Help us build the Evidence Base in Why Investing in Women's Movements is Critical! Add your Organization's data today!

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When women's movements rise… They support diverse outcomes that transform our societies for the better

Advocated for and created stronger GBV laws

Empowered women financially, socially, and politically

Increased women's access to equitable work conditions and opportunities, increasing their incomes and economic power

Challenged and changed social and cultural norms related to gender inequality and discriminatons based on gender, race, sexual orientation, class, etc. in diverse communities

Increased the number of women in politics and in leadership positions

Improved access to key services, including education, health, social welfare, and sexual and reproductive health services

Supported more sustainable and inclusive peace processes

Strengthened social cohesion in communities and others such as men and boys support women’s rights  etc...

"I believe that it is crucial to invest in women's movements, especially in this very sensitive moment of our universal history - as there are political forces working publicly to limit, if not to erase - the level of achieved women's rights and freedoms. I believe it is more important than ever that we all work together - and that we jointly resist fascists and fundamentalists.”
Selma Hadzihalilovic
Women's Network of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Numbers So Far

45
women's movement building organizations
26
countries
06
languages

Regions Represented

20

Europe & CEE/CIS

8

Sub-Saharan Africa

7

Latin America & the Caribbean

6

North America

2

Middle East & North Africa

1

Oceania & the Pacific Islands

1

Missing country/region

Level of Work

Most organizations in the sample engage at the national and community level and the regional level (34%). Nearly 15% focus at the global level, while 13% of work is done in multiple regions. Two groups focus on other areas.

Total Count

Local/Community
Regional
Global
Multiple regions
Other

Primary Issues of Focus

Women's movement building organizations in this sample prioritized the issues of gender equality, ending gender based violence (GBV) including violence against girls, supporting women's empowerment, and implementing legal and policy reforms to end and criminalize GBV and increase women's equality in different countries. Issues of increasing women's political participation, strengthening women's movements, promoting ratification and implementation of CEDAW and contributing to peacebuilding also emerged as significant areas of focus

Funding Overview on Initial Dataset Sample

Total Amount of Funding: $51.6 million USD in 2018

$18.2mil

The four donors in our sample gave 18.2 million USD in 2018 to women's rights issues globally

$18.7

22 women's organizations had total budgets of 18.7 million USD

$32mil

20 women's organizations had total budgets of 32 million USD

$2000 - $2300

The smallest budgets were 2000 and 2300 located in Palestine and Cameroon

$4.6 - $8.2 mil

The largest budgets of the organization located in 8.2 million in Australia and 4.6 million in Denmark

8 organizations reported no budget

Funding by Region and Organization

Key Wins

Stronger laws and policies promoting gender equality and ending GBV

Strengthened coalitions and movement building for justice, gender equality and nonviolence

Improved economic power and opportunities for women, including minority women

Mobilized greater funding and support for feminist social change and movements

Expanded access to quality healthcare, including reproductive and sexual health from a rights based approach

Strengthened knowledge and feminist analysis in the public and policy space

Mobilized greater funding and support for feminist social change and movements

Key wins

Stronger laws and policies promoting gender equality and protecting women's rights in diverse contexts:

A few examples of reformed laws and policies in our sample include:

  • Women in peacebuilding: Implementing UN Resolution 1325 adoption in Albania in 2018
  • Stronger laws protecting women that have experienced domestic violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina 
  • Right of women to choose, abortion rights in Mexico and Argentina
  • Increased land rights for women in Benin
  • 30% quota for women's political leadership in Kyrgyzstan
  • Established anti-trafficking policies in Mexico


  • Association of Women with Social Problems in Albania developed a National Action Plan for implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325, ensuring women's participation and representation in peacebuilding processes and protecting women and girls from war-related gender based violence. The organization established a coalition, comprised of 31 civil society organizations, called 'Women, Peace and Security' to advocate around peace and security issues. They also led in developing the first National Action Plan to implement Resolution 1325 in Albania with the support of UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.
  • Ženski Centar Trebinje in Bosnia and Herzegovina created stronger laws protecting women that have experienced domestic violence. Specifically they recommended specific legal amendments and lobbied regarding the Law on protection from domestic violence in the Republic of Srpska. The amendment extended the possibility for women victims of domestic violence to stay in safe houses beyond the current limit of 3 months with possible extension to 6 months to one year, significantly improving women's access to safety.
  • Association Nationale des Femmes Agricultrices Du Benin (ANaF-Benin) took a leading role in advocating for and increasing women's right to land. This significant achievement enabled some women today to recover their land which had been confiscated by men. This work was possible thanks to technical and financial partners such as: UN WOMEN, FES, AWAC, ECLOSIO, AP-OSP, COOPERATION SUISSE.
  • Asociación de Trabajadoras del Hogar a Domicilio y de Maquila -ATRAHDOM strengthened the legal framework in Guatemala and increased women's access to justice.  They have handled approximately 300 cases of legal support in complaints to date, both in labor courts and the General Labor Inspectorate. ATRAHDOM developed and deployed a political advocacy strategy targeting the Congress of the Republic, to achieve the ratification of Convention 189, and to support a women's equality legislative agenda. They have also made international complaints to the OHCHR, with CEDAW, DESC and UPR reports, and have filed complaints with the ILO regarding the violation of the labor rights of working women in the country.
  • Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia in coordination with civil society organizations, legislative representatives, and feminist and women's rights movements, networks, and organizations have helped to decriminalize abortion in some states. Progress was made in laws on grounds for legal interruption of pregnancy in several Mexican states and decriminalization in the State of Oaxaca.
  • Centro Fray Julián Garcés Derechos Humanos y Desarrollo Local in Mexico successfully advocated for the approval of the State Program against Human Trafficking in the state of Tlaxcala. The Fray Julián Center coordinated the collective efforts of organizations, community groups, academics and academics to build the Civil and Academic Proposal of the State Program against Trafficking in Persons (2017-2018). 
  • Women Support Center in Kyrgyzstan in coordination with local NGOs deployed a successful advocacy campaign which led to 30% mandate for women's representation in local villages. The law was passed  on August 8, 2019. More than 10,000 signatures were collected in support of the bill. The organization also supports rural women, in 2019 training more than 200 women providing them with education and deepened leadership skills to be potential candidates for deputies of local keneshes in the upcoming elections.

Key wins

Strengthened coalitions and movement building for justice, gender equality and nonviolence

  • The  Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative (IMD) was co-founded by Just Associates (JASS) MesoAmerica in association with FCAM, AWID, Consortium Oaxaca, Collectiva Feminista en El Salvador and UDEFEGUA. JASS led coordination efforts of the regional alliance during the first eight years since its founding in 2009. Women human rights defenders (WHRD) have faced alarming increases of violence and homicides in the past decade, have a higher risk for violence in general, and states and duty bearers often act in impunity, disregarding growing rates of femicides, gender based violence and threats. The IMD has played a key role in documenting, collecting statistics and advocating for greater justice for women and women human rights activists at risk, raising awareness in the public, governments, media and civil society spheres. The movement building dimension of this work is powerful, bringing together over 150 women's human rights defenders and their organizations, in all six countries in MesoAmerica. IMD supports WHRD safety and security needs, deepens solidarity ties and support across countries, increases regional power and influence to greater impact national contexts and raises awareness of the violence and necessities of defence and protection and support of WHRDs nationally and regionally. 
  • Women Win developed a new feminist sports strategy in 2018, in collaboration with various actors from across the sports, women's rights, women's funds and sport for development sectors. One key element of the strategy has been to support the leadership development of young feminists in sport and to shift power and resources to them by establishing participatory grant-making funds. "We have to call out the huge influence of our partnerships with the women's funds and grassroots female leaders in formalising and pushing forward our feminist sports strategy. We started using sport with women's funds such as FCAM and Semillas 7 or more years ago and we learned a LOT from their experiences on the ground."
  • Ženski Centar Trebinje in Bosnia and Herzegovina initiated and signed an Agreement of cooperation, creating an organised structure to combat domestic violence in the country and offer better support to women survivors of domestic violence. Stronger cooperation  between police, government, civil society, and the Ženski Centar was established, deepening women's trust in these institutions and increasing requests for support and help. There were 63 signatories including: the Centre of Public Safety, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Centre for social welfare, the Out-patient clinic, Municipal authority, Office of the Public Prosecutor, media (including the TV departments in Trebinje), all primary and secondary schools, nurseries, kindergartens and the Red Cross in all six Municipality in East Herzegovina (Trebinje, Berkoviƒái, Nevesinje, Bileƒáa, Gacko and Ljubinje).

Key wins

Improved economic power and opportunities for women, including minority women

  • Pastoral Women's Council (PWC) in Tanzania established a microcredit funding program, allowing Maasai women a chance to own their own capital for the first time in their lives, which created ripple effects in their home and community. See the case study for more details!
  • Green Lane NGO in Armenia strengthened rural women's economic power and opportunities. Through their programming, rural women in Armenia were able to access new knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices, which improved innovative farming techniques and established more farmer cooperatives, reducing the collective environmental impact of their farming and directly contributing to sustainable environmental stewardship. One key highlight from this line of work is the Green Village brand. Ten women's groups from various rural communities have been supporting joint production of 18 commodities under this brand, and their network and reach is increasing.  
  • A women's rights organization in Mozambique implemented income generation and empowerment projects for rural women in the country. The project was funded by UN Women and resulted in diverse and positive outcomes, including increased production and incomes from their projects, and strengthened self-esteem due to income generation. Many women used the extra income to support their family's needs. Some women also started improving their nutrition diets, due to the nutrition education and short courses on alternative diets.
  • Asociación de Trabajadoras del Hogar a Domicilio y de Maquila -ATRAHDOM in Guatemala, over 10 years, have trained more than 15,000 women nationwide in labor rights through training workshops and coordinated through multi-sector alliance building. The results have been significant: two unions, pioneers in the areas of domestic work and maquilas have been legalized. In addition, ATRAHDOM organized a cooperative of women in a textile maquila to project their economic and social rights. Coordination and alliance building have been central strategies for achieving these successes; networks have been built with the municipal offices for women and the Presidential Secretary for women, with the Ministry of Labor, with women's organizations, unions and the peasant movement.
  • Association Découvrir has supported more than 3,000 qualified migrants (mainly women) since their founding in 2007 in their professional integration and integration efforts in three cantons of French-speaking Switzerland (Geneva, Neuchâtel and Vaud). According to migrant feedback, more than 40% of them have found a job corresponding to their level and area of ​​expertise. The strategies leveraged to achieve these successes focus on working in a network and in synergy with other associative and state structures, with a view to collaboration instead of competition in order to achieve the common objectives of integration, diversity and inclusion, equality, professional integration, awareness, and recruitment.
  • Association de solidarité et de lutte contre la pauvreté et l'exclusion "El Ghaith" increased income generating activities for young women and girls in Bordj Bou Arreridj. The women were provided with goats, sheep and bees and trainings to create diverse products, such as cheese, honey and wool through traditional weaving practices. A women's cooperative has been established to supply these 3 products. 

Key wins

Transformed behavioral and social norms change around gender-based violence

  • The SASA! programme in Uganda, facilitated by Raising Voices, has seen incredible success over two decades in eroding traditional beliefs on women and men’s roles in society, and has broken stigmas around gender-based violence. See our upcoming case study for more!
  • Gendes AC in Mexico engaged politicians and policymakers in masculinities awareness with a focus towards the reform of public policy to eradicate gender violence and achieve substantive gender equality. In alliance with the Network Cómplices por la igualdad (and Men Engage), these issues have been brought to Mexican Congress.
  • Safe Lives implemented a culture change programme to strengthen police response to domestic abuse for the entire country of Scotland and across the UK. Specifically, SafeLives has delivered the programme to 18 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales and the entire group in Police Scotland, reaching nearly 20,000 officers and staff that police a nation with a population of millions. There are strong signs of positive impact, with better rates in Scotland for the arrest and prosecution of the new offence of Coercive and Controlling Behaviour act than have been achieved in England and Wales, where the programme has only been adopted in some areas. Survivors were integral to the development of the programme and regularly reviewed the materials used, as well as were invited to feed back to Police Scotland regarding their performance. 

Key wins

Strengthened knowledge and feminist analysis in the public and policy space

  • Women's Fund in Georgia (WFG), a women's fund supporting women's rights organizations and movements, built new knowledge and analysis around environmental justice to lay the groundwork for further national, community and legislative action. WFG, with the support of Mama Cash and Filia.die frauenstiftung, completed the "Situation Analysis and Recommendations on Environmental Justice and Women's Rights in Georgia" investigating whether different types of environmental burdens unduly affect the quality of life of Georgian women, and if so, what are the main economic, social and cultural reasons for this. The analysis also investigated if the Georgian legislative framework and national policies have been adequately addressing the gender dimensions of environmental justice and climate change and its disproportionate impact on women. Gender and climate change is an understudied intersection with significant livelihood and security implications.  
  • International Women's Development Agency (IWDA) in Australia created the Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) to track mutlidimesional aspects of poverty and depriviation using a transformative feminist lens, opening up new spaces for policy debate, resourcing and action on the most marginalized.  See the case study here!
  • Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia in Mexico is a pioneer in the analysis and preparation of public budgets with a gender equity perspective, and has consolidated a method for mainstreaming the gender perspective within both public and private institutions. The organization has created methodologies and models in order to advise, support and provide tools to women's organizations, legislators and the government at its three levels (federal, state and municipal), for the construction of budgets and policies with a gender perspective.
  • Centro Fray Julián Garcés Derechos Humanos y Desarrollo Local in Mexico created a rights based model and training for adolescents in high risk schools to become champions to prevent the violence and trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation (2017-2019).  The model has also served as the basis for the coordination of the Program against Trafficking in Persons of the National Human Rights Commission to prepare and resulted in publishing the Manual of guidelines and tools to prevent trafficking in persons in the educational community.
  • Red de Acceso al Aborto Seguro Argentina (REDAAS) increased availability and access to academic and scientific research and information on women's sexual health and right to an abortion. Several technical documents have been prepared. The series of REDAAS Documents is intended for professionals to their work and advocacy in order to guarantee the exercise of the right to abortion for women, adolescents and girls in Argentina. The objective is to build better ethical, legal, clinical and health lines of argumentations for the clarification of values, awareness and training in the provision of safe and legal abortions.


Key wins

Mobilized greater resources for feminist social change and movements

A few examples of reformed laws and policies in our sample include:

  • Women in peacebuilding: Implementing UN Resolution 1325 adoption in Albania in 2018
  • Stronger laws protecting women that have experienced domestic violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina 
  • Right of women to choose, abortion rights in Mexico and Argentina
  • Increased land rights for women in Benin
  • 30% quota for women's political leadership in Kyrgyzstan
  • Established anti-trafficking policies in Mexico


  • Association of Women with Social Problems in Albania developed a National Action Plan for implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325, ensuring women's participation and representation in peacebuilding processes and protecting women and girls from war-related gender based violence. The organization established a coalition, comprised of 31 civil society organizations, called 'Women, Peace and Security' to advocate around peace and security issues. They also led in developing the first National Action Plan to implement Resolution 1325 in Albania with the support of UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.
  • Ženski Centar Trebinje in Bosnia and Herzegovina created stronger laws protecting women that have experienced domestic violence. Specifically they recommended specific legal amendments and lobbied regarding the Law on protection from domestic violence in the Republic of Srpska. The amendment extended the possibility for women victims of domestic violence to stay in safe houses beyond the current limit of 3 months with possible extension to 6 months to one year, significantly improving women's access to safety.
  • Association Nationale des Femmes Agricultrices Du Benin (ANaF-Benin) took a leading role in advocating for and increasing women's right to land. This significant achievement enabled some women today to recover their land which had been confiscated by men. This work was possible thanks to technical and financial partners such as: UN WOMEN, FES, AWAC, ECLOSIO, AP-OSP, COOPERATION SUISSE.
  • Asociación de Trabajadoras del Hogar a Domicilio y de Maquila -ATRAHDOM strengthened the legal framework in Guatemala and increased women's access to justice.  They have handled approximately 300 cases of legal support in complaints to date, both in labor courts and the General Labor Inspectorate. ATRAHDOM developed and deployed a political advocacy strategy targeting the Congress of the Republic, to achieve the ratification of Convention 189, and to support a women's equality legislative agenda. They have also made international complaints to the OHCHR, with CEDAW, DESC and UPR reports, and have filed complaints with the ILO regarding the violation of the labor rights of working women in the country.
  • Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia in coordination with civil society organizations, legislative representatives, and feminist and women's rights movements, networks, and organizations have helped to decriminalize abortion in some states. Progress was made in laws on grounds for legal interruption of pregnancy in several Mexican states and decriminalization in the State of Oaxaca.
  • Centro Fray Julián Garcés Derechos Humanos y Desarrollo Local in Mexico successfully advocated for the approval of the State Program against Human Trafficking in the state of Tlaxcala. The Fray Julián Center coordinated the collective efforts of organizations, community groups, academics and academics to build the Civil and Academic Proposal of the State Program against Trafficking in Persons (2017-2018). 
  • Women Support Center in Kyrgyzstan in coordination with local NGOs deployed a successful advocacy campaign which led to 30% mandate for women's representation in local villages. The law was passed on August 8, 2019. More than 10,000 signatures were collected in support of the bill. The organization also supports rural women, in 2019 training more than 200 women providing them with education and deepened leadership skills to be potential candidates for deputies of local keneshes in the upcoming elections.

Key wins

Improved environmental sustainability, stewardship, and/or agricultural practices

  • An organization in Cameroon worked with local authorities, religious leaders and women’s groups to reforest a region in the eastern part of the country by planting fruit trees. This group also helped to build water wells to improve WASH standards, and strengthen the environmental stewardship of rural women.
  • In Mozambique, a movement-based organization worked with rural women to advocate at the government level for their inclusion in political decision-making processes, creating an informal ‘Ministry’ where they can be heard and better organize themselves. This has resulted in increased political influence and improved their food security. Conversations around government funding for rural women have begun, but not yet materialized.  

Key wins

Expanded access to quality services, including reproductive and sexual health from a rights based approach

  • SafeLives, a nongovernmental organization based in the United Kingdom, has developed a model to drastically reduce and protect women that face domestic abuse. The 'Idva-Marac' model is a method where the most severe domestic abuse can be identified and properly responded to. The 'Idva' is an Independent Domestic Violence and Abuse Advisor, who walks alongside the victim/survivor of abuse to help them achieve safety. The 'Marac' is a multi agency risk assessment conference through which all agencies with ability and responsibility to safeguard someone do so. The Idva-Marac model saves lives and saves money. Two thirds of people supported this way said the abuse had been sustainably stopped. The costs to individuals and agencies of the abuse falls dramatically when this method is used. Over 65,000 adults, 95% of them women, were supported through this method in the UK in 2018/19 alone. Between them they had over 85,000 children who were also at risk from serious abuse. The Idva-Marac model continues to evolve, but has been associated with a significant decrease in the length of time women in England and Wales live in high risk domestic abuse situations. Recent independent audit work in Wales found the response about the model was 'overwhelmingly positive'. It has been adopted in adapted form in many countries around the world. SafeLives devised and codified the Idva-Marac response to high risk domestic abuse. The team worked hand in hand with survivors and specialist practitioners to remove barriers to a better, multi agency response, shortening by a half the length of time a woman in England/Wales waits to get effective help. Working in partnership has been vital. SafeLives worked closely with multiple frontline voluntary sector partners from around the UK and beyond, and also key statutory agencies such as the health service, housing, children's services, policing, probation. 
  • Indigenous Women Rising increased access to quality, rights-based sexual health education and resources for Native Americans. They have developed a Midwifery and Doula Fund to address key gaps in quality care for indigenous people that often occurs in a traditional hospital setting. Through the Fund they provide culturally sensitive support to pregnant and indigenous women in New Mexico and help them access quality care. Moreover, through their Abortion Fund, they have supported over 100 Native American with food and transportion assistance to get abortions, increasing access and support to women during a critical time. 

Most successful strategies to achieve key wins

Top Key Challenges

Organizations are addressing and strategizing around significant challenges to make bold transformative changes in women's rights and gender equality.

Voices of Change

''IWDA has played a lead role in ensuring the IDM is gender transformative, and in conducting country-level studies. We also represent the IDM in international spaces such as CSW and HLPF, as well as UN Statistics convenings.”

"The biggest problem for us is always finding the money for the planned activities. Other problems and obstacles are overcome by persistence. We do not give up until we reach our intended goals, even if it means a decades-long struggle (such as building a safe house for women and children victims of domestic violence)." Women's rights organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina

"Among other most perceptible challenges are the lack of sustainable financing (based on our experience, a minimum of 4-5 years are needed for a project sustainability, whereas most of the projects are financed for a maximum of 3 years), climate change which resulted in temperature decrease from 1 C to 2 C in some regions, an increasing number of hydroelectric stations, tree logging, mining, soil degradation and the distance of the beneficiary communities from big markets." NGO in Armenia

"The main challenge has been rapidly changing government policies on women's rights often causing clawbacks on progress of women rights as well as prevailing negative attitude of community members on women's and girls' rights.  Another challenge is lack of long-term funding to enable effective movement building and enhanced organization capacity to keep growing the movement." Women's rights NGO in Tanzania

"Competition for funding from large mainstream and non-feminist INGOs wanting to work on women's rights as there is a lot of donor attention on this. There is a co-opting of women's rights. Donors are often unaware of how to fund social movements."

Women's movement building organizations contribute to multiple SDGs, not only SDG5

Engaging with the SDGs

The majority of groups feel the SDGs are helpful for their work

Yes
26
No
3
Partially
12

Most frequently addressed SDGs

The SDGs are used in the following ways

What are the SDGs missing?

Women's movement building organizations in the sample highlight the following missing dimensions in the SDGs.

Native and indigenous empowerment

Diverse genders and sexualities

Fighting for access to abortion as a human right

Alliances and strategies for the women's movements

Mainstreaming of the gender perspective in all actions and activities of the government, in advancing women's rights and human rights

Empowerment and feminist strategic leadership of human rights defenders and activists, mainly defenders of land, territory and natural assets.

The involvement of men both in public policy and in the work of civil society against gender violence and in favor of gender equality.

Strategic leadership of human rights and indigeneous rights activists mainly of land, territory and natural assets