Today is International Women’s Day! The theme is #beboldforchange. We will add posts to this page throughout the day that share recent changes that have occurred for women and girls and the necessary changes that still have to come. We will highlight how JWFNY and our partners are part of the strong movement for gender equity.
A World Free from Violence
One in three women throughout the world will experience physical and/or sexual violence. This statistic is as astounding as it is unacceptable. According to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO), the greatest prevalence of violence against women is in the South-East Asia region at 37.7%, and the least is experienced in the Western Pacific Region at 24.6%. The entire world has ways to go in order to be a safe place for women and girls.
This past December, we held an event Shifting the Paradigm from Rape Culture to Consent Culture, where we learned about state policies and advocacy, campus efforts, and national media initiatives working to combat violence against women. Click here to watch the event.
One of the campus efforts that is seeing very positive results is run by our grantee partner JWI, which was just awarded a second grant for their Change the Culture program, educating college students and faculty about the realities of sexual assault and dating abuse and empowering them to step in and support survivors.
We learn from the U.S. Department of Labor that almost 47 percent of U.S. workers are women. The range of occupations women workers hold has expanded, with women making notable gains in professional and managerial occupations. In 2016, more than one in three lawyers was a woman compared to fewer than 1 in 10 in 1974.
One way we are supporting women in their careers is through our support of Avodah, which strengthens the Jewish community’s fight against poverty in the U.S. by engaging participants in service and community building that inspires them to become lifelong leaders for social change, whose work is rooted in and nourished by Jewish values.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Despite making up nearly half of the labor force, women are underrepresented in top leadership. Only 14.6% of executive officers are women (only 4.6% of Fortune 500 companies), which translates to 8.1% of top earners. In order to break the glass ceiling, we must reframe the way we teach gender and power. JWFNY grantee, Shalom Hartman Institute of North America (SHINA) is doing just that. SHINA’s new curriculum, Created Equal: Men, Women and the Ethics of Shared Leadership, will engage rabbis, lay leaders, scholars, educators and professionals in new ways of thinking about power and authority in Jewish life, situating the question of gender equity as an underlying concern.
Determinants of Success
Global Citizen shows three major determinants of success for women and girls: water and sanitation, education, and economic empowerment. We place importance on funding within each of these areas, especially through our Isha Koach giving circle, which works to advance the efforts and profiles of Jewish women social entrepreneurs who lead organizations that improve the quality of life of the world’s most vulnerable women and children. Our most recent grant was to Innovation: Africa, funded by Sivan Borowich – Yaari, which brings Israeli technologies to rural African villages in order to improve quality of life and promote sustainable development, support Israeli innovation and foster a positive image of Israel abroad.
Women in Politics
Politics remains one sector in which women are severely underrepresented is in politics. A 2015 Pew Research Center study found that about one in 10 world leaders are women. Not only are women not in top positions in their national government, women hold fewer seats than men in national parliaments. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union the United States ranks 104th in terms of women’s representation, with 19% of Congressional seats held by women. Israel sits higher at 56th, with women making up 27.5% of Knesset.
Women bring unique perspectives to challenges and there is more work to be done to amplify women’s voices in national decision-making. JWFNY grantee Itach-Maaki is encouraging the Israeli government to include women and gender perspectives in the prevention and resolution of armed conflicts as per United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
Women still earn less money than men in most developed countries around the world. The gender pay gap is measured as the difference between male and female earnings as a percentage of male earnings. The gender pay gap is hurts women, their families, and the whole economy. That is why JWFNY awarded a grant to Israel Women’s Network to promote policy change, work with employers to increase transparency, and raise public awareness in an effort to reduce the gender pay gap in Israel. In New York, JWFNY is a part of the Equal Pay Coalition NYC which has joined with Powher NY, a network of organizations and individuals that come together to accelerate economic fairness for New York women. Through this coalition, JWFNY participates in Equal Pay Day NYC, advocates for paid family leave in New York and supports legislation on equal pay and fair workplace policies that promote work/life balance.
When we look at mental health through a gender lens, we see that gender is a critical determinant of mental health. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with various mental health issues. Studies are not able to pinpoint exactly why this is, and it looks like a number of factors interact in complex ways to make women more vulnerable.
There has been a particular increase in mental health disorders and suicide rates among adolescent girls. To combat this alarming trend, this past fall we held an event Spotlight on Adolescent Girls Mental Health, where we learned about timely research, public education initiatives, and pre and postvention strategies that are improving the mental health of adolescent girls. Click here to watch the event.
We are also proud supporters of Sanctuary for Families, which offers extensive clinical services to their survivors of gender-based violence.
Invest in Us
Investing in women and girls brings about social change. It benefits families, communities, and nations. Supporting women and girls reduces poverty, improves economies, and increases the sustainability of companies and nations. Achieving gender equity will benefit us all.
At JWFNY, our education, advocacy, and grantmaking don’t just focus on women and girls, but in creating systemic change for women and girls in New York, Israel, and worldwide. Our grantmaking concentrates on programs that are creating social change in the areas of women and girls’ economic security, leadership advancement, health and well-being, and social entrepreneurship.
On this International Women’s Day, help us continue to prioritize the needs of women and girls every day. Click here to donate now.