The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio is committed to creating social change for women and girls. So what does that mean?
According to Theo Spanos Dunfey, President and Executive Director of Global Citizens Circle, social change is defined as “[c]hanges in human interactions and relationships that transform cultural and social institutions.” When we talk about social change, we often focus on long-term solutions that would affect women and girls at a broader level. But social change can also happen quickly and within a narrower scope.
What does social change look like?
Lasting social change can take generations, but there are many small wins along the way. At The Women’s Fund, we celebrate progress big and small. Here are a few recent examples of what social change can look like:
Ending harmful gender bias
Based on our 2016 research report, we created Gender By Us, an innovative training program designed to disrupt gender bias. Participants identify bias in their daily lives and steps they can take to end it. Taking on bias one person at a time can add up to big social changes as we all push for equity in our daily lives.
investing in women of color
Organizations led by and for women of color face extraordinary barriers to funding due to the intersection of racism and sexism. Through the Enduring Progress Initiative, The Women’s Fund is making unrestricted investments of $50,000 in these organizations. No matter the metrics or the outcomes of these investments, social change happens every time we go against the status quo and say, “We’re doing this differently.”
raising the childcare access threshold
In 2017, we set an ambitious goal to raise the threshold for accessing childcare benefits to 140% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL). We created a research briefing, grew public awareness of the issue, and invested over $130,000 in organizations fighting for childcare access. As a result, the threshold was increased to 142% of the FPL in the state budget. Our policy partners and many supporters made this huge win possible.
what makes social change possible?
Social change is made possible by people like you. Throughout history, movements were built and progress was made by millions of committed individuals coming together and demanding change. The Women’s Fund is no different. Our movement is made possible by the many individuals who believe that gender equity is long overdue and invest in our mission to make it a reality.
How social change is measured
Measuring social change is often more qualitative than quantitative but no less impactful. In fact, it’s groundbreaking. We measure the impact of our work through the Five Shifts of Social Change:
shift in definition
The issue is defined differently in the community or larger society.
Example: The #MeToo movement changed how people think about assault and harassment by redefining survivors as people in all walks of life.
shift in engagement
Individuals become more engaged in the issue.
Example: The 2017 Women’s Marches got millions of women across the country engaged in the fight for gender equity.
shift in behavior
Individuals and communities start acting differently due to increased understanding and engagement.
Example: After participating in Gender By Us, a colleague equitably distributes office tasks that were often assigned to women, like taking notes or cleaning up after a meeting.
shift in policy
An institutional, organizational, or legislative policy has changed.
Example: Many companies have changed their policies to provide paid parental and family leave to help employees care for their families without jeopardizing their economic well-being. We continue advocating for similar legislative wins.
Holding the line
Earlier progress on the issue is maintained in the face of opposition.
Example: The COVID-19 pandemic threatened advances for women on issues like equal pay, child care, the wealth gap, and more. That’s why we continued to advocate for action on these pressing challenges to avoid losing hard-earned progress.