Over the course of 30+ years, Global Fund for Women has supported the fight for gender justice around the globe. We began our work providing critical funding to grassroots women-led organizations, over time developing a thematic approach focused on groups whose issue areas aligned with our organizational priorities. Today, building on historic wins and the latest research, we are shifting to an approach that supports gender justice movements to allocate funding based on their own needs.
Research shows that broad-based social movements are one of the most effective mechanisms to create and sustain long-term social transformation. Over the past 50 years, women’s movements have led to more egalitarian workplace regulations, more equitable land rights, better access to financial institutions, expanded legal protections for domestic workers, and protection from sexual harassment. Yet movements are consistently under-resourced, and funders have struggled to effectively meet their needs.
By shifting towards a movement-led approach, Global Fund for Women will fuel rising people power globally to increase their impact and accelerate change. Learn more about our strategic plan to support gender justice movements here.
This shift is significant and cannot happen overnight. As we move towards a movement-led approach, we will undergo a period of transition where we embrace a learning mindset and remain open to feedback and information to help strengthen our strategies. We will also continue to support various models of collective activism during this transition period. These could include but are not limited to regional networks, organizations, and other groups working on shared issues.
Global Fund for Women’s movement-led approach allows for movements to determine their own needs and allocate funding accordingly through Movement Committees, a type of participatory grantmaking. This model allows Global Fund for Women to respond to the most urgent needs in the fight for gender justice flexibly and adaptively, as we have learned to do over the course of our 30+ year history.
Our movement-led approach also calls for a shift in how we define success. Historically, funders in the Global North have focused on legal wins and policy change over other kinds of collective action wins, including shifts in the economic realities of communities or powerful mass demonstrations of public sentiment. We will support movements to emphasize what success looks like on their own terms and what’s meaningful to measure in their specific contexts.
By providing more money, resources, and decision-making power to movements, we are shifting power towards women, girls, and all marginalized people worldwide.