Less than 2% of the grant money coming into the country’s charity sector has been given to women’s sector services according to the shocking report from Rosa recently published. 

It would seem that the apparent drive to address systemic inequality for women and girls, under the spotlight since the pandemic, is failing miserably. 

WRC’s research into 2020 figures painted an equally dismal figure of less than 3% of London grants going into our sector. 

These findings showing that a pathetic slice of the pie is going to 50% of the population are staggering, especially when according to any research you care to look at, it’s women and girls at the sharp end of poverty during the cost-of-living crisis, not to mention the failure for over 50 years to implement equal pay legislation. 

It begs the question; what has to happen for those in a position to change this, to act and to address the disproportionality within funding? 

A quick glimpse of many funders’ criteria reveals that women are rarely mentioned as a priority for funds. One of the biggest funders to charities the renamed National Lottery Community Fund doesn’t even have a women and girls focussed fund and from what we hear has no intentions of creating one. Another funder we hear has millions unspent in their grant-making, part of the missing millions to women and girls organisations I wonder. 

The research is overwhelming in painting a clear and dismal picture of what can only be described as sexist grant-making. 

Whilst women are struggling to feed their children, pay the rent, or even secure somewhere safe to live, the very organisations that provide vital safety nets are themselves starved of resources. We know that women are the backbone of families, communities and society, so stop short-changing us, start supporting us. 

This situation is unacceptable, unfair and discriminatory. It needs addressing urgently and swiftly by establishing ringfenced women and girls funds for women and girls organisations, not the generics who we know don’t cut the mustard. 

All the evidence WRC and many others gather continually consistently and comprehensively (such as in the Hearing Women’s Voices Report, 2018) repeats women’s need for women and culturally specific provision by expert empathetic experienced women’s organisations. 

Let’s not forget that this sustained decimation of the women’s sector leaves women and their children without a safety net; missing out on the practical and emotional support needed to survive (some do not) disproportionate impoverishment and violence.  

If you are someone working in the grant-making sector, we implore you to take a good look at what you are doing and ask yourself, ‘Why women?’. Why are you forsaking us? 

Vivienne Hayes, CEO