Achieving gender justice is a matter of basic rights and also a key means of addressing poverty. Policies and practices that benefit women will also have other positive outcomes for the economy and society as a whole.
Women form the majority of those living in poverty, and have fewer resources, less power and less influence in decision making when compared to men. They are exposed to various forms of violence and exploitation and, in addition, experience inequality because of their ethnicity, age, (dis)ability, nationality, caste, religion, or sexual orientation.
In many countries the spaces for enhancing women’s rights have narrowed and availability of funding is decreasing, especially for grassroots organisations. A number of factors – all with gendered roots and implications – are contributing to creating a challenging context:
- Global food, financial and climate crises
- Increased competition for resources
- A persisting HIV and AIDS pandemic
- Manipulation of cultural and religious ideologies for political purposes
Our vision is that many more women will gain power over their lives and live free from violence through changes in attitudes, ideas and beliefs about gender relations, and through increased levels of women’s active engagement and leadership in institutions, decision-making and change processes.
1. Putting women’s rights at the heart of all we do
We are committed to building the capacity of staff and partners to focus on women’s rights and ensure that all of our programmes, whether on humanitarian or development contexts, and campaigning directly contributes to strengthening these rights. We also ensure that our internal processes and systems reflect our commitment to women’s rights.
2. Ending violence against women
We focus on preventing and reducing violence against women and girls in their homes and within the wider society as well as in humanitarian and conflict situations. This includes working with men and boys, and delivering the We Can campaign to end violence against women in countries of South Asia and other regions.
3. Strengthening women’s leadership and participation
Developing programmes, advocacy and campaigning so that that more women, especially those living in poverty, achieve and hold effective and transformative leadership positions at all levels and in all sectors; and both men and women work towards greater gender equality.
The changes we want to see
- Women are able to challenge communal, religious or belief systems that limit their rights and entitlements.
- Women, girls and men experience significantly less gender-based violence.
- Women and men begin to exercise transformative leadership and promote gender justice. There will be an increase in the number of effective women leaders.
- Women and girls are afforded more protection from violence and sexual exploitation in insecure situations.
- Women and girls gain entitlement to their rights, and the ability to exercise them, with men’s contribution.
- Governments and international organisations are responsive to citizens and civil society and accountable to their commitments as set out in international and regional agreements and national laws, including in the use of their budgets.
- Men adopt more equal gender roles and behaviours, and work towards gender equality in all institutional settings, including the household.
- Women and girls increase adaptive capacity by participating in and benefiting from emergency response and preparedness.
- Economic policies and practices of governments and the private sector recognise and value the contributions of unpaid and caring work, mostly done by women.
- Enterprises promote women’s rights in their policies and practices.
- Women have increased access to and control over economic resources and opportunities, and to reliable services and social protection.
- The practices used by all development actors to promote gender equality and the rights of poor women are strengthened.