Lunch & Learn n°39
Thursday, December 10th 2020
Philanthropy, a path to empowerment for women?
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, MacKenzie Bezos, Oprah Winfrey – there are many women philanthropists but they are often not as well-known as their male counterparts. Yet, as historical scholarship has shown, the role of women in philanthropy has always been key and has given them the opportunity to play a role in the public sphere, at a time when they were usually confined to the private sphere and excluded from political arenas. One can note that the development of reform philanthropy in the 19th century was concomitant with the feminist movements. However, some works consider that philanthropy, far from being a vector of emancipation for women, is on the contrary a way to put limits to their demands. These works, proposing intersectional approaches, offer to analyze together the double domination of gender and class. If we will take a cross-cutting interest in women's philanthropy (Who are these women philanthropists? What are the characteristics of women’s philanthropy? How does it differ - if at all - from men’s philanthropy? etc.), we propose to frame the debate in a political science perspective in order to think about philanthropy through the prism of gender. Is philanthropy a path to women empowerment? Does it promote or does it go against women's mobilizations to their cause? Is it a means for women to change society, to challenge established norms, and even their own status?
Kathleen D. McCarthy, Director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, Professor of History at The Graduate Center - City University of New York, USA;
Florencia Roitstein, Director of the project ELLAS-Mujeres y Filantropía, Professor at the University of San Andrés, Argentina.