Womankind Worldwide is an international women's rights and development charity based in the UK. It partners with women’s rights organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, helping to challenge discrimination and violence. Womankind delivers support to these organisations by providing funding, expertise, contacts and publicity to help increase their impact and bring about change.
Mission and values
Womankind’s vision is of a world in which women are equal, secure, respected and proud. Through its partners Womankind aims to:
- End violence against women
- Increase women’s participation in society and politics
- Influence policy to secure women’s rights and development
In addition to providing support for partners Womankind lobbies the UK government, donors, the UN, international agencies and the EU to develop policies and services which promote and protect women’s rights and development.
Since 1989 Womankind has reached 12 million women and their families.
Projects and Partners
The charity currently works with more than 40 partner organisations in 15 countries:
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
Examples of the impact of Womankind's work through partners in 2011-12:
1. Ending violence against women
- In Afghanistan, Womankind’s partner Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children of Afghanistan opened a new legal advice centre for women in Jalalabad, helping more than 100 women and girls in its first year.
- Women trained by Womankind’s partner Red Ada in Bolivia broadcast 250 radio programmes about violence and political harassment - reaching isolated communities where there are high levels of violence against women.
- In Ghana, women have reported that physical violence has halved in several communities where Womankind’s partner the Gender Centre works. While in Ethiopia, the charity’s partners KMG and ICEDA have provided nearly 10,000 girls with school materials, fees and a safer school environment.
- Womankind’s partner DEMUS successfully campaigned for funding to develop better service provision for survivors of violence in one of the poorest regions of Peru.
2. Increasing women’s participation and political voice
- Its partner the Afghan Women’s Resource Center registered a new course for management and journalism at the STEP Institute in Kabul – with 94 students enrolled and seven staff recruited by the end of August.
- In Nepal, 2,690 women received leadership skills training from the Feminist Dalit Organisation (FEDO), supported by Womankind.
- In Zimbabwe, the Women in Politics Support Unit, Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association, helped form a coalition of women MPs and activists pushing for women’s rights to be included in the new constitution. Currently 80 per cent of their demands have been included in the draft document.
3. Influencing policy to secure women’s rights and development
- Womankind has helped its partners from Afghanistan, Ghana, Peru, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe to speak directly with senior UK civil servants and attend public events to share their expertise.
- It has worked closely with the UK government's Department for International Development (DFID) and Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) on several initiatives, including providing guidance on tackling violence against women and girls.
- Womankind’s Women’s Rights Advocacy Toolkit and training pack was developed and published in English, Spanish, Dari and Nepali. It is being used by Womankind partners, DFID country offices, the Gender and Development Network Campaigners’ Working Group, the Central America Women’s Network and Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) members.
Policy and Research
Womankind recognises that the underlying causes of inequality and discrimination against women will not be solved by simply providing services and running projects for women in developing countries. It is also essential to invest time and money into:
- shaping and influencing the laws and policies of decision-makers at all levels
- changing the way people think
A key focus of Womankind’s work is, to inform and influence policy and practice at the local, national and international levels, including providing a range of resources to that effect. Womankind's policy efforts at the national and international levels are informed by the work of its partner organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America and draw on the experiences and challenges faced by women in their everyday lives.
With the help of its partner organisations, Womankind created a Women’s Rights Advocacy Toolkit to help organisations plan and implement advocacy and campaigns on women’s rights. It is being used by Womankind partners, DFID country offices, as well as many other organisations across the world.
In conjunction with ActionAid and the Institute for Development Studies, Womankind produced 'From The Ground Up', a report focusing on women’s roles in peace-building in five different countries: Afghanistan, Liberia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sierra Leone. The research found that women are more likely than men to adopt a broad definition of peace which includes the household level and focuses on the attainment of individual rights and freedoms such as education, healthcare and freedom from violence.
Womankind also holds a range of resources provided by its partner organisations in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Womankind Worldwide was launched on International Women’s Day in 1989.
It was the brainchild of Sir Alec Reed of Reed Employment PLC. His aim was to set up a charity to support women in developing countries, which he would finance for three years through Reed Employment and through Reed Charity.
Since Womankind Worldwide started, it has provided funding, training, networking and learning opportunities to millions of women, girls and their families in Africa, Central and South America, South Asia, Eastern Europe, and the UK.
Womankind’s patrons include Kate Adie OBE, Helena Kennedy QC, Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, Professor Amartya Sen, Dr Kate Young.
Womankind Worldwide was the subject of the BBC Radio 4 Appeal in February 2011, presented by Sandi Toksvig.
- Online Discussion with Wikigender on "Transforming social norms to prevent violence against women and girls" (4-13 February 2013)