Issues Affecting Women  Overview  /  Our Strategy  /  Where we fund  Our Stories

ISSUES AFFECTING WOMEN

OUR STRATEGY

Women and girls throughout the world continue to experience violence, discrimination, inequality, and poverty. Despite the existence of international covenants, regional treaties and domestic laws intended to codify and realise women’s human rights, the reality is that women and girls are routinely unable to claim their basic rights.

PRIORITY AREAS

Movement building

The movement-building pillar aims to create strong, visible and effective women’s movements that are unified by rights-based principles and that help to ensure the physical, social, economic and political rights of women. A major component of this pillar is women’s funds, which are international, regional and national grant-makers that support local women’s groups working towards women’s empowerment, rights and equality. These funds invest in women and in women-led solutions and build the capacities and leadership of women-oriented grassroots groups.

 

We are also committed to supporting women’s organisations, coalitions and networks that aggregate and amplify the voices of grassroots women’s rights activists at global levels, linking and strengthening these individual parts to build strong, vibrant and resilient women’s rights movements.

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Crisis situations

We seek to provide flexible and responsive support in crisis zones where violence against women is systematic and stands in the way of rights-based recovery. Examples include in conflict, post-conflict, refugee and immigration settings, and following natural disasters.

 

Intra-familial violence

We define intra-familial violence as any violence that affects women in their private lives. This includes family and intimate partner violence as well as violence stemming from culture, religion or tradition. We support organisations and networks that advocate for the adoption, implementation and enforcement of domestic violence legislation.

 

We commit our resources to strengthening organisations that meet the needs of victims of violence through services that are coordinated and comprehensive and which promote the agency and self representation of survivors within a rights based framework. To that end, we also support these organisations and their networks in advocating for the effective adoption, implementation and enforcement of domestic violence legislation including ensuring the sustainability of their services through public funding.

 

We are also committed to addressing the root causes of intra-familial violence by investing in initiatives that create awareness among women and girls of their rights, promote a “positive masculinities” approach and offer services to violent and abusive men who want to change their behaviour.

 

 

In the Issues Affecting Women Programme (IAW), we fund two priority areas (pillars): movement building and ending violence against women. Within the first pillar, we fund initiatives that promote movement building through women's funds, "anchor” women’s organisations and networks. Within the second pillar, we focus more specifically on: human trafficking and exploitation; intra-familial violence; and violence against women that takes place in situations of crisis.

 

Within these two pillars, we provide core support and project funding. We commit our resources to organisations that work within a rights-based framework.

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Ending violence against women

Within this pillar, we focus specifically on the following:

 

Trafficking and exploitation

We recognise that human trafficking is fuelled by complex and interconnected factors. We believe that a rights-based approach is fundamental to combating human trafficking and ensuring justice for trafficked persons. We also recognise the importance of supporting women who experience severe forms of exploitation in informal or unregulated industries, as well as those who may not qualify as victims of trafficking, as defined by the Palermo Protocol.

 

We are committed to supporting initiatives that prevent trafficking and exploitation by raising awareness of the patterns and factors that lead to trafficking and exploitation, and engaging with and empowering groups of women most at risk: women migrants, sex workers and domestic workers. We also work to link organisations and networks.

 

Please visit our trafficking and exploitation section for more information on our strategy for combating trafficking and exploitation.

Women’s funds are international, regional and national grant makers that support groups working towards women’s empowerment.  They invest in women and in women-led solutions and build the leadership of grassroots groups that address the issues of women and girls within their context.

 

The first women’s funds were established in the 1970s by women who saw that little mainstream philanthropic funding was being specifically targeted at women and girls. To address these gaps, these women created vehicles to redress this funding imbalance and to provide a new “gender lens” in philanthropy.

 

Thirty years later, not only has the number of women’s funds grown rapidly, but the total giving by women’s funds, particularly in the South, has increased at a faster rate than foundation giving on the whole.  The distinctive contributions of women’s funds stem from the overall impact of their grant-making as well as the strides they have achieved in gaining recognition for the importance of investing in women and girls as essential solution-builders. The growth of women’s funds likewise suggests that funders are becoming increasingly awaare of the potential for accelerating social change by investing in women and women-led organisations.

What we fund

in the Issues Affecting Women Programme, we currently fund a number of women’s funds operating in the global south and east, including the two international women’s funds, Mama Cash amd Global Fund for Women. We also fund the International Network of Women’s Fund, which seeks to strengthen the capacity and impact of women’s funds worldwide by providing mechanisms for emerging and established funds to share experiences, test ideas, and promote understanding of women's rights activism, feminism and philanthropy.

Most women’s funds function as both fundraisers and grant-makers, amassing and investing resources for the benefit of women and communities. The capacity of women’s funds is broad and deep — broad enough to propel worldwide transformation and deep enough to engage and empower women on the ground. Thus, this movement unites money, ideas and action to create lasting change for women, girls, their families and communities.

 

 

GRANT-MAKING FOR TRAFFICKING AND  EXPLOITATION

In the Issues Affecting Women Programme, we recognise that human trafficking is fuelled by complex and interconnected factors and believes that a rights-based approach is fundamental to combating human trafficking and ensuring justice for trafficked persons. We also recognise the importance of supporting women who experience various forms of exploitative working conditions in informal or unregulated industries, but who may not qualify as a victim of trafficking under the legal definition of the Palermo Protocol. Our primary concern is the well-being, recovery and empowerment of women and girls who find themselves in all kinds of exploitative situations where their rights are being violated.

 

We provide financial support and seek to strengthen the institutional capacities (including the sustainability) of those organisations and networks that adopt or strive to adopt a rights-based approach to providing comprehensive, coordinated and client-centred services to victims of trafficking and exploitation. This rights-based approach encompasses an engagement with victims that promotes the agency and empowerment of survivors. It also informs advocacy for the adoption and effective implementation of anti-trafficking legislation and policies that place a trafficked person’s priorities and best interest at the centre of anti-trafficking work and recognise the need to protect and assist the victims of all forms of trafficking.  We further support survivors and groups likely to be affected by anti-trafficking policies.

We are also committed to supporting initiatives that prevent trafficking and exploitation by:  creating greater awareness of trafficking patterns through education, research, training and outreach, engaging with and empowering groups of women at risk of trafficking such as women migrants, asylum seekers, sex workers and domestic workers, and broadening the understanding of the factors of vulnerability that lead to patterns of trafficking and exploitation. One such factor is the violence and abuse a woman may experience in childhood and/or in previous intimate relationships. Another factor of vulnerability is the migration process itself as women now constitute half the international migrant population and are often compelled by economic factors to migrate via unsafe routes and in hazardous conditions to forge a new life for themselves and their families.

 

We are also working to link organisations and networks that are active in countries of origin, transit and destination to promote the creation of formal connections, allow the exchange of information to inform prevention and advocacy activities, and improve the effectiveness of services to women victims of violence through the sharing of lessons learned and best practices. To date, we have already promoted this kind of networking and coalition building between the U.S., Mexico & Central America and in the Balkans between Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia.  We have also begun supporting transnational projects that include multi-national stakeholders and advocacy strategies. Finally, our programme supports evidence-based research and innovation in the field—for example, deconstructing the relationship between trafficking and masculinity to improve our understanding of the psychological, cultural, social, and economic motivations of men that participate in the trafficking of women and girls.

 

 

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Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, Africa, India and North America, we make grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

 

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Crisis situations

We seek to provide flexible and responsive support in crisis zones where violence against women is systematic and stands in the way of rights-based recovery. Examples include in conflict, post-conflict, refugee and immigration settings, and following natural disasters.

 

Intra-familial violence

We define intra-familial violence as any violence that affects women in their private lives. This includes family and intimate partner violence as well as violence stemming from culture, religion or tradition. We support organisations and networks that advocate for the adoption, implementation and enforcement of domestic violence legislation.

 

We commit our resources to strengthening organisations that meet the needs of victims of violence through services that are coordinated and comprehensive and which promote the agency and self representation of survivors within a rights based framework. To that end, we also support these organisations and their networks in advocating for the effective adoption, implementation and enforcement of domestic violence legislation including ensuring the sustainability of their services through public funding.

 

We are also committed to addressing the root causes of intra-familial violence by investing in initiatives that create awareness among women and girls of their rights, promote a “positive masculinities” approach and offer services to violent and abusive men who want to change their behaviour.