"Why is there so little funding for women and girls programs?"
This is a difficult question to answer. As Mary Ellen Capek writes in the
second of a series of monographs on women's funding written in the late
1990s (see http://www.wfnet.org/pdfs/Capek_2.pdfand): "What is known about
funding for women and girls? There are no comprehensive aggregate
Despite this lack of comprehensive data, however, Capek's report finds that
there are a number of reasons why foundations and others may be reluctant
to fund women and girls programs: women and girls programs are often seen
as controversial and "out of the mainstream;" some perceive that other more
general funding programs (e.g. funding for health programs) reach women
disproportionately so there is no need for programs specifically designed
to reach women and girls; the boards of many foundations are composed
primarilyof wealthy white males who may not connect with women's issues
(especially issues affecting women from underserved populations); and
finally as one respondent to Capek's survey noted, there is the
feeling among some that "we did women in the eighties: let's move on."
At the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational
Foundation, we are often asked to explain why we restrict funding
specifically to women. Research, however, continues to demonstrate that
inequities persist in girls' and women's education--especially in math,
science, and technology fields--that justify our funding restrictions. I
would like to use my opening statement to ask list participants to identify
areas of funding that you would like to see foundations and other funders
(corporations, goverment bodies, etc.) support. Are there new types of
funding we should be offering? Currently, what areas of support for women
and girls are seriously underfunded? What types of new or on-going
projects should funders support? How might various funders work
together to better support programs for women and girls?
To help put this in context, I should tell you a litte bit more about our
funding. The AAUW Educational Foundation focuses primarily on the issues
of education and equity for women and girls. We award fellowships and
grants to women graduate scholars extending the boundaries of academic
research; to public school teachers encouraging girls' interest and
achievement in math, science, and technology; and to community activists
helping to advance education and equity for women and girls. To learn
more about our funding, visit: http://www.aauw.org/3000/fdnfelgra.html.
To read an article about our funding for K-12 teachers, see the latest
issue of ENC Focus
I look forward to hearing more about what you have to say, and to
learning from the other participants in this week's conversation.
Thank you, EDEQUITY, for convening this important conversation!
Senior Program Officer, K-12 and Community Programs
AAUW Educational Foundation
1111 Sixteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
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