Transformative Leadership for Women’s Rights Theory of Change

by Oxfam Canada | November 5, 2021

Transformative Leadership for Women’s Rights Theory of Change

by Oxfam Canada | November 5, 2021

Women’s rights organization (WRO) leaders in Pakistan gathered for a co-creation workshop to develop their projects for the Women’s Voice and Leadership program. Photo: Megan Lowthers, Oxfam Canada.

Women’s rights and feminist organizations and movements have been recognized as vital catalysts for progressive change towards gender equality. However, only 1% of gender equality funding currently goes to WROs. In a context of shrinking civil society space in many countries and global spaces, Women’s Human Rights Defenders’ (WHRD) work and personal safety are often under attack, putting them at risk of burnout, physical violence, and sometimes death.

In the wake of growing conservatism and rising right-wing populisms, we are also seeing backlashes against gains made for gender equality, illustrating the need to support WROs and WHRDs, to hold the line, and defend previously hard-fought gains. This must be done while continuing the work to fully realize women’s rights and gender justice and ensuring the safety of WHRDs who do this work, including women-centered programs and projects.

Transformative Leadership for Women’s Rights is an approach and strategy for social justice which challenges and transforms power relations and structures (in all their different manifestations) into an enabling environment in which gender justice and women’s rights can be achieved. It embodies the principles and values of human rights, gender equality, participation, collaboration, and respect for the dignity of all people. Oxfam Canada’s TLWR programming works with WHRDs, WROs and CSOs, and feminist movements to bring about fundamental change, and facilitates collective efforts to transform inequitable institutions whether it is in the home, the community, or beyond.

This resource outlines Oxfam Canada’s Theory of Change for its Transformative Leadership for Women’s Rights programming. A theory of change shows how we expect outcomes to occur over the short, medium and long term as a result of our work.

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Oxfam Canada’s TLWR programming is supported by contributions from the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada, and Oxfam donors. 

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Oxfam Canada

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