Oxfam Canada works for women's rights every day of the year
Seventy per cent of the 1.3 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.
- Make up two-thirds of the world's illiterate population
- Comprise two-thirds of the exploited informal workforce
- Own one per cent of the world's resources and earn one-tenth of the world's income
- Occupy only 18% of seats in the world's parliaments
- 70% of the worlds poor are women
- 80% of the worlds refugees are women and girls (UNHCR 2002)
- Violence kills more than twice as many women aged 15-44 every year than do malaria and war combined (WHO 2005)
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. In Nicaragua, Oxfam partner agency Men Against Violence is working to change the attitudes and behaviour of men in order to establish a safe and equitable place in society. Alexander Xavier Monoz Chavez speaks about the problems caused by violence against women, and discusses the important change which his organization has begun.
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.
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.