Women’s rights

You’re more likely to be poor if you’re a woman. And if you’re a woman, you’re also likely to be doing most of the work.

Discrimination and injustice are major causes of poverty worldwide, and women and girls bear the brunt of it in all aspects of their lives.

  • About two-thirds of the 759 million adults who lack basic literacy skills are women  (UNESCO, 2010)
  • More than 350,000 women die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth — 99% of these are from developing countries (UN, 2010)
  • One third of families worldwide are now headed by women (UN, 2010)
  • One in every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime  (UN, 2010)
  • Of the 33.3 million adults living with HIV, 15.9 million are women. In sub-Saharan Africa, young women aged 15–24 are up to eight times more likely than men to be HIV-positive  (UNAIDS, 2010)
  • Women hold only 19% of parliamentary seats worldwide, and only 16% of ministerial posts. Globally only one quarter of senior officials or managers are women (UN, 2010)

That’s why ensuring women and men benefit equally from our work is such a vital part of what we do. All our projects — from supporting sustainable farming in Vietnam to working for peace in the Solomon Islands — are designed to ensure both women and men enjoy equal rights, opportunities and outcomes.

Find out how our work is addressing the issue of gender in order to lift both men and women out of poverty.


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