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  • staceyong8

Pfaffing around the edges or what actually transfers power

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Gloriously HOT sunny day, 30 degrees, one of the first days that it actually feels like summer in Melbourne. Tuesday 30 November, 2:50pm


I’m feeling a little ranty today and inspired by Kon Karapanagiotis’ keynote at Newkind. In Kon’s keynote he talked about how his organisation, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre put so much time and effort into working out whether they should be helping someone rather than just helping them. This Medium article written by American philanthropist MacKenzie Scott talks about her rigorous data-driven approach, “We do this research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached. Because our research is data-driven and rigorous, our giving process can be human and soft. Not only are non-profits chronically underfunded, they are also chronically diverted from their work by fundraising, and by burdensome reporting requirements that donors often place on them.” MacKenzie Scott's foundation distributed $6 billion in about five months in the first half of 2021, making it one of the fastest distributors of funding.


I often get frustrated with equality initiatives that do not seek to transfer power. While I think that training, data collection, consultation, staff networks etc. are all worthwhile initiatives, the biggest change in equity comes when we TRANSFER POWER.


If power includes resources, opportunity, rank/positional power then the most effective equity initiatives transfer power, such as:

  • Leadership targets - Establishing structures, processes and accountability to increase the diversity of leadership

  • Funding - Funding projects / businesses / organisations led by women and girls of colour and Indigenous businesses. The US Women and Girls Index found that only 1.6% of philanthropic funding went to women and girls' organisations. If you're not a funder think about partnering (equitably - ie. sharing the funding and the effort) with a women's organisation. If you're not a funder, think about asking the funder what their processes are to support funding for women and girls

  • Remuneration and promotion - Ensuring equity in remuneration and promotion through processes like pay reviews, inclusion champions on panels, and transparency of pay. Opaque remuneration only serves to benefit men

  • Recruitment targets - Ditto the leadership targets

  • Spending - Spending with businesses led by women of colour and paying them what they are worth. If you have a great experience, refer that business to other buyers. Set a target for spending with businesses led by women, women of colour, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

  • Opportunity - Give a woman of colour opportunity including opportunities for jobs, promotion, projects, business, public speaking, mentoring etc etc

  • Finance - Investing in women-owned or women-led businesses, investing in businesses that operate equitably and deliver products or services that improve the lives of women and girls. The Criterion Institute has some fantastic resources on gender-lens investing

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