A Gender Equality Collective Tackles the Hierarchy of Patriarchy

By Giving List Women   |   May 20, 2024
GCfGE’s Director of Feminist Philanthropy, Khara Jabola-Carolus, works with Hawaii-local organization, Roots Reborn, to build back feminist in Lahaina post-wildfires. The Feminist By Design System centers community-driven initiatives powered by philanthropist partners toward crafting concrete solutions, not just ideas, with intersectional feminism at the forefront.

People don’t always agree on what feminism, equality, or system change is or looks like. But what can be agreed on is that women everywhere deserve better, and unless bold steps forward are taken, patriarchy will continue to define women’s lives, and women will never see progress accelerate.

The Global Center for Gender Equality (GCfGE) is a team of world-class gender experts that understands this battleground and tackles patriarchy through three main approaches: gender mainstreaming, feminist leadership, and feminist philanthropy. It is a full-service, gender equality firm that has advised on over 350 projects and programs around the world. 

Their newest philanthropic offering is a first-of-its-kind, explicitly feminist donor education program and interactive playbook for women with wealth: The Feminist by Design System. The System contributes to the rapidly evolving infrastructure to support philanthropists and develop feminist-giving strategies and portfolios.

The GCfGE began as an academic center at Stanford University and spun out into an independent collective – hiring the best in gender equality design and implementation. Their dynamic team of core staff and an expansive bench of consultants come from academia, research, government, and grassroots movements, which allows them to combine thematic, sector, and geographic expertise to meet niche needs with personalized solutions for individuals, communities, and organizations. They have senior staff based in the U.S. and internationally from Helsinki to Hawaii. The GCfGE provides technical assistance on gender equality to one of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations, as well as global public health institutions, national governments, and individual philanthropists.

Their most extensive work has been gender mainstreaming – a strategy for gender equality endorsed by the United Nations – where they enable funders to amplify their impact on gender equality in the global health and development sectors – both changing how organizations function, as well as how projects are designed, implemented, and evaluated. And they are influencing the broader development sector – making resources and tools available publicly in peer-reviewed journals, partner blogs, and gender equality toolkits.

Their feminist leadership program developed an original framework to assist governments to build capacity for a gender-equitable approach to public sector leadership. The Public Leadership for Gender Equality (PL4GE) framework is an engaging, deeply immersive, and country-contextualized experience that was delivered to Ethiopian and South African governments in partnership with major U.S. philanthropic organizations. GCfGE speaks confidently about their impact because they measure and study their results; and to expand this impact to reach as many as possible, the collective democratizes their learnings through publications – you can read more about how they are developing government capacity to develop gender equal policies in The Lancet.

GCfGE’s impact is also intimate, as they believe in living their values through a feminist workplace. All employees enjoy a four-day workweek and flexible schedules that factor in women’s disproportionate caregiving responsibilities, cultural holidays, and health needs. They are incubating the feminist organizational practices they want their partners and society at large to embrace.

Change can come from the top, but, when it does, it is often fragile and unstable without mass popularity. This is why GCfGE equally prioritizes feminist philanthropy to bolster frontline movements for gender equality. Their orientation of feminist philanthropy is comprehensive and internationalist, and led by a feminist movement leader who has been defining intersectional feminism on the ground in Asia-Pacific for two decades.  

The GCfGE feminist philanthropy team works directly with philanthropists both behind-the-scenes and in public fora. They spearheaded the development of a series of advanced gender training modules for Asia Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) – a pan-Asia network of 600+ philanthropists across 33 countries that works to increase the flow of capital towards impact in Asia. These modules aim to propel learners on transformative personal and philanthropic journeys towards mobilizing increased resources for gender equality and development. Available on the AVPN Academy learning platform, these modules provide a gateway for social investors eager to fund with a gender lens, offering practical guidance and resources to incorporate gender equality principles into their philanthropic endeavors.

The GCfGE feminist philanthropy team also works with U.S. philanthropists to implement intersectional feminist principles in their unique contexts. The GCfGE superpower lies in meeting philanthropists where they are, and building their comfort, capability, and capacity to step forward into feminism. For example, they partnered with the Monarch Foundation to support a groundbreaking program that aimed to redesign New York City Parks and leverage park commons as a means to advance gender equality and environmental justice. This project also worked to address a systemic challenge: feminist concerns have not yet risen to the mainstream in United States city planning despite momentum to redesign open space around climate change and public health. This project showcases the wide range of end-to-end services that GCfGE offers to build and manage feminist aspects within any project and across contexts.

Developed with audiences like members of The Giving List in mind, GCfGE’s latest offering is an interactive playbook that provides philanthropists with a feminist problem-solving process around a curated challenge. This product was created for feminists with wealth dedicated to reimagining philanthropy, redistributing resources in alignment with intersectional feminism, and cross pollinating with other donor groups. 

The Feminist by Design playbook is, at its heart, about impact, not ideation. For feminist analysis, CGfGE hosts the Feminist by Design podcast, available on Apple and Spotify, which considers what philanthropy and our world would look like if feminists were its architects. The series explores system change and how philanthropists can engage the most urgent topics in gender philanthropy – Middle East geopolitics, the U.S. environmental disaster response apparatus, military industrial complex, and tax reform led by philanthropists who break with their class interests.

At the Global Center for Gender Equality, they believe in a holistic, history-informed, and data-driven approach to dismantling old systems, and creating durable social change.  


Global Center for Gender Equality


At our core, we are committed to advancing gender equality by working closely with changemakers around the globe. We believe in creating and sharing knowledge while redistributing capital and power to promote gender justice.

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