Skip to main content

Open Society’s Commitment to Feminist Leadership

A group of women holding a banner
Care workers rally against proposed cuts to their hours in Birmingham, England, on September 12, 2018. © Guy Smallman/eyevine/Redux

From Afghan women bravely protesting Taliban rule in Kabul, to women organizing marches across the United States for abortion rights, feminist leaders are pushing back on the stigmatizing narratives and discriminatory treatment that prevents their full and equal participation in public, political, and economic life. At the Open Society Foundations, we believe inclusive, vibrant democracies cannot succeed without robust feminist leadership. And it is feminist leaders who are on the frontlines of the resistance to the alarming tide of nationalism, populism, and religious fundamentalism across the globe.

This increasing authoritarianism, combined with the recognition of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women, demands a robust response. Earlier this year, together with our philanthropic partners, Open Society took a bold but urgent step to increase our efforts, investing $100 million to advance transformative feminist political leadership, including supporting more women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people in positions of leadership in politics and governance.

We made this announcement this summer at the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth and civil society.

To that end, our investments reflect a multifaceted effort to tackle these challenges, enable women and girls to take on leadership responsibilities, and mobilize communities for progressive political change.

Highlights of our investments include:

Going forward, we are working to deliver on our remaining commitments in 2022 and beyond, including:

  • Strengthening feminist leadership in peace and security, with a priority on Afghan women and girls.
  • Strengthening the architecture and accountability mechanisms of the Generation Equality Forum, and ensuring that intersectional feminist organizations have a seat at the table to hold the Generation Equality Forum leaders accountable.
  • Developing and sustaining a cadre of transformative feminist leaders in politics and governance, and increasing women’s access to decision-making roles in government and politics. We will be prioritizing Black/Afro-descendant people, people with disabilities, and indigenous people, seeking to ensure that they have the skills to succeed in their political ambitions.

The Open Society Foundations remain dedicated to advancing gender equality across the globe at the national, regional, and global levels. We are excited to work in partnership with global women’s rights and feminist organizations to deliver on our Generation Equality Forum commitment and look to them as our key allies in our fight to secure intersectional justice, advance equity, and promote expression around the world. 

Read more

Subscribe to updates about Open Society’s work around the world

By entering your email address and clicking “Submit,” you agree to receive updates from the Open Society Foundations about our work. To learn more about how we use and protect your personal data, please view our privacy policy.