Putting a gender lens on philanthropy will help us reach global gender equality goals. Australians Investing In Women is leading the way

by Women’s Agenda
Updated on Monday 22 April 2024

When MECCA M-POWER was awarded the Eve Mahlab AO Gender-wise Philanthropy Award at the Philanthropy Australia Awards recently, we thought it was a good time to revisit what putting a 'gender lens' on philanthropy means and how it will help us reach global gender equality goals.

Gender equality will not be achieved by accident. In fact, a report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation estimated it will not be achieved on a global scale until the year 2108 – three generations later than previously thought.

There are many factors at play on the path to greater equality for women and girls, and where we choose to invest our money is, and will continue to be, critical to progress.

Globally, only 16 percent of private philanthropic funding supports gender equality and women’s empowerment. And in Australia, 12 percent of philanthropic foundation grants are allocated to women’s and girls’ projects.

The financial investments we make are powerful and have the potential to create a fairer and more inclusive society if used in the right way. It’s something not-for-profit organisation Australians Investing In Women (AIIW) is determined to highlight in its mission to support gender-wise philanthropy.

AIIW encourages Australians, especially philanthropic, corporate and community leaders, to apply a gender lens to their philanthropy, to increase investment in women, girls, and gender equality.

CEO of AIIW, Julie Reilly, is passionate about building greater awareness about the need for a gender lens on philanthropy.

Currently, AIIW is working across a number of events and initiatives to raise such awareness, including the recently released report into older women and homelessness in Australia, which found that the number of older women experiencing homelessness is set to double in the coming decade.

“Now, more than ever, we need targeted interventions through government policy and philanthropic investment to provide safe and affordable accommodation for women,” Julie Reilly said on the report’s launch.

Encouraging philanthropists to invest in causes that promote the wellbeing and rights of women and girls doesn’t just benefit women and girls themselves. There is a proven “multiplier effect” when it comes to gender-wise giving, which sees families and whole communities benefit when women and girls thrive.

Investing in women can also push forward progress on a range of social issues, because it is so often women organising and leading these movements.

It’s one of the reasons Mecca M-Power is so excited to partner with AIIW.

“Working with AIIW (Australians Investing in Women) is like applying a brilliant new filter to your social media posts – you can never see the world in the same way again,” Lisa Keenan, Executive Director of M-Power says.

“The AIIW team are a powerhouse team who have a track record of influencing national policy reform and igniting important conversations. We are grateful to have them on our team.”

On being named recipient of the Eve Mahlab Gender-wise Philanthropy Award, Lisa said: "
MECCA has always been about creating an environment in which women can thrive, so we are beyond thrilled to receive this award bearing the name of a woman, Eve Mahlab, who did so much to bring the needs of women to the forefront of philanthropy. 

 "M-POWER is MECCA's movement for social change, embodying the spirit of positive progress on which the brand was founded, and putting women's rights at the heart of MECCA's business.  

"More than anything, receiving this award is a fabulous opportunity to celebrate our extraordinary collective of more than 20 social change makers who are working to dismantle the systems and structures that hold women back, and make the world a more equal place.  

 "While we are just getting started and have so much more to do, it is really heartening to see the incredible momentum inside our business and the way our customers and communities are signing up to be part of the MECCA movement. Together, we really can make the world over."