Supporting social movements to advance women's rights and gender justice - an approach for donors

Private and public donors have always played a part in progressive social movements, in particular by funding organisations that have either been created by movements, that provide services to movement members or the public or that are engaged in movement–building. The relationships between donors and movements, however, can be complex. Legal and policy frameworks around donor funding of civil society activities can affect both relationships within and strategies used by movements.

This Policy Brief highlights strategies donors can take to advance women’s rights and gender justice in movements, drawing from successful approaches, such as the Dutch government’s MDG3 Fund, supporting organisations with strong links to women’s movements and grass-roots women’s activism. Such approaches have resulted in significant advances in mobilising women’s goals for collective power for change, building alliances with other movements and organisations and strengthening women’s leadership.

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Advancing gender justice in social movements - an approach for social movement leaders

Many seemingly progressive social movements do not consider gender equality fundamental to achieving social justice. They have yet to make it a consistent priority in either their internal policies or their external change strategies. In some cases there is strong ideological resistance; in most cases, experience shows that gender justice is recognised as important but hasn’t received the attention or priority it deserves.

This Policy Brief is intended to support leaders in deepening their efforts to bring gender justice to their movements. The brief outlines political, cultural and learning strategies that can help movements to advance their gender awareness and proactive approach towards promoting women’s full participation and leadership.

By highlighting examples from Shack/Slum Dwellers International, Amnesty International, the CLOC-Via Campesina movement, the National Coordinating Committee of Indigenous Women and others, the brief illustrates that only by integrating gender justice, movements are able to fully achieve social justice in such areas as human rights, housing, the environment and secure livelihoods.

Download the Policy Brief for movement leaders