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Our approach

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 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.

How we work

What we do

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 focuses 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.

We work with and train faith leaders and faith-based organisations to understand and address inequitable social norms and harmful practices.

Leading the way

We were 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.

Women shouldn't just be a token. They should be seen as key players with lots of knowledge, experience and commitment.

- Shinkai Karokhail, Founding member and now director of our partner Afghan Women's Education Centre.

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 that 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 (ie 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 we've achieved

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.

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 43 member organisations (as of 2018).

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.

Find out more about our work with faith leaders

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

Our Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme in India worked with 85 civil society organisations and more than 14,000 community-based organisations. We 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'.

Blogs and stories

List articles – by theme

Christian Aid's Annual Lecture 2023

A breakdown of Deputy Secretary-General's lecture 'Here I Stand: Women's Advancement and Role in Tackling Climate'.

The erosion of multilateralism and the betrayal by the Global North

This essay discusses how global power imbalances, an elitist disdain for democratic and universal processes and solutions, the rise of fundamentalisms, and overburdening of social movements

A feminist social contract in the globalised world

Focused on Latin America this essay explores the gendered impacts of rising inequalities and how inequalities in the region effectively create a situation of segregation along lines of race or gender.

Reimagining a feminist social contract in fragile and conflict settings

This essay focuses on social contracts in fragile and conflict settings.

The Rights-Based Economy and the feminist social contract: natural allies?

This essay explores how the Rights-Based Economy has potential to contribute to economic transformation, and to help identify and facilitate points of alignment.

Our programmes

List Programme reports – by theme of work

Accelerating Localisation Through Partnerships

Accelerating Localisation Through Partnerships aims to foster the power of strong partnerships between national and local NGOs and INGOs.

Breaking the Barriers

The Breaking the Barriers programme aims to increase rural women's jobs and income in the sustainable energy sector.

Collective action for adolescent girls, Nigeria

In 2017, ITL began funding a new project in northern Nigeria, where child marriage is rife, focusing on girls aged 10-19.

Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development (ECID)

ECID is a four-year programme funded by the UK Government which aims to reduce poverty, realise rights and improve the well-being of the most marginalised in Myanmar, Nigeria and Zimbabwe

In Their Lifetime (ITL)

In Their Lifetime (ITL) is Christian Aid’s innovation fund, testing new, previously untried approaches to tackling poverty and scaling up the ones which work.

Reports and resources

List Resources – by theme of work

Gender Justice capability statement

Find out how we have been, and will continue to be, breaking barriers for women around the world.

Prayer for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Join us in prayer for 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Christian Aid Nigeria programme strategy: 2019-2026

An overview of the vision, mission and strategy of the Christian Aid Nigeria programme for 2019-2026.

Corporate approaches to addressing modern day slavery

Corporate approaches to addressing modern day slavery

The Scandal of Inequality

Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean is deep and widespread; it has a great effect on the lives of many across the region.

Generando Empresas y Derechos Humanos

The UN Business and Human Rights Framework must respond better to the negative impacts of business on the rights of women. (Spanish)
Want to know more?

If you're interested in any aspect of our work, we'd love to hear from you.