Women's Rights

Women are the powerhouses of developing countries: they produce most of the food, make up a third of the official labour force and care for families and homes. Through decades of development work, we recognize that investing in women means investing in men and children as well.

The majority of  the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty are women and girls. Systematic gender discrimination is a major cause of poverty. Oxfam Canada believes that ending global poverty begins with women’s rights.

Women today:

  • Make up two-thirds of the world's illiterate population
  • Comprise two-thirds of the exploited informal workforce
  • Occupy only 20% of seats in the world's parliaments
  • Represent only only nine per cent of the police and 27 per cent of all judges worldwide

Yet women are the powerhouses of developing countries: they produce most of the food, make up a third of the official labour force and care for families and homes. Through decades of development work, we recognize that investing in women means investing in men and children as well.

Oxfam believes that improving the social standing of women is essential to change and development in any country. In many cultures around the world, women live in an environment where they are subject to violence and abuse at the hands of men, and do not have the ability to control their own lives.

Ensuring women’s rights is the most essential and effective work Oxfam supports internationally. By giving women the tools to take an active and equitable role in their society, it becomes possible to effect a change across families, communities and entire cultures.  Bogaletch Gebre of KMG, an Oxfam partner agency in Ethiopia, talks about the social benefits of encouraging women’s rights.

What is Oxfam doing?

Oxfam Canada works with a range of organizations in the South,
in Canada and at the global level that have strong credentials
in promoting women's rights.

We focus on:

  • Women's rights and livelihoods
  • Women's rights and HIV/AIDS
  • Women's rights and humanitarian crises
  • Women's rights and participation
  • Women's rights and gender-based violence.

Ensuring women benefit from our work is such a vital part of what we do. All our projects - from food security projects in Cuba to rebuilding after an earthquake in Pakistan – are designed to ensure both women and men enjoy equal rights, opportunities and outcomes.

Engendering Change

Engendering Change is a five-year Oxfam Canada co-funded program with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), ending in 2014.

As part of this program, Oxfam Canada has been working to strengthen its partners – women’s organizations and civil society organizations – through Transformative Organizational Capacity Building.

At the core of the program is the belief that our partners are key actors in making change happen in their communities, and that they become stronger agents of change when their own organizational structures, policies, procedures and programming, are democratic and gender just.

Synthesizing the important and often surprising lessons it learned as part of the program, Oxfam Canada published the following resources:

The Conceptual Framework for Transformative Organizational Capacity Building presents Oxfam Canada’s approach to capacity building. It outlines how women’s organizations and civil society organizations can effectively advance their vision and mission on women’s rights and gender equality. It includes a capacity building model with five components we, and our partners, believe are essential for gender just organizational transformation.

The Gender Justice Toolkit provides tools and concepts designed primarily for practitioners managing relatively large, multi-year organizational capacity building programs on gender equality and women’s rights, but can also be used by any organization interested in strengthening its internal gender capacity.

 

 



Puntos de Encuentro is a feminist NGO operating in Nicaragua with support from Oxfam. Aymara Pineda describes some of the ways the organization works to achieve legal and cultural equality in their country.

 


 

Oxfam Canada Gender Justice page