Gender lens in philanthrophy sought as women hardest hit by COVID-19


The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has spared few Australians but evidence shows women have borne the brunt of job losses in addition to housework and helping children with remote learning. 

Recovery plans initiated by the philanthropic sector need to apply a gender lens or risk failing women further according to former Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, who now leads Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative. 

“If we are to achieve the best possible start to life for children, we must design an early childhood system that works for women who, for the most part, continue to shoulder the majority of caring responsibilities,” he said 

Weatherill is set to join leading Board director, Sam Mostyn, and author and journalist, Catherine Fox, in conversation at the 2020 Virtual Annual Gender-wise Event presented by the Australian Women Donors Network. 

Introducing the “Australians Investing in Women” 

Meanwhile, leading advocates for gender-wise philanthropy, the Australian Women Donors Network, announces that they will be renaming themselves as Australians Investing in Women. This communicates that the organisation seeks to ensure more Australians have an intentional focus on women and girls in their giving. 

“For more than a decade, the Australian Women Donors Network has advocated for increased investment in women and girls, and for a gender lens across philanthropy, but our name hasn’t accurately expressed who we are or what we do…. and, perhaps it’s confused some people into thinking we only want women to invest in women and girls,” said Julie Reilly, CEO of Australian Women Donors Network.  

“Our new name is purposely aimed at inviting all Australians, particularly corporates, to increase their philanthropic funding for women and girls to deliver greater gender equality and a better world for all, she said.  

Established in 2009, the Australian Women Donors Network was a leading advocate for gender-wise philanthropy. It takes an evidence-based approach and works in partnership with philanthropic, corporate and community leaders to strengthen society by catalysing investment in women and girls. 

“Investing in women and girls, advocating and educating to ensure that their needs and circumstances are central to the philanthropic practice, has never been more important. Indeed, the events of 2020 have amplified the need and urgency of this work,” Reilly said. 

The organisation will also change its tagline from “Women donors investing in women and girls” to “Empowering giving for a fairer future”. 

Australian Women Donors Network Chair Sam Mostyn, says this represents the organisation’s long-term vision. 

“With our new name, we want to invite all funders and social investors across the country who believe in the importance of empowering women and girls to join us in ensuring a strategic focus on women and girls in the practice of philanthropy and social investment,” Mostyn said. 

 “If we are to achieve gender equality we will need to pull every lever; being more intentional about bringing women into focus supports smart investment decisions. Philanthropic dollars are limited; it is investments in women and girls that bring the greatest opportunity for social change,” she said.