There has been a ton of discussion on my blog post Fundraising Is Female: Thoughts on #AFPIWDfail and over on Twitter. I am super inspired by everyone who is stepping up, speaking out, and organizing. We have so much work to do on gender equity and it’s wonderful to know that there are so many others out there ready to do this work.
Here are some of the responses and critiques of AFP’s articles and actions to highlight how our community is responding.
From Mazarine Treyz @WildWomanFund
“Reverse Sexism in Fundraising is Not a Thing, Sorry” is the title of this article. Mazarine aptly notes, “This little snafu is more than an isolated issue. This is indicative of a much larger issue.” EXACTLY. This is certainly not an issue unique to fundraising or even the non-profit sector. Women in all fields are dealing with this. What is transpiring in our fundraising world is just a microcosm of the bigger issue.
From Beth Ann Locke @FundraiserBeth
Beth Ann breaks down three major issues in this article and its timing. She hits the nail on the head when she writes, “In addition, the way this article is written feeds into some issues of power and privilege without addressing them – the same issues that some that our nonprofits are fighting against!”
From Frances Roen @fdroen
“Designing New: Thanks #AFPHI” is the title of Frances’s post. I appreciate that she uses design thinking to consider how we can move forward and beyond AFP. It’s true that this is an opportunity for big thinking.
From Gail Picco @GailPicco
“Why AFP Needs to be Kicked to the Curb.” Gail gets into some of the hard numbers of gender inequality in our sector, and questions why AFP is not showing leadership on these issues. I particularly appreciated this insight, “Because AFP clearly doesn’t consider “mankind” their business. Or that fundraisers be directed by a moral compass beyond the transactional ethics raising of money.”
And Non-Profit Pro stepped up and covered what’s been happening. It makes me really happy to see industry publications stepping up to cover real issues for our sector like this. I know that there is not a ton of value of people continuing to just bash AFP, but this is a real moment for us. A real moment to reflect and make some substantial changes. I hope that Nonprofit Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy will step up, even if not to cover this issue then to cover content related to Women’s History Month.
Today I also hosted the first #FundraisingIsFemale chat to discuss what’s happening with AFP and how we as a community can come together. We using hashtag #FIFchat if you want to join us next Wednesday, March 22 at 12 pm Pacific.
And to make sure you have access to more points of view, here are AFP’s official responses to this matter.
AFP’s press release apology on March 8th
AFP’s President’s blog post about Women’s History Month
Finally, I want to acknowledge that this is not the first time that our community is talking about gender equality. In fact, here are some other great articles that you might want to read.
From SOFII.org: It’s just not fair!
This article comes from a speech given at SOFII’s conference last fall that honestly sounds amazing. Now, SOFII.org is committed to publishing content that pushes the boundaries for gender equality. I love that!
Over on The Agitators: Stop Driving Women Out of Fundraising
This is based on an article originally published by Mary Cahalane as well as the report called “UnderDeveloped.” It provides some great, practical suggestion that organizations can implement to support gender equality.
From Fundraising 101: Men in Fundraising: We have a problem, and it’s you.
I love that this article is based on community research based in the UK. It’s a great example of community listening.
Have you seen other articles that should be included here? Leave a link in the comments below!
Jen Pederson says
I appreciate, both as a feminist woman in the fundraising profession, and as a chapter leader who has been involved with AFP for several years, you making the point that “there is not a ton of value in people continuing to just bash AFP.” Publishing the article was a mistake. Absolutely it was a mistake.
I also know that the leadership development, training, mentorship, and encouragement that I have received through AFP has been absolutely invaluable to me as a professional and as a person. If the goal is “if you can see it, you can be it” then as an AFP volunteer, I have seen incredible women in the highest roles of both the AFP board of directors and the boards of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy Canada who have inspired me and thousands of other women in fundraising – volunteers like Andrea McManus, Leah Eustace, Ann Hale – incredible people who have done so much to build the profession and the sector. I hope their contributions are not discounted because of a really lousy comms decision.
AFP and the sector at large needs to have the ability to debate and have tough conversations. I appreciate the spark you’re bringing to this conversation and look forward to being a part of it.
I’ve been reading your site and newsletter for a few months now and I just wanted to say, as a man working in non-profit fundraising, how much I appreciated your response/takedown of that ridiculous AFP article.
The whole thing seemed to be predicated on a total misunderstanding of diversity and equity. As you clearly lay out, diversity is not useful for its own sake, but because it’s important to reflect and incorporate the attitudes and opinions and knowledges of people who have been systemically and systematically kept out of positions of power. To lament that young men might feel uncomfortable working in a primarily female space and have trouble finding a post-work beer buddy is to absolutely erase the legitimate and real problems facing women. Among those actual problems are sexist HR policies that often make people choose between work and childcare, the gender pay gap, and the covert and overt sexism that women face in the workplace from supposedly disenfranchised men. Drawing any sort of equivalence between those real problems and a man’s possible discomfort isn’t just laughable, it’s dangerous.
As a (white, hetero, cis, and able-bodied) man who works in a team of seven women, I’d also like to throw in the fact that I literally and figuratively take up more space than my colleagues. My suggestions and feedback are typically treated with greater weight. When I work with clients or people in other departments, I never have to convince them of my legitimacy in the way that I often see my female colleagues have to. I’m cognizant of these factors, actively try to disrupt them, and I still screw up sometimes – the last thing a man in my position needs is to feel like he’s somehow suffering from discrimination when in fact he’s benefitting from a massive network of quiet privilege.
So, thank you again for taking a vocal stand against that article and the thinking that went into it. As you said, it will probably hurt your subscription numbers, but speaking an unpopular truth is worth the consequences. And, I know this is nominal, but I’m going to share your site with my team today and other people who I think would benefit from it. If this ordeal makes you lose some readers, I want to make sure it helps you gain some as well.
Thank you, and keep up the good work,
Frances Roen says
I love reading the different perspectives and thought processes in the posts above, as well as in the comments. Conversation is the first step in solving the challenges that are being identified. Let’s keep listening! Look forward to the next #FIFchat.
Rodgers Willmena says
This “controversy” is a joke.
I’d like to see Vanessa writing about how unfair it is that women’s health care charities focus on women’s health, when women, on average, live 3 years longer than men. Shouldn’t we try to even that out? Focus on men’s health?
Or how about the fact that 95% of people who die on battlefields are men? Shouldn’t we be trying to get more women to step up to defend our country, with their lives, if necessary?
Or, what about the fact that 60% of currently matriculating college students are female? Shouldn’t we stop admitting so many women and start getting more men into college?
These manufactured gender bias issues are nothing more than canards. While we’re sitting around boo-hooing, there are people at our organizations actually out there DOING WORK. That’s what we should be doing.
Vanessa Chase Lockshin says
While I appreciate you taking the time to read what I’ve written, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this.