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Gender justice and inclusion

Unequal distribution of power and unfair abuses of power are at the heart of poverty. And one of the most pervasive inequalities in the world is that between women and men. Gender justice is, therefore, at the heart of Christian Aid’s work.

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.

Our approach

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)

'Women shouldn't just be a token. They should be seen as key players with lots of knowledge, experience and commitment.'
Shinkai Karokhail
One of the founding members and now director of our partner Afghan Women's Education Centre (AWEC)

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Aims of our inclusive programmes

Our approach to inclusive programming is built around four ‘pillars’ that inform our humanitarian and development work: 

  1. Challenge power imbalances - we design programmes which mitigate, address and ultimately tackle the power imbalances driving exclusion and inequality.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.  

‘We know that it is good for human flourishing that there is difference and diversity in the human community... when difference can be celebrated and lived bravely. It is a scandal then that our being gendered is so often experienced not as joy, but as a place of oppression.'
Theology Advisor, Christian Aid

Results

Here are a few of the highlights from our work on equality in 2015/16:

Influencing policy

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.

Women's networks

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.

Read the full Kailahun Women in Governance Network story

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. 

Christian Aid BUNERELA+ project in Burundi where religious leaders are raising HIV awareness

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.

Social exclusion

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.

Speaking out

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)

Current and past programmes

Resources

Published
A summary of Christian Aid’s vision and strategy for gender justice, and how this will be implemented.
Published
This report provides a theological underpinning for Christian Aid’s gender justice work.
Published
A presentation about what the minimum standards on age and disability inclusion mean for humanitarian programming.
Published
Power analysis is the frameworks, principles, knowledge and tools for understanding those who have the abilities to create or resist change.
Published
Women smallholder farmers are typically at the base of the agricultural economy. This guide outlines how you can integrate gender into inclusive markets development programmes.
Published
This paper aims to stimulate debate and offer guidance to those attempting a gender analysis of their own tax system.
Published
This guide for Christian Aid staff and partners explains what power is, why it is important, how and when to implement power analysis, and which tools to use.
Published
This occasional paper looks at women working in the informal sector in Ghana and their experience of tax collection.
View more resources

Want to know more? If you have any enquiries about our work, please contact us