Gender equality

Why gender matters in development?

The majority of the world’s poorest people are women. Globally, women are less likely to be involved in decision-making, to own land or property or to have access to education and employment than men. Violence against women is one of the most widespread abuses of human rights globally. Confronted with this reality and with a mission to serve the poorest and most disadvantaged, CAFOD has prioritised its work with women and girls. 

Our vision is of a world where women are safe and respected and where women and men share equally in shaping their societies.

Tackling gender inequality is not just an issue for women - everyone suffers when so many people are prevented from realising their full potential. Equality is essential to tackle poverty, and both men and women need to be part of the solution.

Learn more about CAFODs tools in gender development.

Alongside our partner organisations, we address gender inequality in many ways, including:

  • Taking action on violence against women. We work with like-minded organisations to speak out on violence against women, on the ground our partners are providing medical help and counselling for survivors of violence and supporting local structures such as gender and peace networks.
  • Challenging economic, political and social barrier which stop women reaching their full potential.  Our partners are supporting women to access local markets, ensuring that girls affected by HIV can continue to receive an education and providing training so that women can start their own businesses.
  • Transforming unequal power relations between men and women, by promoting their voices, decision-making power and access to leadership roles in their communities. 

Read about our work with women and gender violence around the world:

CAFOD's Believe in Change gender equality toolkit

CAFOD’s Believe in Change toolkit is an inspirational guide for Catholic organisations and leaders to feel better equipped and confident to promote gender equality in their work using language, methods, values and theological reflections they can identify with. The tool uses partner case studies from across the world describing challenges and achievements of their gender work with a focus on rural women. The toolkit works on four levels – individual, family, community, society – and allows partners to reflect on gender roles and change harmful practices through the “pastoral cycle” of seeing, judging, acting and celebrating. These steps do not require outside experts, but rather build on individuals’ and groups’ own reflections of their convictions and practices in light of teachings found in the bible.

16 days of activism against gender violence

16 days of activism against gender violence is an annual global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action to end sexual and gender-based violence. The campaign starts on 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, International Human Rights Day. The dates symbolically link violence against women and human rights and emphasise that such violence is a violation of human rights. World Aids Day, 1 December, also falls within the period of activism.

CAFOD uses 16 days of activism against gender violence to speak out with like-minded organisations to raise awareness about gender-based violence, to share strategies and to demonstrate our solidarity with survivors.

Read our 16 days of activism against violence blog:

Resources on gender

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