Women's rights

The potential for lasting change lies in the hands of millions of women currently living in poverty. That's why we put women's rights at the heart of everything we do.

Helping women worldwide

In 2012/13, with Oxfam's support, 1.7 million women were made aware of, and able to stand up for, their rights.

Speaking out for justice

In 2012/13, 430,000 women and men learnt how they can take action against gender-based violence.

The issue

The majority of people living in poverty are women. They tend to have fewer resources, fewer rights, and fewer opportunities to make life-shaping decisions than men.  And when emergencies strike, they're the worst affected. There are many, often complex, reasons why women are not reaching their full potential. Domestic violence, discrimination, and lack of education are among the biggest barriers

Women's skills, resilience, determination, and ingenuity are valuable - but greatly underused- resources to overcoming poverty.

Oxfam is committed to supporting  women claim their rights, and make decisions that affect their lives. Long-held and deeply entrenched prejudices will take time to break down. But we know it can be done.

What we're doing

Unlocking potential


Whenever and wherever we work with poor communities, we make sure that we consult and include women at every stage. Men are indispensable allies in this.

With an education under their belt, a whole generation of girls will have opportunities that their mothers never had. With literacy comes confidence and the chance to earn more money, become self-sufficient - and speak out against violence.

With laws and systems that guarantee better health care, fewer women will die in childbirth, and fewer children will die from easily preventable diseases.

With loans, seeds, tools, better farming techniques and business training, more women will be able to grow more food, and sew, craft, and make goods that they can market themselves.

And in emergencies, taking care of women's specific needs is vital for ensuring survival, good health and dignity. Employing their skills and knowledge makes communities more effective in recovering from disasters.


Women winners


Our vision is that by focusing on women's rights, many more women will gain power over their lives.

 In the past few decades we have seen the role and status of women change in many communities and countries around the world. Despite the many, often daunting challenges that lie ahead, there are many success stories:

Like Yemma Gharti. Yemma lives in one of the poorest and most remote regions of Nepal. Rainfall in the region is temperamental and unreliable, and Yemma struggled to feed her family. With training, seeds, and loans for tools, Yemma and her neighbours dug a community pond to irrigate their fields and are now growing plenty of nutritious vegetables. What's more, Yemma is taking advantage of the Oxfam-funded literacy classes and her self-esteem has never been higher.

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