What Do Feminist and Women’s Rights Organizations Want From Partnerships With INGOs?

Publication date: 14 October 2022

Why invest in feminist movements & WROs?

It is widely agreed that the engagement, participation and leadership of women in every aspect of the climate movement – including climate policy, climate justice, climate finance and adaptation programmes – is vital. WROs around the world are best positioned to define and deliver ground-breaking programmes that address the root causes of gender inequality. An OECD report2 presents evidence that women’s rights activism and movements are key drivers of legal and policy change to address gender inequality, and that WROs are pioneers in designing effective and innovative approaches to advance gender justice, especially in the climate movement.

WROs have a deep knowledge of their communities and constituencies, and know the best strategies for driving long-lasting and sustainable change. In times of crisis and opportunity, WROs are important actors as they operate in many different contexts: rural, urban, conflict-affected, dealing with humanitarian crises, etc. They are often first responders in emergencies, supporting communities and women directly. At the local level, these organizations know and are trusted by the community, making them reliable sources of information. At the national level, they are advocating for investment, pushing for gender analysis and highlighting the gender dimensions of planning and policy. They are calling for the voices of WROs and feminist movements to be heard in the design of local, national and international responses to ensure that these reach and benefit all members of society.

INGOs largely recognize the value of WROs in leading the discourse around climate justice and see it as a gender justice issue, and this is visible and stated in their frameworks, strategies and visions. Yet despite these positive intentions, there is a clear disconnect between the acknowledged value of WROs in shaping discourse on climate justice, and the power and nature of opportunities ascribed to them to meaningfully contribute to that discourse. This paper seeks to explain why is there such a disconnect in the relationship between WROs and INGOs.