We believe gender justice is more than achieving equality and fairness between women and men. Gender is a spectrum, which includes transgender women and men, intersex persons, as well as anyone who identifies outside of these definitions. We are committed to ensuring equality for all.
We also understand that people in poverty often face several, intersecting, inequalities based on their identities. We strive for a more inclusive world where identity – gender, ethnicity, caste, religion, class, sexual orientation, disability, age – is no longer a barrier to equal treatment.
We cannot stamp out poverty without addressing inequality.
We respect and defend the rights and dignity of all - from our work to challenge caste and gender-based discrimination in South Asia to defending the rights of transgender human rights activists in Central America.
Gender justice has been at the heart of our work for many years, but we have recognised that for programming to be truly transformative, it must also recognise the impact of other aspects of social vulnerability.
We tackle different aspects of inequality depending on the specific context, needs and opportunities for change. Some of our country programmes tackle gender-, race-, ethnicity-, caste- or religion-based exclusion, in others our work focusses on exclusion on the basis of sexual orientation or health status.
We press governments and global institutions to implement policies and laws that combat inequality and discrimination. Working through partnerships with churches and interfaith networks, we challenge intolerance and promote inclusion.
Leading the way
We are a member of the Age and Disability Capacity Building Programme (ADCAP) - a three-year programme to strengthen the capacity of humanitarian agencies to deliver inclusive emergency responses.
We are also committed to the ‘leave no one behind’ United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the Inclusion Charter, which sets out key steps to achieve impartial humanitarian response for the most vulnerable.
In depth information is available in the Christian Aid gender strategy (PDF)
Aims of our inclusive programmes
Our approach to inclusive programming is built around four ‘pillars’ that inform our humanitarian and development work:
Challenge power imbalances - we design programmes which mitigate, address and ultimately tackle the power imbalances driving exclusion and inequality.
Meaningful access and participation - we arrange access to impartial assistance and services, in proportion to need and without any barriers (i.e. discrimination, violence or exploitation). Paying special attention to facilitating the participation of individuals and groups who may be particularly vulnerable or excluded in some way.
We support the development of self-protection capacities and ensure active, inclusive and effective participation in decision-making at all stages.
Safety, dignity and do no harm - we aim to prevent and minimise unintended negative effects of the intervention/programme, which could increase people’s vulnerability to physical and psychosocial risks such as sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) or perpetuate inequality. Providing adequate, safe services and support which protect individual wellbeing, enhance community cohesion and help people to claim their rights.
Accountability - we set up appropriate mechanisms to measure the effectiveness of interventions, address concerns and complaints. Providing relevant information in a timely and appropriate manner and ensure that codes of conduct are well understood and applied effectively.
Here are a few of the highlights from our work on equality in 2015/16:
In 2015 we supported advocacy work in Zambia contributing to the ruling Patriotic Front party voluntarily adopting a 40% gender quota for candidates. Our partners also worked with the Vice-President to push through and enact the Gender Equity and Equality Act of 2015.
Since 2008 Christian Aid has been supporting our partner SEND to develop the Kailahun Women in Governance Network. As a result, the number of women councillors increased from three to 12 and 41% of councillors are now women.
Faith and gender
The influence of faith leaders on national debates can be profound. In 2015, we supported the establishment of Side by Side - an independent global faith movement for gender justice, made up of 33 member organisations (as of 2016).
We have seen faith leaders incorporate messages of gender equality in their sermons and national coalitions have begun to make an impact. In Kenya, failure by parliament to implement its constitution’s 'two thirds gender rule' was challenged by faith leaders in a joint public forum in August 2016. This collaboration of faith leaders led to #FaithForGenderJustice to start trending in Kenya with over 3.2 million hits - a reflection of the public’s continued interest on this matter as well as the influence that faith leaders have in championing gender justice.
Changing gender roles
In Kenya, we work with 177 members of the Maasai council of elders (traditional leaders) and 150 women leaders, to tackle gender equality and change attitudes and practices. Three women leaders have been invited to join the Maasai council of elders. This is the first time that women have been included in the all-male council.
Access to rights and services
In Mali, our partners have helped negotiate land titles for women, establish market gardens and form associations – giving women greater influence in their homes and communities.
Since 2009, our Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme in India has worked with 85 civil society organisations and more than 14,000 community-based organisations. We have reached 9 million people, empowering traditionally excluded groups to claim their rights and entitlements and find employment through government schemes.
We attended the UN special summit in September 2015, where world leaders adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We fought for these commitments to include stand-alone goals on gender equality and addressing inequalities, along with the principle that the new 2030 agenda should 'leave no one behind'.
For further information, read the Christian Aid Annual Report 2015/16 (PDF)