Welcome to Glorious & Cash – Les Glorieuses launched this newsletter to talk about why money is power and matters for gender equality. In partnership with Women’s March Global, we’re taking this revolution worldwide. It’s written by Arièle Bonte.
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Donating money to fight Covid-19, an act of feminism? by Arièle Bonte
“COVID-19 ALERT : HELP OUR MEDICAL STAFF. Show your support for the Hospitals of Paris- Hospitals of France foundation and give 5€ by replying DONATE to this text.” I received this text message on Tuesday 31 March at exactly 11:48am.
Since the global pandemic that is Covid-19 condemned most of the French population to staying at home, calls for donations are growing in number. From the Fondation de France to the Institut Pasteur and from the AP-HP (Public Assistance of Paris Hospitals) to hospital establishments of other regions…such calls are impossible to avoid. In fact, there is such a lack of funding in the health sector that we don’t know where to start. Even the minister of Public Action and Accounts, Gérald Darmanin, is getting involved, launching “a call for national solidarity” in the fight against the coronavirus, aimed at the wealthiest French citizens and published in the Figaro on 31 March.
This “coronathon” has stirred
up a lot of controversy. But that’s not the point. Because, yes, this show of solidarity is essential when you think of the conditions medical staff are currently working in, and to what extent we are behind when it comes to the scientific research that will help us fight the Covid-19 pandemic. But part of me can’t help but grind my teeth: why is it up to us, the citizens, to put this money on the table?
Tell me more.
Research into philanthropy and donation shows that women are more likely to donate than men. In 2015, 53% of donations in France were made by women and 64% in the United States. Problem: while women are more generous than men, they still generally earn less money than men do. So are inequality and gender bias now
to be found in generosity?
“Women are more generous in number, but when it comes to the value of donations it’s likely that men give more,” says Antoine Vaccaro, sociologist, philanthropy specialist and president of CerPhi (centre of research for philanthropy). “However, it’s also worth noting that in their wills, women– often widows– leave part of their fortunes to foundations or associations.” Therefore, if we look at the global and post-humous generosity of the French population, women effectively give more than men.
Why is this?
Pragmatic in his explanation, the sociologist notes that women have a higher life expectancy. This means that widows are the ones to decide where the family money will go after their death. He adds that there is a “sacrificial element to donations: giving to ward off the evil that scares us.” These are donations to causes far-removed from our own lives but to which we feel connected by our humanity. There is another reason for this sort of generosity: a sense of affinity with the victim. We donate to the fight against cancer, illnesses, anything that affects others but that could affect us, too. There is something very empathetic about this kind of
Remember that the youtuber and development coach Esther Taillifet spoke of this sense of sacrifice expected of women in the previous newsletter. An American study published in 2011 in the International Journal of Nonprofit also suggests that if women give more, it’s because they show more empathy. It’s this character trait, inherent to education, that translates as a higher sensitivity to the different
causes supported by foundations and associations .
“It’s the feeling of shock created by an event that pushes people to come together by donating or volunteering,” explains Antoine Vaccaro. The sociologist observes that for every great moment of history there are fundraising records. ‘What we’re living today is the most staggering occurrence since World War 2,” he says. “People come to the conclusion that we need research, we need a vaccine, but these are speculative notions,” says the sociologist when explaining why the French donate money in aid of this health crisis. “As for those who give to the people fighting the crisis, whom we call “minimum wage workers”, I think they do so out of a sense of admiration and recognition for these people and their work, who aren’t being acknowledged by the government.” Are these donations
therefore political actions?
In any case, for Antoine Vaccaro, there’s no doubt about it: “Today, we are in a state of urgency. We must support medical staff psychologically, do what we can to get by and later, we’ll look at the political debate. But we can already see that it is majoritarily women who are on the front lines. During this war, their role is being revaluated.”
While in the research sector they are few and far between, women are the ones who will benefit from most of the donations being used to improve living conditions of hospital staff. If there’s a feminist act to carry out today, it’s this one: let’s give money to these women we call “minimum wage workers” but who have the biggest impact on society. As for their poor salaries? When this
is all over such disparity must be disputed, over and over again.
Bad news: the equal sharing of household duties between heterosexual couples is a long way off, according to this article on Slate. But the good news is, on 2 April a new app made its way onto the market. It’s called Maydée, was founded by Julie Hebting and offers to help couples notice the inequalities in the division of their household tasks and then to rectify the situation. Free sign-up and more information available on the website.
“Host and engage in long-distance collective moments”, “Adapting training programmes to remote learning,” and “The position and skills of the remote manager”…These are the names of several training courses available in the next few days to help businesses stay the course during the lockdown period. Courses are listed by Maddyness and regularly updated in this article.
Many professions are experiencing financial hardship due to the health crisis and lockdown. Among these are sex workers. To help them, the Syndicat du Travail Sexual (Strass) has opened a Leetchi fund, which has already raised over 20.000 euros.
Notebook « The feminist revolution starts here »
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Arièle Bonte is a French journalist specialized in equality, gender and sexuality. For three years she was leading RTL Girls, for RTL.fr. Today she’s an independent journalist but she still has the same goal: spread the news through the gender prism. She also wrote a novel « Le Chaos des décibels » (Librinova), and she’s the author of the newsletter « Spell it out » about modern witchcraft. Her dream is to meet Lana Del Rey, to travel around the world and to have a green thumb.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR PARTNER
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