conservatism, they have shifted in their push for advances in reproductive and sexual rights to mass mobilization to prevent a rollback of women’s rights. Global Fund for Women’s long-term, no-strings-attached funding helped SOS Corpo be flexible. They developed new practices and strategies moving the battlefield from the halls of power, where women are increasingly barred, to the streets with a focus on political education and organizing indigenous and black women, youth, lesbians, and low-income rural and urban communities.
The current backlash against women’s rights—and human rights—goes far beyond Brazil. It’s global, from the US to Europe to Asia. Incredible opposition demands exceptional action.
In my first 30 days as the CEO of Global Fund for Women, I’ve met with movement leaders, activists, politicians, and donors. I’ve learned that in order to change the game for women and girls in this oppositional environment, we must turn to gender justice and build movements that are interconnected, intergenerational, and intersectional. To do this, we must think radically and equitably about the distribution of power and resources. Therefore, in my first year as CEO of Global Fund for Women, I, along with our staff and board, will reflect on our past and think critically about our grantee partners and their needs for the future. Our goal is to find ways to become even bolder, more collaborative, more curious, and more authentic.
I invite you to join us in this conversation by following Global Fund for Women on social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Please share with us! We want to know your thoughts on what it takes to build interconnected, intergenerational, and intersectional movements. Who are you building with? What are you reading? How are you being bold and authentic? What do you think it will take to shift power and resources?
I commit to giving you updates on our reflections throughout the coming year and I look forward to hearing about and reading yours.
Latanya Mapp Frett