What I would tell my 18-year-old self

Tuti Scott - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In the fall of 1980, as I left New Hampshire to go to Ithaca College in upstate New York, one of a handful of students in my class who would leave the state for college and the first of my siblings to pursue a four year degree, I wish I had the certainty to have known the following:

  1. That deeply loving women and being a lesbian is a magical, powerful, loving, brave, acceptable way of being in the world no matter what anyone says to you or how isolating it may feel at times.

  2. That the love you have for basketball, competing and being the coach on the floor will place you in settings you could never dream of to promote women athletes as leaders and to help shape the women’s sports movement. 

Read more here...

Feminist Sport and the World Cup

Tuti Scott - Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Amidst the Men’s World Cup excitement, I had the honor of speaking at the United Nations on the role of sport in peace and development.  The topic was on women's rights and women's sports and how we can address barriers to sport participation that women must overcome.  My speech has much data about this and highlights the intelligent work of Women Win of which I am a founding Board member.   I wished we could have had a panel that addressed the World Cup media and equity issues.  Alas, we did a bit of this for a Social Good chat. 

There are so many equity topics to address: the women having to play on turf--unheard of for men’s World Cup play and highlighted by the most recent New York Times article written by Juliet Macur, “To End this Turf War, Unroll Sod”; the disparity of resources--the Men's World Cup purse (the sum of money paid to the federation/governing bodies in the countries of the winning and participating teams, such as U.S. Soccer) is $576 million and Women's World Cup purse is $7.6 million for the same number of teams and games played; the sexualization of female athletes in advertising--the ONE woman player in the McDonald’s commercial is in heels!;  the lack of women in governance—Burundi’s Lydia Nsekera is to only woman who appears on the FIFA organizational chart; the ever-present issue, as lamented by Evelyn Shoop in her piece, “Women’s Sports Are Getting Less Airtime.”                                  

Image via Women's Sports Foundation.  

Athletic Approach to Leadership

Tuti Scott - Friday, June 13, 2014

Sport is the one place where women are allowed to use their voice loudly, projecting, directing and making it known that they need help and support.  

Watch a clip of my keynote address to the Women's Foundation of Iowa with messages about the WNBA, women taking up space and how to embody being an athlete here...

UN Soccer and Sport for Peace Development

Tuti Scott - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

On June 10, 2014, I spoke at the United Nations as a Founding Board Member of Women Win.  This was an event to celebrate the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, as a dialogue on soccer and sports for peace and development.  The text of my speech can be read below.

Tuti Scott, Women Win, Founding Board Member 
June 10, 2014 
World Cup 2014-Brazil side panel 
Speech Text

Video from Women Win site --- Linda --- How Football Saved my Life --- Aired first. Thank you to Linda for her courage and for sharing her story.  I know we are saluting the start of the men’s World Cup but this is a great story ----This image is of the Thai Women’s National Team – two weeks ago they qualified for the Women's World Cup in Canada in 2015 – FIRST Thai team ever to dos so – men or women’s! Today as we speak about sport as a development strategy consider….with this Thai World Cup team, what could be the implication for Thai women – not just in terms of football participation, but in gender expectations, roles and assumptions? http://womenwin.org

I am honored to be here on behalf of Women Win – and more importantly on behalf of the girls and women of the world who seek to explore and experience the value of sport. Women win seeks to equp adolescent girls to exercise their rights through sports.  We support rights based programming – starting with the basic premise that every person has rights and we work to help each participant learn about and realize her rights.  Knowing about her rights is not enough --- each girls must have the inner strength and self confidence to take action.  We know from decades of sports programming here in the US that sports offers many valuable skills – including increased inner strengths and self confidence. 

Read more here...

Powerpoint presentation can be viewed here...

Eleven Best Practices in Grant Making Collaborations or "Giving Circles"

Tuti Scott - Friday, May 16, 2014

Working in collaborative groups such as the Jewish Women's Funds collective and the Equal Pay Today! campaign has informed much of our most recent work. These women are learning how they want to work together, grant together and develop leadership in bold ways.  I invite you to integrate some of the best practices that are being developed and cultivated by these brilliant teams who are actively creating social change.  Consider including these "Eleven Best Practices" into your great work.

  1. Don't be afraid to be venture and adventure philanthropists.  Test uncharted waters.
  2. The very act of funding collaboratively is a feminist act laying to rest the old vertical hierarchy of decision making.  Collaboration requires focus and discipline. Each of us must leave our personal pet projects, organizations and agendas at the door when we come together to consider pooled decisions.

Women as Coaches in Sports

Tuti Scott - Friday, May 09, 2014

Title IX legislation secured the opportunity for women and girls to participate in sport at every level, in this country.  The majority of coaching positions, however, are still held by men.  

Watch a clip of my keynote address at the Iowa Women's Foundation offers some insight on the epidemic here....

"Yellen" from the Mountaintops

Tuti Scott - Thursday, April 17, 2014

As a fan of the smart work of UltraViolet and a bridge builder across generations, I was pleased to hear how some baby boomers helped make the start-up investment to mobilize this unique internet platform.  Ultraviolet has been a critical new leader addressing and mobilizing women’s rights issues with fact-based online activism.   Many were energized in reading the Huffintonpost.com article, “How Women Spiked Larry Summers and Made Janet Yellen the Most Powerful Person in the World,”.   This case study is a good example of how UltraViolet, the National Organization of Women, the Women Donors Network and a number of other invested people banded together to support women’s leadership at the highest level.    

The theme of women SUPPORTING each other needs a bigger spotlight and stage.  This particular movement focused on creating the conditions for Janet Yellen to be nominated and then approved by Congress as the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.  This accomplishment is a testament to the ability of collaborative advocacy to cause great shifts in the dominant paradigm of our society.   At Imagine Philanthropy, we offer a special thanks and kudos to the women and supportive men who executed a strategy to place the best candidate in a position that will have a lasting impact on our nation and the world. 

Organizing, connecting and representing the interest of creating opportunities for women’s voices and places of leadership is work we must all embrace.  Women hold only 20% of the seats in the U.S. Senate and only 18% of the seats U.S. House of Representatives.   Approximately 40 countries have or are introducing gender quotas in elections to national parliaments, either by means of constitutional amendment or by changing the electoral laws (legal quotas). In more than 50 countries major political parties have voluntarily set out quota provisions in their own statues (party quotas).   Germany and Japan have recently introduced quotas similar to Norway with regard to corporate board seats. 

Catalyst has demonstrated that companies with three or more women on their boards outperform those without women by a 53% return on equity.  Again, the actual representation of women on boards and CEO positions is incredibly low.  Fortune 500 companies report a 17% representation of women on Boards of Directors (a figure that has remained steady in that range for decades) and merely 22 (4%) women hold the position of CEO of a Fortune 500 company. 

Janet Yellen and recently, the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, have broken barriers for women stepping into leadership.  Their presence alone is impacting the media imagery, providing a stark alternative to images of white men in power.  Obviously, in the U.S., we need constant mobilization and movement building to increase the representation of women in all positions of leadership.   Consider your own personal commitment to this effort:  Who do you know that possesses great leadership aptitude and could be supported and encouraged?  Who will you actively SPONSOR by making key introductions, inviting along to key events, setting up meetings with experts who can inform and educate to further develop individual talents?  How will you create the right environment for women’s leadership to seed, grow and produce results?   Keep us posted on your success in this arena!!! 

Philanthropy with a Gendered Voice

Tuti Scott - Thursday, February 13, 2014

Women’s funds, the pillars and webbing of women’s philanthropy, have been mobilizing resources by women and for women, as well as advocating and funding the pursuit of gender equity, since the mid-1990s.   Recently, the women’s philanthropic movement (women and smart men giving to women’s rights or with a human security frame) has been more visible as Davos, the Clinton Global Initiative, The Gates Foundation annual report, among others, continue to showcase the value of “investing” in women. 

These conferences and organizations study and generally talk about the impact on social ills and economic indicators that result by investing in women.  It may be both of interest and instructive to study the specific practices and inherent values that the women’s funds have developed, collaborated around, and mobilized resources around this work.  Thanks to 160 women’s funds working across the globe for the past three decades, individual lives have been transformed, communities uplifted and nations strengthened through their investments in the lives and businesses of women and girls.   Philanthropic initiatives, family foundations, giving collaboratives and others should consider adopting these elements as they start or strengthen their giving to encompass a global or local gender ‘voice’:  

  1. Strongly consider having the funds and their focus managed by and for women by assembling committees of women as grantmakers and focusing on female grantees. 
  2. Establish giving guidelines that set high standards for including social justice, empowerment, leadership development, access to resources and development of opportunities within the grantor/grantee relationship. 
  3. Fund movement and capacity building for institutional and organizational development by granting to women within their communities.
  4. Insure that advocacy for key community issues is a key part of your agenda and priorities. 
  5. Maintain authentic leadership with staff and donors reflecting the commitment to the women’s movement. 

“Women’s Funds bring networks, experience, clarity, credibility and sustainability to the grantmaking experience.”  Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi

Thank you to Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, author of “Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of the Critical Role of Autonomous Women’s Funds in Strengthening Women’s Movements.”

Money is...

Tuti Scott - Friday, January 31, 2014

Money is..

At a retreat of millennial women working in movement building, I asked them to answer the question; when I think of money, I think __________.   Here is a summary of their answers as food for thought!  

When I think of money, I think “access to attention.

When I think of money, I think “a means to make change.

When I think of money, I think “an amplifier of your ideas.”

When I think of money, I think “a gift.

When I think of money, I think “sometimes hard to come by for a lot of people. 

When I think of money, I think “a tool to be used in whatever way desired.

When I think of money, I think “power and leverage.

When I think of money, I think “access/denial of access.

When I think of money, I think “money provides an opportunity to take risks.

When I think of money, I think “contradiction.

When I think of money, I think “a flow of energy.

When I think of money, I think “abundant.

When I think of money, I think “a zero sum game.

When I think of money, I think “power.

When I think of money, I think “it can make you lose sight of priorities.

When I think of money, I think “it can be both practical and for fun.

When I think of money, I think “money is never enough.

When I think of money, I think “means disconnection from real resources (like food, land, people).”

When I think of money, I think “money means an obligation, a trap.

When I think of money, I think “freedom.

When I think of money, I think “money is a facade, a standard of success.

When I think of money, I think “to move not horde.

When I think of money, I think “to sit across from and feel no fear of.

When I think of money, I think “connective and isolating.

When I think of money, I think “universal issue.

When I think of money, I think “hard to talk about.

When I think of money, I think “provocative.

When I think of money, I think “way to measure what’s important to me.

When I think of money, I think “anxiety.

When I think of money, I think “scarcity.

When I think of money, I think “tight.

When I think of money, I think “what is enough.

When I think of money, I think “opportunity.

When I think of money, I think “scary.

When I think of money, I think “bridge-builder.

When I think of money, I think “messy.

When I think of money, I think “complicated.

Pursuing Appointed Leadership Positions

Tuti Scott - Saturday, December 28, 2013

Being a volunteer leader, especially one who may be the first minority represented (woman, millennial, lesbian, etc) offers an opportunity to assess your core values.  How do you react and respond to individuals who resist minority voices or are inexperienced interacting with others who are not like them? What messages do you want to communicate to people who may be grounded in a place of opposition or discomfort? How do you construct a neutral platform to connect with both resisters and supporters?

I recently was coaching a woman who was seeking election as the first ever female chair of a particular national sports governing organization.  We had a frank conversation about what it might take for her to be successful.  Here were three ideas we discussed that may be helpful in other volunteer leadership contexts:

  1.  Motivation - Develop contextually specific answers to the question of motivation by first examining your reasons for pursuing volunteer leadership.  Be mindful of your initial motivations.  Do you have a passion for the purpose of the organization and want it to be successful?  Did you discover a need for change for which there is broad support?  Are you committed to ensuring the organization’s course with continuity of experienced leadership?
  2. Selflessness and humility - Although you may meet resistance when running for a leadership position, regardless of your motivation, you must be able to express your passion for the organization and its mission to improve the experience of those being served. Volunteer leadership is a selfless act – one driven by the desire to provide true service for a cause.
  3. Addressing resistance - Opposition to your potential leadership can be met and deconstructed in a multitude of ways. Your motivation and passion, however, must be at the heart of your message.  A letter expressing these beliefs may be an effective method for communicating with the current leadership and membership; you could distribute an open letter, post a blog, or write directly to the Executive Director and/or Board of Directors. Inform the readership that you want to provide positive service for the cause and promote the organization’s well being, rather than engage in a combative relationship with the current leadership about their history of exclusion. In doing so, you will reveal your commitment to the organization’s bottom line and create a neutral core from which to build your platform. Embrace the frame of true service and remove yourself from the hierarchical politics that could negate the simplicity of the organization’s highest purpose – doing so will encourage the membership to embrace your campaign for election and reaffirm their commitment to the organization’s mission and vision.  

About The Author

Tuti Scott is a thought leader on women's philanthropy, leadership, and social change. These are her ideas...

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