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25 Organizations Fighting for Gender Equality

1. UN Women

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) is the UN agency dedicated to gender equality. The agency was established to accelerate progress on meeting women’s needs across the world. It supports the UN members states in achieving global standards of gender equality, and it works closely with civil society organizations and governments to design and implement policies, laws and services that benefit women.

The UN women focuses on four priority areas: 1) Women lead, participate in and benefit equally from governance systems; 2) Women have income security, decent work and economic autonomy; 3) All women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence; 4) Women and girls contribute to and have greater influence in building sustainable peace and resilience, and benefit equally from the prevention of natural disasters and conflicts and humanitarian action.  The UN Women also closely works on positioning gender equality as fundamental to the UN sustainable development goals and assists the members states to hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality.

2. Association for Women’s Rights in Development

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) is an international organization working to achieve gender equality and women’s human rights across the word. The vision of AWID is “a world where feminist realities flourish, where resources and power are shared in ways that enable everyone, and future generations, to thrive and realize their full potential with dignity, love and respect, and where Earth nurtures life in all its diversity”. The organization supports the gender justice movements to become driving forces in oppression.

The AWID closely works with activists and policy makers worldwide to influence gender policies and practice. It facilitates dialogue and strategies on key issues by connecting actors to share their knowledge, experiences and ideas on relevant issues and mobilizes gender equality movements to support collective actions with feminist causes. It works with activists to build support networks of solidarity on protection and wellbeing and works with historically oppressed communities. Last, but not the least, the AWID advocates for corporate accountability and tax justice to achieve equitable distribution of wealth.

3. Womankind Worldwide

Womankind Worldwide is an international organization for women’s rights that works in solidarity and equal partnership with women’s rights organizations and movements with a goal to transform the lives of women. The vision of the organization is a just world where the rights of all women are respected, realized and valued. Currently, the Womankind Worldwide works with women’s rights organizations and movements in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Uganda and Zimbabwe, advocating for international agencies and governments to promote and protects women’s rights.

Together with its local partners, the Womankind Worldwide helps women and girls transform their lives by providing them with shelters to escape violence and implements projects with community leaders to help women join to talk about what they want to change in their communities and how to achieve that. It also supports the women’s rights movements by providing technical support, funding opportunities and advocacy platform. The organization also uses its expertise to influence policy changes and to make sure that women’s rights are placed at the heart of the international agenda.

4. Center for Reproductive Rights

The Center for Reproductive Rights was established in 1992 with a goal to use the power of law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world. The organization envisions the world in which every person participates as an equal member of society, regardless of their gender, has access to quality reproductive healthcare and where any woman can take her own decisions free from discrimination and coercion.

The Center for Reproductive Rights uses legal and human rights tools, as well as global legal to advance reproductive rights. So far, the organization has strengthened laws and policies in more than 50 countries and won groundbreaking cases before national courts and the UN committees about reproductive healthcare, including birth control, safe abortion, prenatal and obstetric care. It also influences law by working with policymakers and documenting abuses. The Center for Reproductive Rights also promotes progressive measures and fosters legal scholarship and teaching on reproductive health and human rights.

5. Plan International

Plan International is a global development human rights and humanitarian organization working to advance rights of children and equality for girls. It closely works with young people, children and communities to tackle the root causes of discrimination against girls, vulnerability and exclusion and enables them to respond and prepare for adversity and practice. Plan International influence policies and practices at local, national and global levels by using knowledge, experience and reach.

Some of the core objectives of Plan International is achieving gender equality, promoting gender justice and fostering an inclusive society. The organization confronts, and challenges human rights violations and discrimination based on gender, as well as stereotyping and unequal power relations between women, men, boys and girls to promote rights and gender equality. Plan International fosters culture that encompasses its commitment to gender equality and adoption of good practices, positive attitudes and inclusion.

6. Women for Women International

Women for Women International is an international women’s rights organization that supports the most marginalized women in countries affected by war and conflict. The organization conducts projects that enable women to earn and save money, influence decisions in their communities and homes, improve their well-being and health and connect to networks for support. So far, the organization has helped to more than 478.000 women across the world to rebuild their lives after the war. Women for Women International uses its voice to call for global attention to the unique role that women play in advancing peace throughout society.

Through organization’s projects, women learn about their rights on key issues such as access to land, voting, divorce, domestic abuse and custody over children. In this way the organization strives to achieve gender equality and equips and empowers women to stand for themselves. The organization also advocates for a long-term change for marginalized women who survived war, by partnering up with other organizations to influence policies and practices.

7. Equality Now

Equality Now is an international organization founded with the mission of using legal advocacy to protect and promote the human rights of women and girls. It uses law to create equal and just world for women and girls. It attracts global attention to media on individual cases of abuse and uses international human rights law to advocate with policymakers and puts pressure on national governments to adopt and enforce good laws. Equality now partners up with other organizations to ensure that individual cases are visible on the global agenda.

Equality Now is dedicated to achieving gender equality and, thus, it cooperates with individuals, institutions, and coalitions encompassing grassroots activists, survivors, legal reformers, lawyers, service providers, corporations and national and regional women’s organizations and uses their knowledge and connections to local communities to achieve change. It puts pressure on countries to adopt gender equality laws and holds governments accountable for abuses of such laws.

8. Women’s Environment and Development Organization

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) is a global advocacy organization created to promote and protect gender equality, human rights and the integrity of the environment. WEDO facilitates and connects movements to global agendas and in this way, it ensures that women’s voices are heard, and women’s leadership is advanced.

WEDO partners up with the like-minded organizations and individuals and engages in advocacy to affect policy processes to ensure women’s human rights are respected. It also works on the capacity building and facilitating of space for women’s political voices al local, national and international levels. Moreover, WEDO builds and maintains knowledge on gender equality, women’s rights, sustainable development and environmental issues to ensure effective outreach and information sharing.

9. Men Engage Alliance

Men Engage Alliance is a global alliance consisted of many country networks that are spread across many regions, hundreds of non-governmental organizations and the UN agencies, working towards advancing gender equality and justice, human rights and social justice, with a mission to achieve a world in which all people can enjoy healthy and equitable relationships and their full potential.

The Men Engage Alliance works on engaging men and boys in gender equality and tries to build and improve the practice on engaging men in achieving gender justice. It also advocates for policy changes on key issues where gender directly affects the lives of women and men at local, national, regional and international levels. The organization works in the following areas: promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, increasing HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment, ending violence against women and girls, combating homophobia/transphobia and advocating for LGBTI rights, reducing forms of violence between men and boys, preventing child sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and trafficking, supporting men’s positive involvement in maternal and child health, as fathers or caregivers and addressing macro-level policies that perpetuate gender inequalities.

10. Global Fund for Women

Global Fund for Women is one of the world’s leading organizations for gender equality, and human rights of girls and women. The organization was created with a mission to amplify the courageous work of women who are building social movements and challenging the status quo. The organization campaigns for zero violence, political and economic empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health and rights of women globally.

The aim of the Global Fund for Women is for every woman and girl to be able to realize their rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, since these are essential for women’s equality. The Fund fights for and stands for woman’s rights to decide when and if she wants to have child and, if so, to have a high-quality health care during pregnancy and after birth. The Fund follows and supports two critical documents about gender equality-the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, both affecting women’s right in all aspects of life.

11. Rise Up

Rise Up works on activating women and girls to transform their lives, families and communities through investing in local solutions, strengthening leadership, and building movements. The network of the organization is composed of 500 leaders, which has directly benefited around seven million girls and impacted around 100 laws and policies in Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the US.

Rise Up strengthens the leadership of women and girls to be able to drive changes in their communities. It focuses on advancing women’s rights, equality, education, sexual and reproductive health, and economic empowerment. The organization conducts a range of innovative program and partners up with both global and local organizations to achieve sustainable impact.

12. MATCH International Women’s Fund

The MATCH International Women’s Fund was established in 1976 to match the needs of Canadian women with the needs and resources of women around the world. MATCH International supports women innovators through their breakthroughs of transforming farming practices, child nutrition, and anti-violence campaigns. The Fund works with 650 women’s organizations in 71 countries and so far, it has invested in nearly 12 million dollars in women and girls.

The MATCH joined the women’s fund movement and has officially launched the first Canada global fund for women, girls and transgender people in October 2013. Presently, the organization is the most direct way to get money into the hands of women’s rights grassroots organizations. The MATCH, thus, in this way amplifies work on local levels and supports the grassroot organizations that are breaking ground around the world. The goal and vision of the MATCH is to end violence and discrimination against women and girls, for good.

13. Gender at Work

Gender at Work is an international feminist knowledge network working to build inclusive cultures and end discrimination against women. It partners up with researchers and activists across the world to produce new knowledge on inequality structures and embedded societal discriminatory norms and to produce innovative approaches and tools to transform them in organizations and communities.

The organization believes that the world is facing the crisis of democratic institutions, in which the actors who fight to achieve social justice have been undercut and where spaces for advocacy and action of civil society groups has been restricted. Therefore, the Gender at Work offers a wide range of consulting services to organizations to strengthen their contributions to gender equality and advance feminist leadership. It also helps activists to tell their stories and share their insights on gender inequalities with a broader public.

14. European Women’s Lobby

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is the largest European umbrella networks of women’s associations representing more than 2.000 organizations in all European Union Member States, as well as its candidate countries. The EWL was founded with a vision of a society in which contribution of women to all aspects of life is recognized and celebrated. This means that women should be recognized as leaders with self-confidence, freedom of choice and freedom from exploitation and violence.

The EWL joins together women’s movement in Europe with a goal to support women’s human rights and equality between women and men. Therefore, it offers its experiences, expertise and knowledge on gender equality and represents the women’s voice in the EU political arenas. The EWL also mobilizes its members collective experiences to work on major issues affecting women and connects different actors to bring change at the EU level.

15. International Center for Research on Women

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) is a global research institute with headquarters in Washington D.C. and regional offices in India and Uganda. The ICRW is comprised of social scientists, economists, public health specialist and demographers, all of whom are experts in gender issues. The mission of ICRW is guided by the principle of human dignity, gender equity, inclusion and shared prosperity.

The ICRW conducts research to tackle the causes of gender inequality and offers solutions for fundamental social changed. The organization works with NGOs, government and private sector actors to conduct research and develop and guide strategies that build policies, programs and practices. In its research, the ICRW identifies obstacles that prevent women from being economically empowered and able to fully participate in society. The ICRW translates these obstacles into a path of action that honors women’s humans rights and ensures gender equality.

16. European Institute for Gender Equality

The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) was established in December 2006 as the European Union agency that is dedicated exclusively to gender equality. The task of the Institute is to collect and analyze information on the gender equality, with a goal to help the EU Member States to implement the gender equality policies and to combat gender-based discrimination.

The Institute tackles both European and national policy areas by implementing the principle of gender mainstreaming with an aim to achieve equality of women and men in all spheres of life. The EIGE, thus, produces studies and collects statistics about gender equality in the EU and monitors how the EU meets the international standards about the issue. It also works to stop violence against women and shares its knowledge with other EU institutions.

17. PROMUNDO

Promundo is an international organization that promotes gender justice and prevents violence by engaging men and boys in partnership with women, girls, and individuals of all gender identities. It was established in 1997 in Brazil with a belief that working with men and boys will contribute in eliminating harmful gender norms and provide solutions related to issues related to achieving gender equality. So far, Promundo has worked in over 40 countries to prevent violence and advocate for gender equality.

In addition to working with individuals, Promundo conducts campaigns and engages in local activism to build community support and advocate for governments to adopts policies that would reinforce social change. It also creates safe spaces for women and men in post-conflict settings to heal from trauma, for young people to question gender norms, and for men around the world to discuss violence, exploitation and benefits of shared decision-making. Through its programs, Promundo has reached nearly 10 million individuals, including over 4,500 health professionals, over 22,000 education professionals, over 1,400 members of the police and military, and nearly 300 government officials.

18. Time’s Up

Time’s Up is an organization that works on ensuring safe, fair and dignified work for all women. It works for women all kinds, from those who work at the factories to those who work at the corporations, to be united by a common sense of safety, fairness and dignity during the work. Time’s Up goal is, therefore, to shift the paradigm of workplace culture.

The programs of the organization address the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace, that often keep women from reaching their full potential. The organization, thus, partners up with some of the leading advocates for safety and equality to improve corporate policies and laws and give an opportunity to both women and men to access the legal and justice systems to those hold those responsible for discrimination accountable.

19. Gender Equality Resource Center

The Gender Equality Resource Center (GERC) 2013 and registered in 2014 as a non-government in the Philippines, with an aim to promote gender equality (GE) for development in and through cooperatives. The core of the GERC’s work are volunteers, advocates, development facilitators and trainers.

The GERC partners up with cooperatives, NGOs, local government units, development councils, government agencies and other actors to implement gender equality. It provides training and capacity building to private and government agencies that lack technical skills in implementing gender equality policies. The GERC’s objectives are:  to promote gender equality in and among cooperatives and to heighten their social impact, to develop capacities of women and households in entrepreneurship and to effect the transformation of all persons in the cooperatives.

20. Amnesty International

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of with over 2.2 million members, who campaigns for internationally recognized human rights for all. The Amnesty International works on improving the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through international solidarity and campaigning on human rights issue. Its mission is to conduct research to generate action to prevent and put an end to grave human rights abuses, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been abused.

One of the key activities of Amnesty International is fight against violence against women and advocacy for gender equality. Under its campaign to Stop Violence Against Women, the organization advocates for implementation of laws that guarantee access to justice to women who are victims of violence. It works on empowering women and calls for adoption of new laws that protect women’s rights and demands an end to laws that discriminate against women.

21. Save the Children

Save the Children is one of the biggest international NGOs advancing and protecting rights of children in almost 120 countries around the world. It works in the most disadvantaged local communities educating them about the rights of children. Save the Children seeks to advance gender equality in all aspects of its work, recognizing that gender inequalities create major barriers for sustainable development.

The organization works to ensure that all its programs identify different needs of all actors, including girls, boys, women and men. The organization also utilizes gender transformative approaches, and it supports meaningful and lasting impacts in the lives of children by working with key stakeholders to identify and change the root causes of gender inequality. The organization also advocates for policies that promote gender equality and conducts research and analysis on gender to find innovative solutions and tackle changes.

22. International Alliance of Women

International Alliance of Women (IAW) is an international non-governmental organization comprising 41-member organizations involved in the promotion of the human rights of women and girls globally.

Currently, the IAW actively works on gender and economic crisis, since the economic recession, as well as the financial crisis poses threats to gender equality and poverty. Therefore, the IAW advocates for equal participation of women at all levels and implementation all policies in the corporate and private sectors, so they are able to call off the negative effects policies pose on women. It also advocates for implementation of macro-economic policies that respect gender equality and human rights. The IAW implements capacity building on feminist economics of its members to enable them to undertake actions on gender issues.

23. Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch was established in 1978 as non-governmental human rights organization. Today, its network of experts is comprised of human rights professionals, including lawyers, journalists and academics. The organization produces detailed reports on human rights violations and abuses on the global scale. Each year, the organization publishes more than 100 reports on human rights conditions in around 80 countries, which are followed by an extensive coverage in both local and international media.

Amongst reports and publications of the Human Rights Watch are also women’s rights. Ever since it was established, the organization has broadened and strengthen its work in the area of gender equality and women’s rights, bringing a human rights dimension to issue such as domestic violence, trafficking, rape and similar. The organization meets with governments, regional institutions and financial institutions, and corporations, to push for changes in policies that promote human rights and justice around the world.

24. Abaad MENA

Abaad Centre for Gender Equality (Abaad MENA) was established in 2011 with an aim to promote sustainable social and economic development in the MENA region, through equality, protection and empowerment of women. It envisions the world in which men and women are equal and working as partners to secure better future for their lives, and, in which, women are empowered to participate in the democratic processes and have fair access to economic resources, without facing discrimination.

Abaad MENA is composed of human rights activists, lawyers, social workers, and researchers, who are dedicated to achieving women’s empowerment and gender equality. The organization promotes active participation through legal reform, gender mainstreaming, eliminating discrimination and policy development. It also supports the advancement of women and empowers them to effectively participate in their communities.

25. International Women’s Development Agency

International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) is an Australian based non-governmental organization working to directly address poverty and oppression in developing countries and create positive change for women and their communities. So far, IWDA has worked with more 100 grassroots organizations in developing parts of the world, to support and advance the life choices and well-being of women and their families.

Currently, IWDA implements projects with from the Asia Pacific region, which are devised and managed by women themselves within their communities. The projects are implemented in Cambodia, Timor Leste, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Burma. The organization works to achieve gender justice in these communities as well as equitable growth of people.

About the author

Ada Hasanagic

Ada Hasanagić is a human rights professional currently working as a researcher at the Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Previously, Ada graduated with honors from the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology and the University of Buckingham in the fields of Political Science and International Relations. Also, she earned a master’s degree in Democracy and Human Rights from the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna.