Anne Firth Murray – USA and New Zealand

Linked with Global Fund for Women: on December 2006, and on September 2007.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Anne Firth Murray, a New Zealander, was educated at the University of California and New York University in economics, political science, and public administration, with a focus on international health policy and women’s reproductive health. She has worked at the United Nations as a writer, taught in Hong Kong and Singapore, and spent several years as an editor with Oxford, Stanford, and Yale University presses … Currently, she is a scholar/activist at the Union Institute and a Consulting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University … (full text, on her website at Stanford).

Anne Firth Murray, a New Zealander, is the Founding President of The Global Fund for Women,  which provides funds internationally to seed, strengthen and link groups committed to women’s well being … For the past 25 years she has worked in the field of philanthropy, serving as a consultant to many  foundations. Between 1978 and 1987, she directed the environment and international population  programmes of the Hewlett Foundation in California.  She is currently a scholar/activist at the Union Institute and a Consulting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University. Ms Murray serves on several boards and councils of non-profit organisations, including the African  Women’s Development Fund, Commonwealth, GRACE (a group working on HIV/AIDS in East Africa),  Hesperian Foundation, and UNNITI (a women’s foundation in India) … (full text, Aug. 21, 2006).

Watch her video: Authors – Google Anne Firth Murray, 48.58 min, added March 27, 2007.

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Anne Firth Murray – USA and New Zealand

She works for The Global Fund for Women (in 8 languages).

She says: “I came to understand that ‘what’ we do in our lives is important, but that ‘the way we do our work’ is even more important in transforming our world”. (1000peacewomen).

… “For the past twenty-five years, she has worked in the field of philanthropy, serving as a consultant to many foundations. From 1978 to the end of 1987, she directed the environment and international population programs of the Hewlett Foundation in California. Ms. Murray serves on several boards and councils of non-profit organizations, including the African Women’s Development Fund, Commonweal, GRACE (a group working on HIV/AIDS in East Africa), Hesperian Foundation, and UNNITI (a women’s foundation in India). She is the recipient of many awards and honors for her work on women’s health and philanthropy, and in 2005 she was nominated as one of a group of 1,000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize” … (full text).

Some acticles:

Her book: From Outrage to Courage: The Unjust and Unhealthy Situation of Women in Poor Countries and What They are Doing About It: From sex-selective abortions to millions of girls who are “disappeared,” from 90 million girls who do not go to school to HIV/AIDS spreading fastest among adolescent girls, women face unique health challenges, writes Anne Firth Murray. In this searing cradle-to-grave review, Murray tackles health issues from prenatal care to challenges faced by aging women. Looking at how gender inequality affects basic nutrition, Murray makes clear the issues are political more than they are medical. In an inspiring look, From Outrage to Courage shows how women are organizing the world over. Women’s courage to transform their situations and communities provides inspiration and models for change. From China to India, from Indonesia to Kenya, Anne Firth Murray takes readers on a whirlwind tour of devastation-and resistance. (allStarBooks).

Find her and her publications on amazon; on in history books on biz rate; on ; on Google Video-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

She says also: … “We are in a dire situation in the world. We really need to listen and learn from other people and we need to step back and be kind, compassionate, and generous. There is nothing new in the world about this, but we aren’t practicing it enough. We might feel that if we do practice this, we are going to be called weak or miserable; but we aren’t, we are going to be called strong.”  (full text).

… Some events, especially those at the global level, seem insurmountable – poverty, injustice, and environmental degradation, for example. And even in our local communities, we seem beset with problems – destructive behavior, a lack education in the arts, cruelty to animals – that may make us feel upset. Such shock or sadness about the state of the world or even everyday problems signals our recognition that things can be otherwise. Differences can be made. Hope persists. Recognizing a problem and feeling that things can change is the beginning of change itself. If you have had this experience, you can be part of the change; you can dream and develop a vision and a plan of action. Gandhi wrote that “we must be the change we wish to see,” and I agree. He meant, I think, that we must embody the change itself, but I would add that we must dare to dream of change for the sake of the world. In this short article, I would like to share with you how I came to believe this idea. I hope the story will be helpful to you as you address issues that upset and concern you in your community and in the world … (full text).

(1000peacewomen): … In 1987, Anne Firth Murray saw a need and had an idea. The world needed an organization that would link caring donors with activist women around the world, dedicated to ensuring uman rights for women. Her driving belief was that when women were empowered to address violence and injustice at a local level there would be an international impact. Today, the Global Fund for Women has become the largest foundation in the world focused exclusively on women and girls, granting more than $35 million to approximately 2500 women’s groups in 180 countries.

In 1987, Anne Firth Murray was in Nigeria, evaluating some donors’ work with family planning clinics. Three women called her and asked to meet her, explaining that they had an idea for change that needed support. She met with the women late into the night and learned of their vision for an organization that would help street women to address the issue of violence against women and women’s access to paid employment. The women were looking for a small grant, perhaps $1,000 or $2,000, and they wondered if Anne could direct them to a likely source.

Anne was familiar with the foundation world, and she knew some people that she thought might be able to donate. But making the connection between this grassroots group and the larger funders was complicated. In her travels at that time, she met many small women’s groups that were determined to make change within their communities.

This was one of the triggers that led Anne to conceive of the idea of creating an organization that would link caring donors with activist women around the world.

A few months later, after hearing Anne explain her idea, Dame Nita Barrow, who had been the convenor of the non-governmental conference of women in Nairobi in 1958, said, “Anne, let me understand this clearly: you want to raise money to give it away to women for them to do what they want to do and not what the donors tell them to do. Is that right?” “Yes, that is exactly the idea,” Anne replied. Nita said: “If you do this, if you create this fund, it will be important to women. And I would like to be part of it.”

This was one of the early moments in the life of the Global Fund for Women. Nita joined the founding board of the organization that day in 1987. Encouraged and supported by many other people, Anne began in 1987 to build an organization that grew over the years to support thousands of women’s groups around the world, groups that focussed on the basic rights of women to be free from violence, to have access to education and other basic services, and to seek justice and peace.

Anne describes her vision and its reality: “I’m a person who had a dream and was lucky enough to make that dream a reality – a dream of a worldwide network of women who would be both givers and receivers.
A dream of an organization that would be open, curious, inclusive and trusting. A generous organization, that would work evenhandedly with women’s groups around the world, with donors and volunteers, with staff and with others who joined our path.”

Since 1987, the Global Fund has given more than $35 million to more than 2500 women’s groups in some 180 countries, enabling each organization to apply the funds to best address the specific needs of women in their communities.

A New Zealander, Anne was educated at the University of California and New York University in economics, public administration, and political science, with a focus on international health policy and women’s reproductive health. She is currently a consulting professor in human biology at Stanford University, where she teaches courses on international women’s health and human rights, and a scholar-practitioner at The Union Institute, supported by the Mott Foundation.

Anne has introduced grant-making to her students at Stanford, and has taught them about the courageous work being carried out by women around the world. Her goal, she says, is to impress upon students the importance of listening to and learning from people very different from themselves as they attempt to effect positive change.

Also, she seeks to give students a chance to deal with the realities of choosing priorities when allocating scarce resources, whether those resources be time, commitment, hard work, or money. “I am greatly inspired by the care, idealism and intelligence of students as they learn about the health and human rights challenges that women face worldwide,” she says.

Anne has worked at the United Nations as a writer, taught in Hong Kong and Singapore, and spent several years as an editor with Oxford, Stanford, and Yale University presses. For the past 25 years she has worked in the field of philanthropy, serving as a staff member, board member, and consultant to many foundations. From 1978 to the end of 1987, she directed the environment and international population programs of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in California.

She has served on many boards of non-profit organizations, currently including Changemakers (a public foundation); Grassroots Alliance for Community Education (GRACE); Hesperian Foundation; and UNNITI (supporting women and girls in India). She has published widely and is the recipient of many awards for philanthropy and leadership.

What began as Anne’s vision to get money into the hands of women so that their voices would be heard and their choices respected, grew to become a movement within civil society, a movement that strengthened marginalized groups and increased their influence on the larger society. Through her work as the Founding President of the Global Fund for Women, now the largest foundation in the world focused exclusively on women and girls, Anne has pushed the boundaries of traditional grant-making.

Since its founding, the Global Fund for Women has given resources to women’s groups that would not ordinarily qualify for attention from traditional foundations with their own agendas. The grant decisions value local expertise based on Anne’s belief that women and others at the grassroots know best how to determine their needs and propose solutions for lasting change. The funding has empowered groups to make a difference on issues such as:

  • Building peace & Ending Gender-Based Violence;
  • Advancing Health and Sexual and Reproductive Rights;
  • Expanding Civic and Political Participation;
  • Ensuring Economic and Environmental Justice;
  • Increasing Access to Education;
  • Fostering Social Change Philanthropy of the Leadership Roles.

The Global Fund fosters indigenous philanthropy by awarding grants to women’s rights organizations, which, in turn, will provide small grants to local women’s groups. In the process, they develop skills in grant-making, reach new groups, and cultivate local traditions of giving. Some 25 new women’s funds have developed around the world over the years. In addition, Anne’s work inspired the founders of the Global Greengrants Fund, the Global Fund for Children, and several giving programs within the broader programs of many other organizations, such as the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health.

Many of the organizations supported by the Global Fund for Women over the years began as small groups wanting to address a local problem, such as the pervasive problem of violence and abuse of women. In recent years, such groups have broadened their scope to address not just the issues of personal violence but the more general issues of violence in war and refugee circumstances, with an emphasis on seeking peace. Groups in Nepal, in Kosovo, and in Rwanda, for example, are increasingly seeing the connection between the safety and well-being of individual people in their own homes and the problem of global conflict. Violence, wherever it is found, is the strategy of those in power to maintain their domination. The seemingly simple but central issue of how we treat one another in the world, whether it be at a local or an international level, is Anne’s driving concern.

“Being born a woman is a health hazard,” says Anne, summarizing the world’s environment. Preference for sons is widespread; sex-selective abortion and female infanticide persist in some parts of the world, skewing ratios of males and females. Because of poverty, many families must choose whether to feed all of their children adequately or enrol them in schools; girls suffer from malnutrition to a greater extent than boys, and many fewer girls are enrolled in school than are boys.

Some 500,000 women each year die from almost completely preventable childbirth and pregnancy-related injuries and illnesses, and between one quarter and one half of women around the world suffer violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Hundreds of thousands of women and girls are trafficked from one country to another around the world, and even in richer countries, women, on average, earn about 70 percent of what men earn for equal work. “This unfair situation is dangerous and unhealthy,” says Ann. “Changing these abrogations of human rights can lead to a more peaceful world.” (1000peacewomen).

And she says: “I have three main points to make in this presentation:

  • that the work of scientists is basic to social change and social justice;
  • that scientists do and must involve themselves in advocacy and policy change;
  • that scientists in New Zealand have an especially important role to play in changing the world for the better.

… and: … I have listened to as many sessions as possible at this conference. Drawing from the proceedings, here would be my nominations for the topics to be included in a Christchurch or Oxygen Manifesto, issued by young New Zealand scientists (and perhaps a few older ones):

  • Global warming: recognizing the science that has been done on global warming and dedicating ourselves to a worldwide effort to reverse the dangerous trend. I guess Sweden and California have jump starts on this issue, but maybe New Zealand could take global leadership here too.
  • Preservation of Earth’s greatest heritage: its biodiversity: recognizing the decline of biodiversity, attempting to learn more about this trend, and dedicating ourselves to taking leadership on a global scale to reverse it.
  • Challenging social paradigms based on hierarchical concepts of winning and losing and dedicating ourselves to leadership and personal efforts to change the way we treat one another.
  • Ensuring that communications systems, such as the internet, remain free and open, if only for the furtherance of science.

I believe that these issues lend themselves especially to leadership from New Zealand. Maybe the reputation of New Zealand as an idyllic place will come closer to reality if issues of global warming and biodiversity were tackled with a vengeance by scientists here in this beautiful country. Maybe the reputation of New Zealand as a fair society would come closer to reality if issues of sexism and racism were addressed with compassion and love here. Maybe New Zealand’s reputation as an open and inclusive society could be mirrored in greater attention to maintaining freedom on the internet”.

links:

International Women’s Day: Shaping Progress, March 8, 2008;

“Paradigm Found” Not Just Another Leadership Book;

Her Philanthropic Story Footnotes Virginia Woolf;

Upholding Women’s Rights Around the World;

A Legend Taking Action for Health and Justice;

Google download book: Paradigm Found, 2006, 236 pages.

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