Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Equity -Friday Insights (26 Apr)

26 April 2019

A shorter Friday insights for a short week to help us all ease back in after the Easter break!

This week, Big Change Impact Manager Caitlin Ross has been reading:

  • New research from Impetus, which puts another nail in the coffin of our meritocracy myth
  • Blagrave Trust’s writing about shifting power dynamics in funding
  • And all about girls who just wanna – be able to do all the things that boys do

Youth Jobs Gap

New research by Impetus released this week revealed some dismal statistics on the state of socioeconomic status’ long term impact on young people’s academic opportunities and job prospects.

The report, written in partnership with the National Institute on Social and Economic Research, found that while levels of qualification have been improving over time for both disadvantaged and advantaged young people, disadvantaged young people are still twice as likely to be NEET (not in education, employment or training) than their better-off peers.

Even more shocking is the finding that “even when they have similar qualifications, disadvantaged young people are 50% more likely to be out of education and employment than their better-off peers as young adults.”

Qualifications alone don’t solve the inequity we see in many young people’s futures – we need holistic solutions that remove the barriers that block their ability to thrive no matter what background they come from.

Shifting the balance of power in grant-making

In the latest blog series from Blagrave Trust and Lankelly Chase Foundation on shifting power dynamics in grant-making, Max Rutherford, Head of Policy at the Association of Charitable Foundations,seeks to answer a very important question: ‘What does it mean to be an integral part of civil society, with our own charitable mission, when our organisation’s wealth can create a power imbalance between us and those we support?’

In summary, he suggests the following:

  • Push for diversity and inclusion – this means pushing D&I on our boards (99% of charity board members are white, 67% are male and 60% are over 60), and also inclusion in our grantmaking process
    • This can mean seeking feedback from applicants, or making sure applicants state how their services will be shaped by service users or those with lived experience
  • Being transparent about grants data – several platforms to help grantmakers do this have become available, including the UK’s own 360Giving, which has over 100 grantmaker signups already and makes grant data open and searchable by the public
  • Being intentional about everything we do – aligning not just our grants to our mission, but also our investment choices, supply chains, independence, voice, access to decision-makers and networks

Work to recognise and redistribute power, like that being done by Blagrave and Lankelly Chase, gives us a lot of food for thought. We pride ourselves on being open, transparent and accessible to our project partners and grant applicants and operationalising their feedback, but we can always strive to learn and do better.

Girls just wanna have fundamental equity

Ahead of the release of their Future Girl manifesto, Girlguides surveyed 76,000 young women and girls aged 4 to 25 about the state of being a girl today. When asked the most unfair thing about being a girl, 83% of respondents replied with being treated differently to boys, and 65% cited prejudice against women in jobs or careers. Other top concerns among the girls in different age groups were the unfair representation of women in media, being able to play whatever sport they want, gender stereotypes and bullying.

Education and learning has a big role to play in helping all young people thrive in life – no matter what gender they identify with. In our inclusion as strength funding stream, we look to back big ideas to help make our wider education system into one where no young person faces barriers to thriving due to their background or identity. The Future Girl manifesto is as true for girls as it is for young people from other underserved or underrepresented groups: “Girls want an equal world”, it states. “They want an end to the gender stereotypes that limit their choices and ambitions. No subject at school or career path should feel out of reach to girls. They will champion equality throughout society, at local and national levels.”