What We Can All Learn From WNBA Athletes: #AskForHelp

What We Can All Learn From WNBA Athletes: #AskForHelp

So here I am glued to the television watching these strong, bold, seemingly invincible athletes yell "HELP!" when they get beat on defense and muscling through high fives when they work and score as a team... and I’m realizing how rare it is that any of us ask for help from each other in our professional and activist lives. Do we ask for sustenance or expertise in our movement building around gender equity? Do we shift from our own positions to support each other when it is time to move money and resources to women and girls? When it’s time to seek to extend our leadership voice?

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Fierce Leaders Expanding Opportunities for Women and Girls (Part 2)

#TuesdaysWithTuti grew out of a desire to highlight the incredible changemakers I have had the privilege of working with. On Tuesdays, I share a bit about the work these individuals are doing, and how I have been honored to support them. Read about recent leaders I have featured below and spread the word about these extraordinary leaders and organizations. Follow me here for to see future posts.

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On Dreaming & Practice: Money Lessons from My Mother Susan

On Dreaming & Practice: Money Lessons from My Mother Susan

Susan “Weaver” ingrained in me so many lessons on generosity and how to work with my resources—maybe not financial resources, but certainly basic human resources like creativity, emotion, love, reflex, impulse, and energy. My mother had enormous human presence. She was innately comfortable in her body, her wisdom, and her power to impact and influence her surroundings.

My mother modeled for me how to show up ready to work hard, learn from people who are smarter than me, and get back up after defeat or disappointment and try again. She also encouraged my basketball career where I learned to “fake it until you make it.”  Failure is constant in basketball… you miss a shot, you shake it off, reach out your arm, and ask for the ball again. All of these skills have been invaluable as I’ve navigated my own journey with money and power and worked to get more women into their own embodied mindset of money and power.

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Rethink Masculinity & Power, Get Yourself Invited to the Lesbian Men Club

Rethink Masculinity & Power, Get Yourself Invited to the Lesbian Men Club

When I speak to my cisgender male friends and colleagues and ask them, “Do you love women? Want the best for them? Want women to be able to fulfill their dreams without limitations or barriers?” they emphatically say yes. So I suggest that perhaps they, are “lesbian men”, too. By this I mean they reject stereotypical gender roles and assumptions in a major way and they respect women.

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Fierce Leaders Expanding Opportunities For Women and Girls (Part 1)

Fierce Leaders Expanding Opportunities For Women and Girls (Part 1)

#TuesdaysWithTuti grew out of a desire to highlight the incredible changemakers I have had the privilege of working with. Every Tuesday, I share a bit about the work these individuals are doing, and how I have been honored to support them. Read about the first six leaders I have featured below and spread the word about these extraordinary leaders and organizations. Follow me here for to see future posts.

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On Dreaming and Practice: Donna Lopiano, Defender of Women's Rights for Four Decades

On Dreaming and Practice: Donna Lopiano, Defender of Women's Rights for Four Decades

I call Donna “the Mother Teresa of gender equity in sport” because she selflessly and tirelessly serves the invisible, the under-resourced, and/or embattled. A true changemaker uses their talents for what is needed, and Donna has consistently shown us that this is who she is. Just how far we have to go to reach gender equity in sport is more alive a topic than ever since we heard the testimonies from the Olympic gymnastics team in January.

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On Dreaming and Practice: Moments I’ve Been Personally Inspired by Gloria Steinem

On Dreaming and Practice: Moments I’ve Been Personally Inspired by Gloria Steinem

But there is something incredible about hearing an icon like Steinem state something as simple and powerful as “get her involved in sports.” This is a statement that hundreds of women’s sports activists, athletes, feminists, coaches, teachers, and researchers have said for decades. But here we were in 2010 and here was Gloria Steinem at a funky off-broadway theater in New York again stating the obvious…

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Reflecting my Values: Who I Give To and Why When I Make a Charitable Gift

Reflecting my Values: Who I Give To and Why When I Make a Charitable Gift

In my career, I have met women leaders and organizations who emulate my mother’s strong values for hard work, generosity, respect, and a cultivated curiosity. As a donor, board member, or coach, I'm attracted to opportunities when I resonate with a leader who mirrors these values.

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Why Moving Millions to Women and Girls Must Include Work on Embodied Leadership

Why Moving Millions to Women and Girls Must Include Work on Embodied Leadership

Embodied leadership is a way of being in the world that allows one to seamlessly integrate the lessons of the body learned through healthy movement and competition: risk, courage, anxiety, fear, the art of fundamentals, achievement and failure in everyday living, and decision-making. Girls and women who actively practice these lessons are more likely to successfully and graciously make “healthier” decisions—emotionally, relationally, and intellectually.

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Why A Single Narrative About the 19th Amendment Does Us All an Injustice​​​​​​​

The danger of a single narrow narrative for civil rights policy or legislation such as Title IX and suffrage expansion is that it diminishes the power that it can hold for millions of individuals.

Last year on July 26th, a major political party officially nominated a woman as their presidential candidate for the first time. Hillary Clinton, dressed in all white (a nod to the suffrage movement), accepted the nomination and made history. Accepting the nomination was far from the first step in women’s liberation. Rather it was a celebration of a long and calculated movement of determined women. And then the 2016 election happened.

Clinton’s nod to the suffragistswas a reminder of the history, pain, and work they put into passing the 19th amendment that must not be forgotten or glazed over as simply ”the right to vote”.  Similar to Title IX being seen as the “sports law”, the 19th amendment and the Education Amendments Act had broader goals for women and for society. Both laws represent so much more than they appear and learning more about their purpose and true intent can help lead us to further progress towards women’s equality.

In 1848, the suffrage movement began with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organizing the Seneca Falls Convention, inspired by their trip to an Anti-Slavery Convention. This was a coming together and a call for all women’s civil rights, even beyond voting. The official document, the Declaration of Sentiments, called for expansion and recognition of equal rights to women, including suffrage. Modeled after the Declaration of Independences, it shares qualities of the Equal Rights Amendment. The document stated that a woman was man’s equal, called for expansion of educational opportunities, and inclusion of women to all career fields. Ironically, during the convention, women’s suffrage was the only resolve that was not unanimously passed.

In the context of the legislative process and societal norms, activists and suffragists used the energy from this convention as a catalyst to lobby states to ratify a woman’s right to vote, which was a significant step in women’s emancipation. Twenty-one states had ratified this policy before the federal government passed the 19th Amendment for women’s suffrage in 1920. The 19th Amendment simply says: “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Though its meaning clear, this amendment did not allow for all women to vote. It wasn’t until 1947 that Native American women got the right to vote, in 1952 the policy began including Asian women, and finally, in 1965, the Voting Rights Act gave Black women the right vote.


 Facebook's Women's Equality Day Image Last Year. A number of these women however did not have the right with the 19th Amendment.

Facebook's Women's Equality Day Image Last Year. A number of these women however did not have the right with the 19th Amendment.


As Evette Dionne noted in her piece “Women’s Suffrage Leaders Left Out Black Women” for Teen Vogue, “Black women publicly fought for their right to vote, and often. In her 1867 speech at the American Equal Rights Association, Sojourner Truth argued that giving black men the right to vote without affording black women the same right only promoted black men's dominance.” Acknowledging the full story and history of the 19th Amendment helps us see how much we have to do to achieve racial and gender justice collectively.

Much like the 19th Amendment and voting, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, goes beyond the sports label that it has been given. Passed in 1972, Title IX prohibits sex based discrimination in educational settings. While this expanded opportunities for athletics, it also prohibits discrimination against pregnant/parenting students, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, sexual harassment, and inequitable access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs and resources.

In June, Title IX celebrated its 45th anniversary, but only a few years ago did the U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR) focus on the STEM pillar or respond to the pleas of rape victims speaking up on college campuses. Finally, OCR is providing definitive instructions on how to apply Title IX to prosecute and end sexual assault in educational institutions. We must mobilize resources in support of all of the areas in which Title IX was intended.   

Equitable funding for women in schools through congressional legislation is much easier to implement than a constitutional amendment on equal rights for women. But the connections between the Declaration of Sentiments, Equal Rights Amendment, the 19th Amendment, Title IX, and Education Amendments Act can all be tangibly strung together by a movement with a clearly focused purpose; full equality and recognition of women in society.

In recognizing this history, we must expand the use of our language around Title IX and the 19th Amendment to open the door for institutional and policy change that women in the suffrage movement identified 160 years ago as their end goal. Beyond wearing white, let’s think of what might we all do to bring a movement for equal rights to fruition including protecting voting rights, particularly for communities of color. In 2020, perhaps a woman President will be able to channel Alice Paul’s spirit to get the final ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment pushed through after 93 years of waiting for our due.  

 

Tuti Scott, philanthropy consultant and coach, was co-CEO of the Women's Sports Foundation. She is a second wave intersectional feminist and lifelong point guard and will play in any game that has gender equality as a goal.

Jessica Avery works as the social media coordinator for Imagine Philanthropy. Having studied politics and gender studies at Mount Holyoke College, Jessica works on policy issues surrounding education, the environment, and women's rights and is a proud intersectional millennial feminist.

45 Years Later, Three Social Justice Movement Building Lessons from Title IX

People forget how transformative Title IX was—not just for women and girls, but for all of society. We tend to think of Title IX only in its relationship to sports. I get it. But there is a rich history there and we need to remember how Title IX’s implications extend into every other arena of life.

As part of the United States Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX states: 

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Think about that. With all of the work our country needed to do, Title IX set women and girls, and our nation, on an entirely new path. Title IX was a win for our society and the 21st century. 

I remind people that Title IX was established so that women could go to college and pursue advanced degrees. This was one of the first ways women gained access to power by drastically expanding their career options. The absolute intent of Title IX is protecting women and girls from sexual harassment, protecting pregnant women from discrimination, and ensuring that women and girls have access to education and training in male-dominated STEM fields. Women can now study medicine, law, or finance, rather than being limited to being teachers and social workers. 

Title IX was then and is today about expanded opportunity, and yes, justice.

Today, on the 45th anniversary of Title IX, with too many Black and Brown lives lost to state violence, justice must be at the forefront of our conversations. In May, Kimberlé Crenshaw, the scholar and critical race theorist who coined the term intersectionality, spoke about the interconnectedness of our movements. She said, “We need to have better ways of talking across movements.” 

Here are three lessons that I’ve learned from a life and career steeped in Title IX and women’s philanthropy that we can put to use in our connected movements for gender, racial and even, dare I say, economic justice.

1) Leadership and justice is never a zero sum game.

We have a president who is obsessed with winning and losing. But athletes know this—you never play just to win. You train hard for years, develop your skills out of respect for everyone involved, and foster a rapport with other players. And winning isn’t always correlated with performance. Mr. Trump may think leadership is about winning, but it’s about something much bigger-excellence, integrity, and sportsmanship to start. Outcomes that matter to people, outcomes that change the course of history, and outcomes that change what is possible. And I for one believe in the potential of the human spirit.

Why does this matter? When you think there is a finite amount of money, power, or justice – aptly reframed as love according to the wise Dr. Monique Morris - to go around, everyone suffers for it. There are still people who don’t support Title IX today, for example, because of the myth that when we invest in women’s and girls’ programs, for example, boys lose out. History proves that this isn’t true. Title IX continues to teach us that there’s enough room for girls and boys to succeed.

What can this teach us about other movements for social justice? That no one movement fights in isolation. We must fight alongside of and for the most marginalized communities among us, just as others have fought alongside the Women’s Movement, Civil Right, Gay Rights, etc. Clearly, we must know by now that publicly supporting Black Lives Matterdoesn’t mean that another community is going to lose.

2) Exercising and using our bodies is a primary tool in the empowerment of voice.

And the more we use our voice, the more we feel at home in our bodies. I call this embodied leadership. I have found this relationship between voice and body to be true through the spectrum of my life – as an athlete, a lover, and a cancer and heart disease patient. This is why with every activist I engage with, I encourage being fully present with your body. Whatever your body looks like, whatever your body can do. You are more powerful than you know.

Women Win’s research tells us that sports assists in the prevention of gender-based violence. Through sports, and I would infer through embodied leadership of all expressions, women and girls:

  1. Learn how to ask for help
  2. Encourage boundary setting
  3. Build courage

Many of the things I see women struggle with as a result of living in this culture—not going to bat for ourselves or others, apologizing too much, competing against women we could and should be supporting—these things live in the body, too. We can transform them using the leadership and teamwork skills we learn through the model from sports. We can transform them by stepping into and standing in our power. Whether or not you play sports now or if you were lucky to grow up playing sports, remember that you have access to using your voice. Leadership at every level is embodied, and we need to start teaching it in an embodied way. Marching regularly works as does using your power stance…daily.

3) We have to find more ways to tap into our empathy.

There are a million reasons to encourage women’s full participation in every sector of society. Again, looking just at sports, we know that when girls play sports, they go on to have more positive experiences in every sphere of life: their home, workplace, and community. Health benefits of movement and sports are crystal clear. Women who benefited from playing sports have an 8% higher wage premium and are 20% more likely to be in the workforce. We know companies are more profitable when women are in leadership positions, and more than half of all top female executives played sports in college. In other words, women’s participation in sports helps women get to the highest levels of leadership and prepares them for success in spaces previously dominated only by men. 

But beyond all of these reasons, making sure women and girls have access to sports is simply the right thing to do. Each time a father goes to bat for his daughter using Title IX protections under the law, he is going to bat for young women everywhere. Each time we throw our support behind a woman colleague who asks for equal funding for her programs or challenges sexual harassment in the workplace, we go to bat for all women. The history of Title IX teaches us what justice and empathy looks like in practice. We demonstrate empathy by fighting for another person’s humanity. By showing up and being willing to do it… because it’s the right thing to do.

We need the lessons of Title IX now more than ever. While there is so much more work for equity, Title IX has helped create the conditions of fairness for women and girls. We have to ask ourselves, what conditions do we need to create now—what laws, systems, and practices do we need to change, to make gender and racial justice, and yes, economic justice a reality?

Degrading the Fearless Girl: Why People Lean on Misogyny for Progress

On May 29th 2017, an artist created and positioned a urinating dog, “Pissing Pug,” next to the “Fearless Girl” statue situated in front of the famous Wall Street “Charging Bull.” 

He said his goal was “spreading awareness about the corporate origins of the statue” and to highlight the negative aspects of Wall Street. A nod that we need to move away from the greedy origins of Wall Street and do away with these corporate types all together. 

Looking at the piece, I wonder: Why did this male artist wait for a female-commissioned piece of a little girl to make his statement? 

A dog, in a degrading act, towards a young girl is appalling, but it also speaks to a bigger issue in movement building. Misogyny, hatred towards women and/or girls, is common in movements because there is still a lack of understanding of intersectionality and how change can be created for the benefit of all, including the lived experiences of all. 

Let’s look at the history of both statues. State Street Corporation (which has a gender lens investing initiative) commissioned the “Fearless Girl” piece in honor of International Women’s Day, though it wasn’t a permanent fixture. There was much uproar around the statue. The Charging Bull’s creator expressed his dismay, as well as many people calling it an advertising ploy or feel good act for companies who exclude women. I was one of the people who saw this artwork as an amazing opportunity to open up the dialogue around the capital that women own as well as the fact that we need more women in financial boardrooms. 

In contrast, the Charging Bull was paid for by the artist and put up after the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of the people’s strength and power. If that were truly the case, however, if that were truly a value we hold dear, the Fearless Girl would simply be an addition to that—a symbol of women’s strength and power to the investment industry that the bull has come to represent. 

According to a 2017 Catalyst report, women hold just 29 (5.8%) of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies. A 2015 Morningstar report cited by The World Economic Forum found that women manage less than 2% of mutual fund assets and “nearly two thirds of the top 71 Silicon Valley venture capital funds have no senior female investment professionals, according to the Social & Capital Partnership. I could continue, but the picture is clear: Women are not part of the high level conversations around investments. The investment industry desperately needs women’s strength and power. 

A 2009 study from the Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy tells us that “women will inherit 70% of the money that gets passed down over the next two generations” (excludes the increasing amounts they earn on their own) and women already own more than half of the investable assets in the U.S. Our money is good enough to trade, make more money off, and reinvest, but adding us to the (white male) boy’s club is taking far too long. What’s the problem with “Pissing Pug?” Instead of addressing the real issues with Wall Street, it was easier for this artist to undermine art that is speaking to millions and helping to bring about important changes in a male-dominated industry. Women should not be used as a prop to push an agenda. They should be a critical part of the conversation and be driving the conversation. Like the system or not, we have every right to it and a say in where our money is going and what’s been done with it. 

Many companies and initiatives, such as Pax Ellevate FundEquileapEconomic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) or State Street’s Gender Diversity ETF, are changing the narrative about women, leadership and investing. If we continue to dismiss women leaders or push women aside, which the dog statue undoubtedly does, no true change can occur with how, where, and to whom our money goes.

7 Practices to Focus on Individual Giving

A number of clients and colleagues understand the value of diversifying their revenue models.  Most of these organizations have been primarily dependent on institutional giving models (i.e., recipients of grants) and are starting to explore what success looks like in the individual giving arena.  Results in this arena take time, persistence and insistence on key practices.   Here are my top seven ideas for building sustainable and engaging partnerships with individual donors.   Good luck and let me know which ones are working for you!

  1. Stick to a relationship building rhythm. People give because they are asked to help.  Before inviting someone to invest in your work, one needs to build a relationship.  Telling the story in person over and over in a myriad of ways (one-on-one, small lunches, cocktail parties, etc.) builds rapport and comfort that people trust and want to be part of. Takeaway – Do you tape or rehearse your ‘story’ and adjust it to resonate with different audience?
  2. Explore prospecting opportunities.  All programs have ‘alumni’ who have benefited from the service provided by the organization, some of whom may have given and some who have never been asked.  As well, there is typically a parent (if higher education based), friend or other person connected to the beneficiary who saw the transformation created by your program. Takeaway - How often can you produce lists and share them with the leadership to determine who hasn’t yet been engaged or who they might like to know more about?  
  3. Set goals for meetings and conversations.  What gets measured gets attended to, what gets attended to gets done.  Conversations are always opportunities for the organization to learn about the donor or the prospect’s values and ideals. Takeaway – How much time do you allocate for downloading your meetings so they are put into a database record and/or utilized to determine how best to engage someone in the mission and work?
  4. Create a communications calendar to engage with key people.  Every organization has an ‘inner circle’ of long time donors (3-5 years or more of giving), program alumni, current or former board members, celebrities, planned gift donors, long term serving staff, major donors (at an amount that is relative to the organization).  For every trip, event or mailing, examine if you want to visit or pull this group list for a mailing and personalize in some manner.  Takeaway – Have you set up an inner circle query on your database and how do you uniquely steward this group?
  5. Formalize a ‘posse’ or advisory council.  With organizations that do not have a traditional fundraising Board or need to expand the work of their Board, harnessing the ideas and connections of an advisory board or other group of connected people to expand the reach of the work.  Takeaway – Is there a group of 5-7 people who you reach out to on a quarterly basis to get their ideas on strategies, opportunities and events and people to engage with?  
  6. Encourage leadership to ask for help and advice.  Often, long serving or highly competent CEO/ED’s feel they have arrived or see asking for help as a weakness.  To be successful, a good organization will have leadership that has at least 5-6 ways to invite a donor to offer their time, talent or treasure.  Remember the mantra, “Ask for money and you get advice; ask for advice and you get money.”  Takeaway – How many different ways can you invite input, ideas, connections, and resources?
  7. Conduct ongoing database analysis and research.  The database is the biggest asset of most organizations and the least invested in.  There are tools (donor research database overlays) that can be utilized to assess the giving potential of donors.  Takeaway - Is there a full-time position or allocation of at least 20-30 hours per/week of a staff member’s time who is continually doing queries, pulling lists and conducting analysis of records and the content in the records (not data entry)?


 

Identity: Try and Dismiss It

This rhythmic rant was originally written after the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting.  At the time, it felt too raw to publish then, but in light of the Gavin Grimm case, Texas gender inequality bills, Governors and Judges who are homophobic and many other LGBTQIA dismissals and injustices, I no longer have the privilege to stay silent. 

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How can being gay be compared to fear of flying or spiders or crowds?  There is no phobia of gays and lesbians any more – there is only ignorance, self-loathing and fear. 

I am from despair to righteousness swearing quietly to complacent privileged people.  I am from claiming space and truth.  I have marched for rights for women, for access to sport, for our right to choose, for our right to love.  I have given money for and to women leaders, been in the trenches working on behalf of women athletes.  I am from an activist mother who brought forth these skills.   

I am from the particles that make up the bed I lie on as well as every idea and word that collides inside my body and mind.  I am from atoms – free flowing energy and movement.  I am from protons and neutrons. 

My mind lives throughout my body hammering inside my heart, whimpering in my belly and starch drying my womb.  I push and pull the particles depending on the wind, levels of self-compassion and the biochemistry of the day.  A chemstrip is dipped into my chest like a chlorine pool test measuring my systems of hardness, alkalinity, and today, my sugars and testosterone.  I am from lowered estrogen and highly elevated provocative words and acts.

My journey has included a stop or two to reboot my heart and reset my rhythm, flatten my chest, clear ugly growths and tighten up my knee.  All of my particles are moving now – fully alert and radicalized.  I wonder why my protons are so sensitive to violence and hate?  Why do my particles crave tenderness and kindness?  There are others who use the quantum physics of their atoms to hurt, violate and even kill.  Who or what rearranged their innocent baby minds from affluence, love and potential to fear, anger and despair? 

I am from the gay rights movement of the 80’s and 90’s – AIDS and siloed thinking and work.  I am the daughter of Susan.  I chose my own name Tuti at age 5 --- it means we all play together.  Fitting for this intersectional humanist/feminist.  My atoms have been complacent as they hyper focused on healing for a decade.  Now they make up the design of a test strip to mark levels of sexism in a person’s psyche.  The marker on my chem strip is dark red and bloody mad. 

I am the daughter and granddaughter of artists and teachers – why wouldn’t my genes have cell memory of the themes of uprising?  My epigenetic being is so tired of the lack of love and lack of acceptance, tired of bias and bigotry, tired of people’s rush to judge, tired of laws written because people have a ‘phobia’ of who I love, tired of people who hurt and threaten ‘other’. 

I am from dumpsters of kindness and righteous hope standing proudly with dignity.  When they put the chemstrip into my heart to test my levels today, they will find that balance and serenity have silenced any opposition.  I am a spiritual being having a human experience.   My atoms recognize their affinity with atoms in my fellow marginalized beings. I am the belief in attracting strong, powerful allies who will step out of their privilege and speak up for us.  Join me.

Six Steps for Moving Forward

My posse of friends and family have known that I am often slow to identify the source of my sadness or anger as a sensitive Virgo.  Forgive me for coming late to the "grieving the women’s movement party of one.”  Many people were inspired to be at a March on the 21st and, don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed being in Boston and seeing generations marching together and young men holding signs in support of women.  Yet, there I was in the sea of people on the Boston Common sobbing while telling my friend Ellen how alone I felt amidst the sea of people.  I was grieving the pinkness of it all, the whiteness of the crowd, the pacifying of women’s voices. I was sad about feeling that we had, yet again, let down black and Latina women.

I have been in the women’s rights movement for four decades, so please accept my apologies if I offend any newcomers who are still in post march glee.  Excuse an elder pin-wearing activist for being tired of how we chose not to honor legacy and marched with a theme of owning our co-opted pussies.  At this time in the evolution of our society I feel we ought to be able to actually use the anatomical word vagina without shame or disdain while also acknowledging that not all of our sisters (especially many elders) see vaginas as a universal term of solidarity.

My shirt said ‘Still All in for Her’ and yet I got nary a thumbs up or nod amongst the thousands of people I walked by the day of the march. Shame on all of us for not recognizing the one leader who has been at the tip of the spear for decades standing up to the misogyny and double standards of sexism and not taking even a moment to salute her historic achievement or even acknowledge her classy, dignified fight or stolen election.  Our technology-obsessed culture keeps us from pausing to learn from or celebrate our history.  If we make our leaders and what they symbolize obsolete, how do we learn?

The March was set up to showcase love and not hate and be about women and inclusion and not DT’s distasteful form and hateful speech.  Yet feminine energy was dressed in pink when clearly we need fluorescent orange.  Pink is soft and complacent and focuses on the idea that our pussy is all that we are.  Orange screams warning – it screams we have a voice and it will be alarming when women’s voices are fully unleashed and unfettered.  The March gave us the chance for one day to collectively shout across the globe.  As we march forward my call to action is to show our outrage beyond emoticons and stretch ourselves to be vulnerable and vocal in person about what we stand for and why.

 Tuti and friends readying for the Women's March in Boston

Tuti and friends readying for the Women's March in Boston

We witnessed Hillary Clinton fighting for us all and representing women leaders or aspiring young leaders day in and day out while being treated with double standards and judged as not ‘likable’.  Will someone please tell me when white women are going to stop pissing on women leaders or, better yet, actually have each other’s backs – especially the backs of leaders who are supporting the betterment of all?  If we keep fighting each other, we feed into the white male patriarchy’s strategy.  Why don’t we get as mad at the system that shames our “never perfect” bodies, keeps us from positions of power and/or leadership and dismisses our ideas and voices?  Where is our bright orange outrage?

Hatred, sexism, and racism were here long before Trump came along.  Solidarity doesn’t actually mean community or change.  Divisiveness between color or age is a strategy for mitigating power.  Getting women to criticize or hate other women for stepping into leadership or speaking boldly is part of the strategy to fragment our power.  We must move forward on the assumption that all women care about ALL of ‘us’.  This belief makes it even more critical for women of privilege to yield to the concerns and needs of their fellow feminists and sisters who are in direct harm from changes to key federal level policies.  Seriously, how can we as white women of privilege expect black feminist, trans activists and undocumented people to fight for issues that will help us all when we can’t even acknowledge that the work that they are doing benefits us?

If I could have tea with any of the 53% white female population who voted for Trump, I would have a reality check conversation with them.  I would ask – do you know where your feminine power comes from? Are you able to use your voice and be heard and respected in any environment or venue?  Others have said this very eloquently so my purpose in writing is really to encourage each of us, particularly the first-time activists and women of privilege, to bang on the drum of action.

I feel compelled to remind people that Hillary’s loss can (and should) fire us up to name the sexism and misogyny that we ALL feel, hear or witness daily.  Surely, DT’s action will anger us each day.  However, it is important to remember it took 90 years for women to get the right to vote.  While we enjoyed the energy of the crowds, now more than ever we need to use our voices out loud even if we can’t sing as well as the fierce brave artists of #ICantKeepQuiet.  Here are my suggested six ways to embody and mobilize change as we march forward stronger together.

1.     Remember that sisterhood is for and from all of us.  Stop and google Angela Davis or Audre Lorde or Barbara Jordan, watch thousands of stories about women on Makers, listen and learn.  I follow For Harriet online for a daily onslaught of impressive brilliance and voices of black women.  Review speeches by indigenous, trans, Chicana, etc activists from the various Marches and follow the women who don’t look like you. 

2.     Be publicly visible in your activism.  In 1993, we marched for women’s rights (yup – similar topics, different era) and everyone had pins on their clothing.  At this March I had pins on my hat that I could have sold ten times over – especially the one that said – “Women who desire to be equal to men clearly lack ambition”.  Often we are afraid to gather in smaller groups because we may be confronted with incivility and bullying.  This absence of feeling safe removes an important expression of our power.  Find your allies by wearing your politics on your purse, coat or car.  Now is not the time to cower to power. 

3.     Understand intersectionality and find your personal sweet spot for change.  As a citizen, I will continue to voice my dissatisfaction with the regime of DT with at least one daily outreach to Congress.  My clear focus of my activism and philanthropy is to support women in social justice leadership; people who fiercely and boldly do the long-term systems change work we all need.

4.     Build and learn from our history.  There is a reason that there is a museum for dentistry and still not a government sanctioned one for women.  The reason is spelled p-a-t-r-i-a-r-c-h-y.  We are continually obliterated from history alongside native and people of color and thankfully Rosie Rios  worked hard to get Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill; a small but visible step in our capitalist society.  Molly MacGregor has spent her life curating the National Women’s History Project and the book written by a dear friend and leader in movement building, Greg Jobin Leeds, When we Fight we Win ,are both resources with depth.   

5.     Give women multiple chances to speak their ideas out loud.  Leverage face-to-face interactions when they happen.  We need to practice stating our views with a spoken voice.  We always had two or three questions at gay rights marches in the 90’s to ascertain how safe people were feeling and to identify what was their biggest concern.  Such queries are even more important to do in person rather than on line so women have the opportunity to practice voicing out loud their concerns or fears in community.

6.     Challenge elected leaders and mobilize voting for values.  My colleague Jessica works for a state representative here in the groovy still liberal Massachusetts, home of many revolutions.  She encourages us to dial our elected officials every day and to do sit-ins at their offices.  Emails and petitions are nice but they don’t disrupt the lives of politicians.   Call, sit in, see who is running for re-election  and challenge those with whom you disagree with.  Get engaged in the mid-term elections and let us march again to mobilize votes beyond party politics and rather for people who share and act on our values – sooner rather than later. 

This piece was written in concert with the wise mind of Jessica Avery who honors the privilege of a Mount Holyoke education and shares her feminist brilliance with this baby boomer regularly.  

Now is the Time for Radical Self-Care

Every day I want to expect the best. After finally reaching the other side of cancer and unplanned open-heart surgery with a ‘worry cloud’ of ‘what ifs’ following me for too long, it feels right to reframe my thinking to ‘expect the best damnit’. I have always been an optimist - expecting the best from people and movements, with the belief that love and kindness will prevail. However, I am now facing a new reality. Now we must work for the greater good while simultaneously preparing to respond and fight against those promoting and exhibiting bigotry, greed and dominance at the expense of those less fortunate or visible.

Our humanity and societal achievements must be measured by how far we can lift up individuals who do not have access to the same privileges as us. For the first time in my life however, this perspective is challenged because I cannot trust the motives, courage or moral compass of the majority of our Congress people as well as the President. I always thought the United States had the checks and balances of democracy figured out to ensure this wouldn’t happen. Yes, I’ve been too naive or, perhaps, over confident, thinking that the three branches – Legislative, Judicial and Executive - were enough to check each other. And now, I realize we have missed the most important point – that I and all of us who vote are the most important check and balance of all. These past few weeks have been a scary way to learn this lesson I was taught in fifth grade but didn’t have the experience to fully comprehend. Clearly, we have to ask ourselves; besides voting, what is the power of a citizen?

The day after the Presidential election I recommitted to a daily yoga and/or qi gong practice in the morning. I felt compelled to strengthen my core and prepare for what my gut knew was ahead. For the past two months, I have been preparing my chi or energy source for the reality of January 20. I want to hold onto my mantra of “expect the best”,” but it is ridiculously challenging amidst the dictator-like actions that are occurring by the Republican Congress ahead of the inauguration. I thought we had more time but, alas, the fight is clearly “full on” for the rights of human citizens in the U.S.A. to control our own bodies, receive adequate health care and be treated with respect.

As Republican white men try to dismantle health care from those who need it most, dismantle the protections we have given to women, LBGTQ or individuals of different races, ethnicities and religions, I feel compelled to share loudly about radical self-care. I urge my teammates in the struggle to not only take action but to also recognize that before we can effectively use our connections on social media, march, petition, call our Congresspersons, run or assist others in running for office, we must commit to taking care of ourselves. A thriving democratic society requires bodies and minds that are healthy, alert, engaged and active. In the same way that an athlete pushes themselves with discipline and goal setting to compete at a high level, we need to recognize that the same preparation is required to be successful in attaining and keeping strong a democratic and caring society.

 Entangled Roots Press- Ali Cat. Leeds

Entangled Roots Press- Ali Cat. Leeds

 

It is clear that the attitudes, actions and manipulative workings of many elected officials aren’t going to cease any time soon. Therefore, it is critical that as feminists and leaders, we are centered, strong and ready for the long fight ahead. My friend Ellen is an exceptionally talented counselor and coach. She has a sign (pictured above) on her office wall that is a picture of drying herbs and it says “Practice Radical Self Care”. In order to lead others and be “present” for accelerated movement building and more, we have to commit first to nurturing and caring for our beings and spirits so that we can show up fully to lead and join with others. Clearly, today is the day to fully embody the idea that we must practice radical self-care as a strategy for not only social change and movement building, but also for survival.

I have had the curse and blessing of having to deal with fear and anxiety at a very young age. My sister and I often name the benefits of growing up in a household where alcohol and mental illness offered far too many images and experiences for a young mind to digest. We look at the pyscho-social and behavioral skills we acquired and realize that many of them have served us well. Some thoughts about these healing tools that have been crafted and improved over time are shared below.

Feel free to use what works for you as you embody the idea of radical self-care. For those of you who are still “on the sidelines” in shock, I welcome you to get engaged in communal and political action as well as noticing and tending to how your body and soul feels. Nourish it well because we are engaged in a marathon, not a sprint, to keep America’s democracy and compassionate, caring values alive and thriving. As so many of us engaged in service this week as a tribute to the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., consider also doing acts of service for your “Self” as well.

1. Listen more deeply to yourself, the quiet, the music, your family and others who may not look or travel in the same identities as you. Find ways to move away from the onslaught of news to be with your own channel of ideas for community, change, and shared resource building. My TV is currently permanently off and covered in a blanket of peace and om signs to offer a blessing to the talking heads to speak truth to power.

2. “Discharge” frequently in whatever form works. Take a page from Ellen DeGeneres and the daily dance routine she offers. Moving one’s body helps to free the chi and clear the frustration. Writing is amazing and cathartic and if you don’t have an opening line, I often use “Dear beloved, you cannot even imagine what I learned/realized today...”.

3. Nourish your body with good food, warm touch, water, vitamins, herbs and more. For every caffeine charge you imbibe, have two glasses of lemon water. For every sugary carbohydrate you choose to eat, add a fruit or vegetable. Thankfully, melatonin and marijuana are both legal in my state.

4. Manage your energy by paying attention. At the source of radical self-care is a deep knowing of what gives you energy and what depletes your energy. Move with purpose and intention away from people or conversations that drain you and towards environments and activities that build up your spirit and energy. For me, I am lucky to be able to walk the beach where I am always reinvigorated no matter who or what has infiltrated my consciousness.

5. Seek out inspiration from people, books and/or community. Join a group or regularly meet with others who share your values. Embrace a daily walk or simply observe the daily gifts of Mother nature – her clouds, a sunset, and other reminders of grace, ease and majesty. Quotes on my refrigerator are ‘gratitude attitude, ‘practice joy’ and ‘believe in yourself’ as well as my favorite Girls Athletic Leadership School pledge.

6. Maintain a sense of humor. Being able to laugh at one’s self and/or with others is key to maintaining a good life. Now more than ever we need to find the ways to learn, engage, take action AND make it fun. The neurobiology of stress and fear (cortisol levels increasing) is not conducive to our health whereas laughter soothes our brain and more while also releasing mood-lifting endorphins. My friends and I are enjoying our silly Marco Polo video voice mails as soothing humor and ways to cheer one another on in the daily struggle.

I know there are many more ways to take good care of ourselves and keep our minds sharp and our energy high. Feel free to share your tools and strategies with people in your life. My restorative yoga class ended today with a wise teacher Kayla saying “I truly believe that taking care of ourselves makes it much easier for us to take care of others.”

This piece was written as a response to 11 Strategies to Mobilize in a Trump Era as I felt the need to offer overachieving and critical thought leaders and colleagues reminders that self-care will keep us all in the game longer.

Tuti Scott, philanthropy consultant and coach, has been working in women’s rights, sports and philanthropy her entire life. She is a second wave intersectional feminist and lifelong point guard and will play in any game that has gender equality as a goal.

 

Eleven Strategies to Mobilize for Women’s Rights in a Trump Era

The silver lining from the election of Trump is the increased energy and engagement of women as activists and donors.  In addition, men who respect women and want them to be treated with dignity as full human beings with all of their rights maintained have become more vocal and engaged.   Many women have expressed to me their feelings of being disempowered after the election.  While I completely understand the anger and frustration, these emotions can be physically and psychologically draining.  We can commit ourselves to applying the strength of these emotions toward addressing the challenges of the new reality we face. 

Our next steps are clear, revolving around answering the question:  How can we invest our time, treasure and talent to mobilize the energy for protection of women’s rights long term?  Remember that we are 44 years past Title IX, 43 years past Roe v. Wade, 62 years past Brown v. Education and almost 100 years after winning the right to vote.  All of these laws are now on the table to be eradicated and we need to protect them during this new presidency. 

Women leaders and powerful male allies must recognize the dangers of partisanship, embrace the necessity of forming a cohesive focus around the issues, and include the needs and voices of those on the margins (people who may lose their health care or access to family planning) or who are targets of ignorance (Muslims or LGBTQ).   We are already learning and gathering together on line - Pantsuit Nation, It’s Time Network, United State of Women, World Pulse – via networked organizations that hold the promise of effectively mobilizing women and their ideas and voices here in the US and globally.  We are stronger together and now we must build on our collective strength. 

Funders and leaders have been asking me about potential strategies to direct their resources during this new era.  I am humbled by the question as there are many smart leaders in the social justice arena and one would hope at least 140,000 organizations (10% of the 1.4 million nonprofits in the USA) have a female gender lens.  In the USA, giving specifically to girls and women has remained steady at 5-7% of philanthropy for the past 30 years.  During a holiday season when our country spends more than $400 billion on gifts, it is hard to believe that during the course of the rest of each year individuals give only $270 billion to ALL nonprofit organizations (30% of which is donated in December).  Upholding women’s rights is a matter of both financial resources and human energy.   Share and consider these data points when shopping, giving and investing.

The answer to the above funding strategies question involves an array of strategies that require holistic and long-term investment.  Hopefully, this list offers enough options for individuals to see multiple opportunities to get engaged --actions that suit one’s heart and passion.  Please know I have only listed a few organizations for each approach and they were selected because I know the leadership or have in-depth knowledge of their effectiveness because they have been clients of my company Imagine Philanthropy.  I have given mostly examples of national or international work.  Keep in mind that you may know local organizations doing work along these strategy areas.   If you want further research on any of the items or topics listed, let me know.  My team and I will be happy to delve deeper.    

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1.     Show Up and March.  As of today, there are 29 states having marches on January 21st.  If you are moved to do so, promote the march near you and/or be a part of the masses who show up to support all women and our issues.  Women’s March on America

2.     Underwrite the Next Generation Movement Leaders.  This fight for social change and equality is long and needs diverse voices engaged and supported. CLPP

3.     Keep Female Candidates in the Game.  Hundreds of women ran for office and lost this past November.  They made it through the challenges of running and now have debt with probably no employment.  Consider helping them retire their debt or helping them get on their feet so they are ready to run again. Search for Candidate Campaign Debt

4.     Give Together and in Community.  Women’s funds across the globe fund social change and are in touch with the needs of their community and the key organizations serving women and families.  These funds, giving circles and crowdfunding sites are where we can learn together and will need to be even more deeply resourced to serve the margins of our communities.  Spark- Igniting Global Change; Global Giving; Women’s Funding Network

5.     Encourage Intergenerational Work.  The desire for conversation and connection across generations has never been stronger.  Engage with organizations that do this in their governance and/or work.   We are Ultraviolet; Ignite; Feminist.com

6.     Help Staff Up an Organization.  Provide core support and unrestricted gifts to any organization you admire.  As well, leaders and all staff need encouragement and funding for self-care, coaching and sabbaticals.  Never more than today do we need our best minds and hearts nourished, healthy and supported.  Leadership That Works; Rockland Leadership

7.     Purchase and Invest with a Gender Lens.  Think about the companies you are purchasing from or investing in and whether they have a gender lens or are doing “right” by women.  Buy Up; Equileap

8.     Engage on Policy Issues.  Safety and freedom from violence are concerns for many Americans.  Access to family planning and quality health care is on the minds of many more.  Have your state and Congressional representatives on your favorites list on your phone.  They need to hear from us frequently on issues that policy organizations alert us to.  Equal Rights AdvocatesNational Council of Jewish Women; National Women's Law Center

9.     Build Strong Girls.   Whenever I think of a young girl going through this world filled with hypersexualized media messages, I want to give her as much ‘body confidence’ as I can.  Sports and movement are critical to owning one’s body power Girls Athletic Leadership Schools; Women Win; Women's Sports Foundation; A Mighty Girl

10.  Support Artists.   Art helps us process ideas and pain as well as look at new perspectives to old and new issues.  We especially need more women artists to have a bigger platform today.  Roots to Resistance[JA1] ; WomenArts

11.  Engage with the Media.  Support organizations who are doing quality investigative reporting.  Post comments directly to media outlets about what you want them to cover.  Write your opinions with op/ed columns.  As well, encourage media literacy in our schools so the next generation learns critical thinking and questioning.  Center for Media Literacy; The Nation; Rachel Maddow

Tuti Scott, philanthropy consultant and coach, has been working in women’s rights, sports and philanthropy her entire life.  She is a second wave intersectional feminist and lifelong point guard and will play in any game that has gender equality as a goal.

Resources for Change

We know that women are key assets in building their communities and creating new pathways to a more just and sustainable world.  Investing to improve the lives of girls and women is a powerful catalyst for positive social change.  When women become economic agents and leaders, social change accelerates and returns multiply. Investing in women is a stabilizing force and actually increases the GDP of a country. Other ways to get involved can be supporting and participating in the large ecosystem of networks and organizations that engage investors, the business community and leaders in philanthropy and social justice.  See the list we have compiled of organizations for you to tap into to be informed, inspired and to mobilize for change in our world. 

 

Philanthropic Resources

Organizations Working to Increase the Number of Women on Boards and Elected Office

Nonprofits Increasing Female Entrepreneurs’ Access to Venture Capital

Investing Networks and Funds

Impact Investing Resources and Gatherings

Consumer and Corporate Activism

Feminist Reading and Resources

Publicly Available Investing Products

  • PAX World Management- Global Women’s Index Fund – Inst’l (PXWIX) Retail (PXWIEX)
  • Glenmede- Women’s Leadership Fund (GWILX)
  • BMO - Bank of Montreal Women in Leadership Fund (BMOWLDN:CN)
  • State Street Global Advisor- Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE)
  • Barclay’s- Women in Leadership ETN (WIL)

 

 

For all the girls who dream big, the 2016 Olympics delivered

Since the passage of Title IX, 44 years ago, the steady climb of success for U.S. women in international sport has risen, with the Rio Games a high mark

By: NOREEN FARRELL AND TUTI SCOTT  08.21.16

Forty-four years ago, the United States passed a law called Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, making it very clear: Every student in this country should have an equal shot to participate in sports and other educational programs that train and foster student athlete leaders. In 1998, Congress updated the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act requiring the governing agencies of each sport (i.e. USA canoe, USA judo, etc) to give athletes a leadership voice on the board and the ability to raise disputes on access and treatment.

Since then, the steady climb of success for U.S. women in international sport has risen, with the 2016 Olympics in Rio hitting a high mark. American Katie Ledecky dominated the pool. Her 11-second (and new world record setting) victory in the 800-meter freestyle was the highlight of four gold medals she won at the games. The American women’s gymnastics team captivated the world with a team gold. Emma Coburn won the USA’s first medal in the women’s steeplechase.  The women’s rowing eight won a gold medal, capping a run of victories in major international competition since 2005. The women’s basketball team took its sixth straight gold medal.  For all the girls who dream big, the 2016 Olympics in Rio has delivered.

Equally compelling at Rio 2016 have been the assumptions toppled about what women Olympic champions look like. Simone Manuel became the first black woman to win an Olympic medal in an individual swimming event when she tied with Canadian Penny Oleksiak in the 100m freestyle. Michelle Carter became the first American to win a gold medal in shot put. African-American gymnast Simone Biles became the first American woman to win the Olympic vault individual (her four gold medals include individual all-around.) Ibtihaj Muhammad was the first American to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab, while helping the U.S. win the team medal in fencing with a bronze in the sabre. And Allyson Felix has become the most decorated U.S. woman in track and field history at Rio 2016, winning nine medals over four Olympic games, including six golds.

Women competing in traditional male sports arenas such as rugby, boxing and wrestling help shift people’s gender assumptions for us all, with a nod to Helen Maroulis securing USA’s first gold medal in women’s wrestling and Clarissa Shields defending her gold medal from London.

And lest you think that Olympic glory is not an option for mothers or reserved only for the young, American cyclist Kristen Armstrong celebrated her third Olympic gold in Rio with her 5-year old son, just one day before her 43rd birthday. Kerri Walsh Jennings, mother of three, played women’s beach volleyball with fierce grit in Rio 2016, as she has for the past three Olympics. Kim Rhode takes home to her 3-year old a Rio 2016 medal in skeet shooting, which makes her the first woman to ever medal in six Olympics. These women joined seven others on the U.S. Women’s Olympic team smashing stereotypes about what women and mothers can accomplish in the most demanding of professions. In this way, the incredible achievements of women at Rio 2016 have made a fitting backdrop for a presidential election featuring the very first woman as a major political party nominee, earning herself a gold medal in “perseverance against sexism” along the way.

A host of organizations, including Equal Rights Advocates and the Women’s Sports Foundation, have fought to make opportunities possible for women and girls for over 40 years. We’ve enforced Title IX and other gender equality laws in the halls of Congress and the courts of law while promoting their spirit in the courts of public opinion. In 1976 only 21 percent of all competitors were women; in 2016, it reached 45 percent with a U.S. contingent of 292 women out of 554 total team members. We all owe deep thanks to Anita de Frantz, Donna de Varona, Billie Jean King, Donna Lopiano and many other early activists in the global women’s sports movement, without whom today’s generation of athletes would not be as well-resourced nor as dominant.

As feminists, we embrace firsts for women with mixed emotions. It does not seem possible that barriers still need to be broken after decades of legal protections in place. But they do. And we are doing it, one athletic match at a time. One presidential race at a time. One glass ceiling at a time.

Rio 2016 has captivated what the woman’s movement has accomplished and all we have yet to achieve. It has highlighted important issues still very much holding back women and girls. From the brave testimony of Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison about her coach’s sexual abuse to the incredible role being played by the United States women’s soccer team to highlight pay discrimination infecting sports and other professions, we know our work is not done. We look to the leadership of sport, still overwhelmingly male — with more than 80 percent of the 204 National Olympic Committees leadership teams being all male — as a reminder that the executive offices need to look different for women to achieve equity at all levels of sport.

As athletes ourselves and long-term advocates for women’s rights more broadly, we thank all of the women who have benefitted from Title IX and the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act who are paying it forward in ways transcending athletics. We close Rio 2016 knowing that Title IX has fostered leaders challenging gender based issues impacting all of us.  May we move ever closer to that level playing field for which so many have worked for so long.  Join the movement today — buy a girl sports equipment as a gift, tell a girl “Yes, she can” and offer encouragement for her boldness in sport activities, and make sure your school or college is compliant with Title IX.

Noreen Farrell is Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates, fighting for women’s equality since 1974.  She is always on the run for gender justice and was captain of her track and field team at Yale University.

Tuti Scott, philanthropy consultant, was co-CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation.  She is a lifelong point guard coaching others for the win and was captain of her basketball team at Ithaca College.