Google it will donate $25 million in grants to fund the work of nonprofits and social enterprises which work to empower women and girls. The funds will be awarded through the company foundation Google.org’s program Impact Challenge. Google made the announcement today, International Women’s Day.
The Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls states that it will fund organizations creating pathways to prosperity for women and girls. It is an open call for applications. Selected charitable initiatives will receive up to $2 million, as well as opportunities for mentorship and additional support from Google.
US Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman Shakira will be among the judges.
Google.Org states that the decision to do so was motivated by the problem of gender inequity. It explains that the COVID-19 pandemic has put the economic future of women and girls at even greater risk. In a statement the organization said that, “we believe that solving big problems requires collective action, and the people closest to the challenges are often those closest to the solution.”
Google.Org declares its mission to be to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges, “combining funding, innovation, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone.”
“We want to support organizations helping women and girls turn their economic potential into power,” added google.Org. It plans to do so with programs addressing systemic barriers to economic equality, and those cultivating entrepreneurship, developing financial independence, and more.
Jacquelline Fuller, President, Google.org, said, “Since I started working in philanthropy over 20 years ago, I’ve seen women and girls around the world reach new heights and was thrilled when the United Nations made ‘gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls’ one of its Sustainable Development Goals back in 2015. Still, women and men remain on unequal footing — and these inequalities have worsened in the wake of COVID-19.
Fuller points out that around the world women are almost twice as likely to lose their jobs as a result of COVID-19. In the U.S. alone women have lost over 5.4 million jobs, accounting for 55% of all 2020 net job losses. Women are also shouldering a disproportionate amount of unpaid domestic work, and an estimated 20 million girls around the world are at risk of not returning to school. Job cuts, income loss and lack of access to education, stresses Fuller, will prevent the economic advancement of women and girls, particularly those from underserved communities, for generations to come.