Aim 3: Influence policy
Womankind believes that laws and policies intended to regulate all our lives should be examined to ensure they protect women and support their efforts to improve their lives and those of their families and communities.
This is particularly true when decision-makers, and the people who put policy into practice, like the police, are often men. Put simply, if women’s voices are not part of the picture, then policy and practice risk overlooking women’s priorities, experiences and rights.
Taking women’s views to decision makers
Womankind takes women’s grass-roots experiences and viewpoints to national and international decision makers, ensuring that women’s real lives are included in political discussions – even when discussions are far removed from the places and contexts within which those women are living .
For example, every year we support women to attend the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York. This is dedicated exclusively to the advancement of women and is the main global policy-making body. It brings together governments and women’s organisations to assess progress for women, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote women worldwide. It also gives women the opportunity to speak directly to a broad range of international and national decision makers.
Our mandate comes from real women
- Is what you are doing aiding, overlooking or even impeding women?
- And how do you know?
These are two questions we encourage policy-makers and funders, in the UK and in developing countries to ask themselves. We use insight drawn from the lives and views of the women we work with to help them answer these questions, and to take new issues to them.
For example, in Ethiopia, we helped young women meet with MPs to tell them first-hand about the harmful effects of female genital mutilation, marriage by abduction and rape on their lives. They have now achieved many changes in the law.
Monitoring, evaluation and sharing
All the projects we fund are carefully monitored and evaluated, and we are eager for others to take what they can from our experiences. We produce reports and publications that show what we have learnt, and share them with others. And we bring together our partners from different countries to share ideas and best practice. In this way, for example, a proven approach to help Peruvian women tackle domestic violence can be replicated by an NGO in South Africa – and can be used to persuade government purse-holders to invest in it.
Following a request by the government, Womankind Ghanaian partner, WiLDAF, secured parliamentary and public support for the first female Speaker of the Ghanaian parliament.
After WiLDAF’s effective campaign in 2009, Justice Bamford Addo became the first woman Speaker.
Following her election, WiLDAF staff made many TV and radio appearances to promote the significance of the appointment. Ghana’s women MPs also say they are now experiencing big improvements in parliament.