Women Standing for Women to End Gender-Based Violence
As part of PSI’s series for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, philanthropist and entrepreneur Marcia Cardamore explains what role philanthropists must play.
By Marcia Cardamore, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur
Am I a new kind of philanthropist? Probably not. But I am part of a zeitgeist of women who are empowered with a sense of agency, purpose, significant resources and talent, willing to take risks and make big commitments to address the rising tide of violence against women and girls.
Women and girls are the key to ending extreme poverty and building our future families, communities and nations. However, many women are at the bottom of the pyramid of economic and personal agency throughout much of the world. They often experience violence and social injustice that leaves them powerless over their own lives and those of their children. I see a future where women are safe, have access to health and education, and are empowered to choose the best life possible. I am an optimist about this future and believe we can all play a greater part in creating it.
A healthy and safe woman can more easily focus on her education or sustaining a livelihood. One who lives without fear has a higher chance of correcting course if the hand she’s been dealt is less than favorable. When she is able to control her reproductive biology and determine the timing, number and spacing of her children — as well as be free of violence — she can begin to take full advantage of access to education, training and employment that will help raise her, her children and community out of poverty.
I firmly believe that there is no greater imperative facing the world today than the alleviation of pain, suffering and persecution of women and girls.
I firmly believe that there is no greater imperative facing the world today than the alleviation of pain, suffering and persecution of women and girls. This can be achieved with greater inclusion of women within the global community as leaders who can help heal the world. As a successful entrepreneur, my philanthropy is profoundly influenced by my lifetime of business and academic knowledge, experience and leadership. I have intentionally committed to putting my newfound wealth to work facilitating and championing others to ensure women receive access to reproductive and maternal health care and support for violence and rape.
Everything I fund focuses on women and girls and has three requirements: 1) a high probability of positive systemic change; 2) addresses gender-based violence; and 3) offers opportunities for leverage such that my money, skills and experience result in greater funding and resources to ensure a scalable and sustainable positive impact. Without these criteria being met; I will not fund. To do so would undermine the goal of deploying finite resources for infinite good.
Central to maximizing the impact of my time, talent, treasure and touch is collaboration with expert partners; seed investment for proof of concept; and leveraging other institutional investors to yield a synergistic, sustainable solution for exponential return on investment. In other words: a big impact.
By partnering with PSI, an established and effective global organization that values the lives and futures of women and girls and has proven strategies, initiatives, innovations and partnerships, my funds and personal engagement can be instrumental in proof of concept work. Currently my focus is the piloting of social franchising health clinics in Honduras. In addition to providing reproductive and maternal health care the clinics will screen and treat women who have experienced domestic violence.
I, like so many of my peers, am motivated by love not legacy. I pin my hopes of making the change I want to see in the world on highly intentional giving and partners like PSI.
December 2, 2015