Gender Justice

Challenging patriarchal or other structures of power and creating an enabling environment for gender justice requires interventions at multiple levels: societal, community, household and individual.

ACT Alliance wants to counter the backlash against women’s rights, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights, by creating a new narrative that positions faith-based actors and communities at the center of a transformative process. We want to be part of the solution.

ACT Alliance is committed to ensure gender equality and identity as common values and inalienable human rights. For this reason ACT Alliance has launched its Gender Justice Programme to challenge patriarchy and other discriminatory structures of power and oppression.

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When it comes to discrimination, women and girls suffer the most; particularly those part of historically marginalized groups. We need to break this cycle of injustice.

Thematic areas


Sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. Worldwide, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.

 

Why it’s important

 

• Sexual and gender-based violence undermines not only the safety, dignity, overall health, and human rights of the individuals who experience it, but also the public health, socioeconomic well-being, and security of communities.

• While the nature and extent of specific types of gender-based violence vary across cultures, countries and regions, it is prevalent everywhere. It knows no social, economic or national boundaries.

• Sexual and gender-based violence is a reflection of historically unequal power relations between men and women. Evidence has shown that men who witnessed their fathers using violence against their mothers, and men who experienced some form of violence at home as children, were significantly more likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence in their adult relationships.

 

What we are doing to help

 

ACT Alliance believes in an end to gender inequality, injustice and gender-based violence. Addressing the root causes and mitigating the risk factors is key to prevention work. ACT Alliance is working with its members to enhance preventive measures based on an ethic of resistance to injustices. Faith-based organizations have an ethical obligation to critically work on dismantling the dangerous connections between religion and culture that relegates women to the private sphere, where violence most frequently occurs. Challenging cultural norms and stereotypes that are condoning or justifying violence against women and people of non-conforming sexual orientation is crucial to promote human rights for all.


Sexual rights are the rights of all people to decide freely and responsibly on all aspects of their sexuality, including protecting and promoting their sexual health, being free from discrimination, coercion or violence in their sexual lives and in all sexual decisions, expecting and demanding equality, full consent, mutual respect and shared responsibility in sexual relationships. Reproductive health rights concerns the complete physical, mental and social well-being including the concerns of persons with disabilities (PWDs), in all matters related to the reproductive system including a satisfying and safe sex life, capacity to have children and, freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.

 

Why it’s important

 

  • While maternal mortality has been decreasing consistently since the 1990s, close to 300,000 women lose their lives to pregnancy or childbirth causes. Most of these deaths and injuries are considered preventable.
  • Over 200 million women worldwide, many of whom live in poverty, lack access to family planning services and products. 
  • To maintain sexual and reproductive health, people need access to accurate information and safe, effective, affordable and acceptable options. People must be informed and empowered to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections. And when deciding to have children, women must have access to services that can help them have safe pregnancies and healthy babies.

 

What we are doing to help

 

ACT Alliance is committed to continuous dialogue, based on love, trust and transparency, within the alliance itself, with partner organizations and churches, to strive towards a change in societal norms, harmful attitudes about gender roles, including masculinities, reproductive choices, human sexuality, bodily autonomy, child marriage and stigmatization of HIV and AIDS, among other issues. ACT Alliance is supporting members to address the realisation of reproductive justice and access to sexual and reproductive health services by challenging inequitable attitudes on gender roles in relationships associated with risk such as increased sexual risk behaviour, low rates of contraceptive use, increased unwanted pregnancies and higher rates of HIV infection.


Family law is a body of rules, laws, regulations, customary and uncodified laws and practices that govern relationships within family units. It includes, but is not limited to, areas of marriage and family relations such as rights of women and men entering into marriage, divorce, custody and guardianship of children, property rights, as well as equal rights to inheritance.

Why it's important

  • Family laws that discriminate against women and girls can lead to gender gaps in indicators such as educational attainment, economic participation and opportunity, health and survival, and political empowerment. 
  • According to UN Women, more than 2.5 billion women and girls around the world are affected in multiple ways by discriminatory laws and the lack of legal protections.
  • Evidence and practice has shown that gender equality is good for the family, for society, for the economy, and for a country’s prosperity and well-being. Despite this, many governments and community leaders are still opposed to change and reform that could lead to improved lives.

What we are doing to help

ACT Alliance is a participating member in a Global Campaign for Equality in Family Law that seeks to bring justice and equality to the family. In addition to this and other advocacy work, ACT Alliance’s support to members to address issues that are specific and relevant to their local cultural and context such as local laws and practices that impact the family, like inheritance laws and unequal access to land. ACT alliance is supportive to galvanise international action to build momentum among civil society, governments and the UN system on the urgent need for family law reform. 

Resources


Economic rights are fundamental human rights. Yet around the globe, women are more likely to live in poverty than men. More women work in vulnerable, low-paid, or undervalued jobs.

Why it's important

  • In the majority of countries, women’s wages represent between 70 and 90% of men’s, with even lower ratios in some Asian and Latin American countries.
  • As of 2011, 50.5% of the world’s working women were in vulnerable employment, often unpro- tected by labour legislation, compared to 48.2% for men. Women were far more likely than men to be in vulnerable employment in North Africa (55 versus 32%), the Middle East (42 versus 27%) and sub-Saharan Africa (nearly 85 versus 70 per cent).
  • Women bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work. Women devote 1 to 3 hours more a day to housework than men; 2 to 10 times the amount of time a day to care (for children, elderly, and the sick), and 1 to 4 hours less a day to market activities. (UN Women)

What we are doing to help

Many of our members develop projects specifically targeted at the economic empowerment of women in different communities. Many are developing trainings on sustainable farming for women to grow for their family and the market, others helped negotiate land titles for women. We assist women  in turning their income generating activities into small businesses, securing their access to finance opportunities and useful technologies.

Resources


Economic justice has three different levels: macro, meso and micro. At the micro-level, we need to take into account women’s agency and the need to create enabling conditions for economic self-empowerment. At the meso-level, we need to take into account the role of governments and the public sector in the delivery of social protection services that frees up women’s time and resources to engage with the formal economy. And, lastly, at the macro-level, we need to take into account the structures of power responsible for poverty and marginalisation, re-thinking our current economic model in order to create a human rights-centred economy that puts people and climate at the centre.

 

Why it’s important

  • In the vast majority of countries, women’s wages represent between 70 and 90% of men’s, with even lower ratios in some Asian and Latin American countries.
  • As of 2011, 50.5% of the world’s working women were in vulnerable employment, often unpro- tected by labour legislation, compared to 48.2% for men. Women were far more likely than men to be in vulnerable employment in North Africa (55 versus 32%), the Middle East (42 versus 27%) and sub-Saharan Africa (nearly 85 versus 70 per cent).

Women bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work. Women devote 1 to 3 hours more a day to housework than men; 2 to 10 times the amount of time a day to care (for children, elderly, and the sick), and 1 to 4 hours less a day to market activities. (UN Women)

 

What we are doing to help

Economic rights are fundamental human rights. Many of our members develop projects specifically targeted at the economic empowerment of women in different communities. Many are developing trainings on sustainable farming for women to grow for their family and the market, others helped negotiate land titles for women. We assist women in turning their income generating activities into small businesses, securing their access to finance opportunities and useful technologies. ACT Alliance is engaged in promoting social justice, human rights and sustainable development. The gravity of the suffering of all people demands us to raise our voices in the face of the political and economic powers that cause injustice and inequality.

Resources


Masculinities refers to the particular patterns of attitudes and behavior that are associated with ideals about how boys and men should behave and their position within gender relations. Women and men across the world are looking to shift from a masculinity that relies on dominance and abuse to traditional masculinities of mutual respect and understanding. Transformative masculinities are essential for the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. 

 

Why it’s important

  • Dominant forms of masculinity are often associated with gender-based violence, oppression of women and girls and dangerous sexual and reproductive practices. 
  • Faith-based groups around the world are contributing to tackling endemic gender-based violence and toxic masculinity. Action by men and boys is crucial to achieve gender justice.
  • Men continue to hold a greater percentage of positions of leadership. As such, men are in a crucial position to address gender justice and bring forward respectful masculinities to workplaces and communities. 
  • For men, negative stereotypes of masculinity can result in harmful emotional impact. Beyond the self, this can perpetuate generational cycles of violence and harm on families and communities.

 

What we are doing to help

ACT Alliance supports programs that integrate transformative masculinities and challenge andro-centric, patriarchal concepts of masculinity (power-over and domination) violate the full range of biblical, theological or cultural concepts of what it means to be human, and therefore do violence to boys and men by restricting their experience of being a human being, a creature made for mutuality, care and interdependence.

Resources

Latest News

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Team 

Francesca Traglia

Francesca Traglia

Project Coordinator, Gender Justice
Global
Geneva, Switzerland
Elaine Neuenfeldt

Elaine Neuenfeldt

Programme Manager, Gender Justice
Global
Geneva, Switzerland
Daniela Varano

Daniela Varano

Communications Coordinator
Global
Geneva, Switzerland

Francesca Traglia

Francesca Traglia

Project Coordinator, Gender Justice
Global
Geneva, Switzerland
Elaine Neuenfeldt

Elaine Neuenfeldt

Programme Manager, Gender Justice
Global
Geneva, Switzerland
Daniela Varano

Daniela Varano

Communications Coordinator
Global
Geneva, Switzerland

Francesca Traglia

Francesca Traglia

Project Coordinator, Gender Justice
Global
Geneva, Switzerland
Elaine Neuenfeldt

Elaine Neuenfeldt

Programme Manager, Gender Justice
Global
Geneva, Switzerland
Daniela Varano

Daniela Varano

Communications Coordinator
Global
Geneva, Switzerland