Wiring women – Fund links women to Internet

The only women’s fund in the U.S. that supports women’s issues overseas is giving women around the world access to media and technology, The Business Journal reports.

“Thousands of Internet hookups all over the world are facilitated by $1,000 and $3,000 funding grants because women’s groups know breaking the isolation is the first thing they need,” executive director Kavita Ramdas told the Journal.

The Global Fund for Women also used e-mail alerts to prevent Pakistan from revoking nonprofit status for women’s groups. The groups were threatened because counter to the Islamic model, they promoted women’s participation in public life, the Business Journal reports.

“We sent letters to the World Bank asking them to make it clear to the Pakistani government if they ban these women, their bank loan would not go through. We were able to bring external pressure to bear,” Ramdas told the Journal.

Since Ramdas has taken the helm from founder Anne Firth Murray three and a half years ago, the fund has almost tripled, going from $1.2 million in 1997 to $3.4 million this year.

The Global Fund for Women only offers grants to groups of women, not individuals, with the capacity to make lasting change in their communities. Once a grant is made, groups are trusted to use the money as they see fit, the Business Journal reports.

The 13-year old fund educates girls in poor regions of Africa, supports women’s religious and cultural rights in Islamic nations, enables women’s political participation in Pakistan and helps curb domestic violence in China, the Business Journal says.

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