I was not going to start this with negative news. But as a queer feminist living in Brazil, these are sad days: people across the country are still shocked by the brutal murder of Marielle Franco. Marielle was a black queer activist and politician born in one of the poorest communities in Rio with an impressive track record for a 38 years old. Having been the fifth most voted city council member last year, Marielle was the kind of female leader Brazil urgently needs. In politics and across the leadership spectrum, the country has one of the lowest female/male ratios in the world.
So what does this have to do with Impact Hub?
When I moved to Brazil, I found at Impact Hub Floripa a team that strongly believes in building that “radically better world” while also realistically working to make ends meet and scale the business. Being surrounded by tech companies that are predominantly male, Impact Hub is a living model of female leadership, while also constantly bringing the topic of gender equality to the table. To become more intentional about that statement and deepen our understanding of what gender equality means, Impact Hub Floripa decided to align its impact efforts around SDG 5 in 2018 - Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls. I’m excited to be part of these efforts.
How are we trying to generate impact around this topic?
Launching the Social Impact Fund for Diversity
Impact Hub Floripa has been making donations to social causes ever since its creation. “The idea that the impact of that money could be scaled always lingered around,” CEO Gabriela Werner says. This year, we are launching the Social Impact Fund for Diversity to multiply our own donation by inspiring other companies and individuals to join us around a shared cause. The fund was created in partnership with Icom – the Community Institute of Florianópolis. Founded in 2006, they believe that a stronger civil society is vital for a more human, just and democratic community. They support local NGOs and grassroots organizations through training, consulting and funding. And that’s exactly where our fund will come in. With the Impact Fund for Diversity, we want to support at least 5 local projects that tackle gender diversity in 2018.
Being loud and proud
Last year, our Impact Hub team discussed how we could make sure that we are open and inclusive. One idea was to put up “Safe Zone” stickers on our space and actively discuss what it means to be a safe space for members of all sexual orientations and gender identities. What we didn’t expect was that this could “offend” anyone. But to our surprise, a Facebook post about the sticker initiative got badly trolled and our page was downvoted by several fake profiles. As a team, we were committed to ensuring that this type of reaction would not silence us. We soon started the initiative below – making it clear that the rainbows were here to stay.
Listening to those who are affected
We understand that to really create impact, we need to broaden our perspective and listen to the people in our community. That's why our practice and intention is to consistently engage LGBTQIA members, entrepreneurs, business people, activists and public servants. In response to the hate we experienced on social media, other LGBTQIA team members and I decided to create the “Roda de Purpurina” (loosely translates to Glitter Circle) - a tribe that brings together LGBTQIA members, makers and friends to discuss personal experiences and plan impactful activities. So far, more than 25 people have joined the meet-ups and brought in very different voices and perspectives. “It’s time that we stop talking about the negative things that affect our community – like the number of homicides. We need to show that we queer people are thriving,”, said a circle member in the last meeting. And this got me thinking. As much as I agree with him, we have to make sure we are aware of the bubble many of us live in: Brazil is a highly unequal country, and violence is not evenly distributed in society.
The conversations at the Glitter Circle are now turning into action: we are organizing a public event to bring to light different perspectives on the experience of LGBTQIA folks in Florianopolis, while also officially launching the Social Impact Fund for Diversity. Join us in late April.
I really hope that besides giving space to the LGBTQIA community, we can also do the same for black communities in Brazil – taking on our share of the responsibility to empower more women like Marielle to lead the future of the country.
I’m curious to know what other Impact Hubs and organizations are doing to contribute to SDG 5 and how we can embark on a journey to uncover and tackle the interconnectedness among these global challenges. Would you like to join? The Glitter Circle accepts members from all over the world. Just drop us a line!
Impact Hub Floripa’s work to ensure gender equality is contributing to the following Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):