7 impactful projects you can get involved in to support women and girls

by Women’s Agenda
Thursday 23 February 2023

Just 12 per cent of philanthropic funding targets issues relating to women and girls.

It’s a significant gender gap that sees women and girls missing out on the benefits that come with impact investing and social change, not just here in Australia, but around the globe. 

While we are seeing some shifts in the way the philanthropy sector supports organisations focused on women and girls, there is still a significant “boy’s club” mentality that needs to be broken down.

At Australians Investing in Women (AIIW), the goal is to support individuals and organisations to invest in philanthropic initiatives that benefit women and girls, to help shift the dial on gender equity.

AIIW’s Online Project Showcase is a fantastic resource, connecting philanthropic funders with a range of impactful organisations whose projects are delivering gender equality outcomes.

Here are 7 key projects you can get involved in to support women and girls 

1. Enable women in Tanzania to earn income and manage their periods without shame
The vast majority of women and girls in Tanzania have little to no access to sanitary products. It means around 80 per cent are unable to hygienically manage their periods, while dealing with enormous stigma around menstruation. In rural areas, sanitary products can be almost impossible to source. It’s a dire situation that sees girls skipping school and leaving their education behind.

A new project in Tanzania is set to train 250 women from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds with the business and financial literacy skills they need to become sanitary pad sales agents. In doing so, these women will be given the opportunity to generate their own income and help squash some of the barriers to period product access in Tanzania.

The women in this program will receive 6 packets of sanitary products to start their business, and will be able to earn up to USD $60-$120 per month. 

You can find more details here.

2. The Women of Colour Mentorship Program, Media Diversity Australia
It might be shocking to learn that as of July 2020, every single national news director in Australia was a white man. That statistic comes from a report released by Media Diversity Australia called Who Gets to Tell Australia Stories, which showed us that people from Anglo-Celtic backgrounds, especially men, hold most of the power in the media industry. Across other senior management roles, just 28 per cent were held by women, all of whom had an Anglo Celtic background.

Media Diversity has launched a Women of Colour Mentorship program, designed to help mid-career women journalists of First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to navigate the leadership ladder in the media industry. 

The 12-month program supports 10 mentorships Australia-wide, where chosen mentees will be matched with mentors connected to media outlets. The program is due to start mid-2022.

You can find more details here.

3. Indigenous women ranger teams, Karrkad Kanjdji Trust
First Nations women play an integral role in managing land in West and Central Arnhem Land. Their knowledge and responsibilities are crucial to effective land management, however they remain underrepresented in government-funded ranger roles in the area.

Karrkad Kanjdji Trust (KKT) is looking to support the continued growth of the Warddeken and Mimal women’s ranger teams, impacting about 150 women and girls in the region.

Learn more about KKT and its work supporting women rangers here.

4. Wandi Nerida Residential Recovery Centre, Butterfly Foundation
Two-thirds of the one million people experiencing an eating disorder in Australia are female. That’s a sizable chunk of our population dealing with a very complex mental illness.

It’s paramount that girls and women experiencing an eating disorder are able to access the services they need. That’s where Wandi Nerida Residential Recovery Centrecomes in – Australia’s first residential care facility for those experiencing eating disorders, which was opened by the Butterfly Foundation in 2022.

The facility utilises a new clinical model of care, focusing on holistic, individualised treatment. It draws from a range of evidence-based therapies, and has a high staff to client ratio. The treatment is intensive, and comes with a high cost per person, with an expected average stay of 60 days costing about $75,000.

Private philanthropy can help by contributing to bursaries, helping the Centre provide equitable treatment to those who need it.

Learn more about the recovery centre here.

5. The Cornelia Program, The Royal Women’s Hospital
The Cornelia Program, launched by The Royal Women’s Hospital, Launch Hospital and HousingFirst, is supporting pregnant women and new mothers and their babies experiencing homelessness, with access to transitional accommodation for up to 12 months.

Women and babies started moving into 36 purpose-built apartments in August 2021, and the program is now seeking further funding to keep supporting the women, and purchase items like furniture, furnishing and essential items for babies.

You can find out more information about the program here.

6. Under Cover, Documentary Film
Women over the age of 50 are quickly finding themselves in the fastest cohort of people experiencing homelessness in Australia. Narrated by Margot Robbie, a new documentary follows an eclectic group of these women who are experiencing homelessness, shining a light on the issue.

Producers of the film are looking to continue a social impact campaign around the documentary in 2023, coordinating community and education screenings. The aim is to use Under Cover as a vehicle to create tangible change at a social and political level.

Find out more about it here.

7. Gender Compass, Plan International Australia
Plan International Australia is creating a ‘Gender Compass’, an audience segmentation tool that will help the organisation advocate more effectively for gender equality. It’s important because currently there is little to no research that identifies the best ways to engage Australians and their existing attitudes when it comes to gender equality. Understanding an audience is a crucial part of shifting the dial.

Plan International will conduct comprehensive research to segment the Australian population according to their beliefs with the aim of challenging gender norms and toxic attitudes. The tool will be free, and publicly available.

You can find out more about the Gender Compass here.