Women’s rights organisations challenging violence | ActionAid UK

Women’s rights organisations challenging violence

Fighting violence against women and girls (VAWG) is complex and challenging — but it is not impossible. Fearless women and women’s rights organisations all over the world have been leading the fight back for decades, with real, tangible results

Local women’s rights organisations know better than anyone how to end violence against women and girls within their own communities. Their work is strategic, lasting and cost effective, and as a result they have transformed the lives of many of the most marginalised women and girls. But these organisations are critically underfunded. They receive only around 1.5% of aid money committed for gender equality worldwide. 

ActionAid recognises the crucial role played by women’s rights organisations across the world. We provide them with funding, training and support. We advocate for government and donor funding to be made available to these organisations, so that global commitments to eliminate violence against women and girls can be achieved. 

Why investing in women’s rights organisations is important

Investing in women’s rights organisations means that women are empowered to change their own lives. It enables women to collectively challenge violence, and the gender inequality that underpins it. 

Women’s rights organisations address the many forms of violence that women and girls face, in a holistic way. Their actions, from challenging social attitudes, to delivering frontline services to survivors, to political action, address the root causes of violence. They are able to tackle other forms of discrimination that increase women’s vulnerability to violence, such as class, caste, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation

Women’s rights organisations are key to ending violence against women

Investing in feminist movements and women’s rights organisations is the single most effective factor in creating progressive policies to end violence against women and girls.1 

The number of countries with domestic violence legislation has increased from 7 to 127 countries in the last 25 years.2 Collective action led by women’s rights organisations has been pivotal in securing this change.3

At a global level, pressure from women’s rights organisations and feminist movements helped secure a target dedicated to ending all forms of violence against women and girls under Sustainable Development Goal 5

Once these laws and policies are in place, women’s rights organisations then play a critical role in ensuring that they are implemented and enforced, making governments more accountable for women’s and girls’ rights. 

  • 1. Htun, M and A.L. Weldon (2012) The civic origins of progressive policy change: combatting violence against women in global perspective
  • 2. World Bank: Women, business and the law 2016, Getting to equal
  • 3. World Bank (2014) Voice and agency: empowering women for shared prosperity http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/gender/publication/voice-and-agency-empowering-women-and-girls-for-shared-prosperity


Page updated 13 May 2019