How can we make more of a difference for women in the UK?6 March 2015
Yesterday we wrote about our funding of gender over the past three years. Today, on the first day of the Southbank Centre's Women of the World festival, which we have supported, we're asking if you can help us do more to improve the quality of life for women and girls in the UK.
We are a responsive funder and believe that the voluntary sector has the ideas and ability to create change for the better. In our social change funding we back work that contributes to a just and inclusive society at every level (individual, community and system). Our funding also aims to protect and promote the rights of those who suffer the effects of systemic, cultural and institutional injustice.
Back in November 2013 we held an inspiring roundtable meeting with organisations from the women’s sector which continues to shape our thoughts and internal conversations. Four areas emerged for us to think about, which we wanted to share more widely. If you are working on any of the issues below, or think this describes how you are trying to work, and are in need of funding, you can make a first stage application to us here.
The usual caveat applies – we receive many more (10 times as many) applications than we are able to fund, but we are always open to hearing new ideas. Also, if your work doesn’t match any of the points below but does fit with our broader social change funding priorities we’d still welcome an application.
Up-skilling the women’s sector
We see how much impact grassroots campaigners, experts and influencers can have, but are only able to fund organisations, rather than individuals directly. If organisations have plans to increase individual and collective campaigners’ impact by skills-sharing, capacity building, or collaboration, we would be interested to hear them - the more imaginative the better. Examples might be: workshop based development, supported placements, incubation or coaching/mentoring, with the possibility of bringing people together and growing support networks.
Creating momentum / movement building among young people
Lots of great work by women’s organisations is targeted at building knowledge and resilience in young women and we will continue to support that work. However, we also want to fund work which enables young men to reflect on the messages they receive and the attitudes they hold, and work which challenges the large majority of young people who believe equality has been achieved and that these issues aren’t relevant to them. This might mean supporting organisations outside the women’s sector who reach large numbers of young people or approach gender equality from less obvious angles.
Our experience, confirmed at the roundtable, is that women from BME communities may suffer multiple layers of discrimination and we should try to fund work which tackles the root causes of these problems.
Our successful FGM programme has revealed the benefits of tackling one issue at multiple levels and engaging numerous stakeholders. We would be open to embarking on another significant initiative, preferably in collaboration with other funders, and welcome suggestions of issues or approaches which could catalyse significant change on a broad level. We would not expect to see a very developed proposal, but an outline would be helpful, ideally one that has been supported by other strategic women’s organisations in the sector.