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Gender Equality

Advancing gender equality is central to human rights discourse and to Equitas’ work.

Our Impact around the World

All of Equitas’ international projects consider gender equality through an intersectional approach and integrate gender-based analysis. Equitas has a specific project dedicated to gender equality on the international level, Advancing Equality through Human Rights Education.


Discrimination and violence against women and girls are widespread, deep-rooted, and prevalent in many parts of the world.

Gender inequalities are also exacerbated when compounded by the effects of poverty, marginalization, and discrimination based on other grounds such as race, ethnic and religious identity, disability, age, class, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other marginalized identity. Through Advancing Equality through Human Rights Education, Equitas works in partnership with local organizations in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Haiti, Senegal and Tanzania to contribute to the empowerment of women and girls by providing them with the tools and knowledge to promote gender equality in their communities and around the world. Equitas strengthens women’s leadership through community mobilization activities for women and men that promote gender equality. Our work helps to strengthen collaboration between women’s organizations and human rights organizations, and to encourage decision-makers to respect their obligations related to gender equality. To achieve these objectives, we focus particularly on issues such as:

  • Violence against women and girls
  • Women’s participation in decision-making
  • Harmful traditional practices such as child and forced marriage  

Program pamphlet

Why Gender Equality?

(Click on the images to enlarge them or to scroll through)

Our Partners

The Advancing Equality through Human Rights Education project is funded by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

Local partners

Mouvement burkinabé des droits de l’homme et des peuples (MBDHP) – Burkina Faso

The Groupe d’appui aux rapatriés et réfugiés (GARR) and Partners for Engaged Citizenship – Haiti

Women’s Empowerment Link (WEL) – Kenya

The Rencontre africaine pour la défense de droits de l’homme (RADDHO) – Senegal

The Réseau Equitas Sénégal pour l’éducation aux droits humains  (RESEDHU) – Senegal 

The Comité de lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes (CLVF) – Senegal

TUSONGE Community Development Organization – Tanzania

Our Impact in Canada

Through our local programs, Equitas strengthens movements to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in Canada. In this past year, 78% of the 3360 youth reached through our Speaking Rights Community Action Projects were young women and girls. For example, Equitas collaborates with Quebec Native Women (QNW), an organization that defends the interests of Indigenous women and confronts issues that have historically and continue to have an impact on Indigenous women’s lives in Canada. QNW provides tools and resources to support young women’s leadership and to create dialogue among youth on important issues such as understanding identity, preventing violence and bullying, confronting discrimination and increasing youth participation in organizational decision making. After a Speaking Rights Training, QNW integrated tools and learning to better understand how young women experience violence and intimidation in their communities and launched a new bullying prevention project based on traditional Indigenous methods of conflict resolution. Equitas also joined a new Advisory Group for the project and continues to collaborate on this initiative. Additionally, as part of a new youth-led initiative and partnership with Equitas, QNW is working to create more equitable spaces through an anti-discrimination policy for their organizations to ensure greater inclusion of LGBTQI/two-spirited Indigenous peoples in communities across Quebec.


” By offering a secure space where members of the LGBTQI/two-spirited community could share their experiences and examples of best practices, we became a driving force for change in public opinion and within the Aboriginal community regarding sexual minorities. Through the promotion of environments that are more inclusive and secure, we will better insure the security, integrity and
dignity of all our people. “

– Program Manager, Quebec Native Women

9 ways Equitas advances gender equality through our programming and in our organizational practices (and how you can too!)


Terminology affects how we view the world, so using masculine pronouns by default reinforces socio-cultural gender divisions. Equitas created a Gender and Sexual Identity Lexicon, as well as a User Guide for Inclusive Language to standardize use of gender inclusive language within projects and programs and to ensure our communications reflect our worldview.



At the inception phase of each of our programs, we conduct a baseline analysis to better understand which barriers prevent women, girls and other marginalized groups from fully participating in their communities. To address these barriers, we strive for equal representation of women and men in program activities, while ensuring that women’s specific needs are being taken into account in decision making and project design.



The persistence and prevalence of discrimination and sexism in the daily lives of women is undeniable. Many women are victims of the cross-cutting effects of discrimination, based on their race, ethnic and religious identity, disability, age, class, and/or sexual orientation. Working to advance gender equality, we always consider intersectionality and ensure the most marginalized can fully participate in our programs.



Too often, women speak exclusively with other women about the inequalities they face, and in general, men speak about it far too little. Internally, we conduct staffwide discussions and training and develop tools to better integrate gender equality into our work, such as implementing our Gender Equality Action Plan and Gender Policy. Through our programs, we integrate gender equality as a central component in community mobilization and policy dialogues and include not only women but also men in discussions about gender inequality.



Women often miss out on opportunities for many reasons, such as systemic barriers leading to exclusion and marginalization, and internalized socially constructed barriers. To change this, the community initiatives carried out by our project partners focus on increasing political participation of women, promoting spaces for them to participate in activities traditionally reserved for men, increasing access to education for girls and giving visibility to initiatives conducted by women in the community.

What they say

Thiès, Senegal

“The discussions we had made me realize the tremendous mobilization of the various stakeholders to promote a greater empowerment of the women and girls in this community. ‘’
Christine St-Pierre, Quebec Minister of International Relations and the Francophonie during her visit of our projects on the participation of women and girls in Senegal (March 2016).

Montreal, Canada

“The [girls] learned a lot about different issues, like hypersexualization, sexism, egalitarian relationships, sexual exploitation, women’s rights. They developed critical thinking and analysis skills regarding these phenomena and then they became agents of change.”
Youth worker, Montreal, Canada on the Equitas Speaking Rights program (June 2016).


Learn more

Explore our work that focuses on gender equality and the empowerment of women and young girls in Canada, Senegal, Tanzania, Colombia, Haiti, The Middle-East and North Africa.    

SUPPORT our human rights education efforts for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in Canada and worldwide.

Give individuals like Soraya G. in Colombia and Esmeralda Pierre-Jérôme in Haiti the tools they need to take on a leadership role in defending and promoting gender equality in their communities.

Support our projects in Canada equipping young women and girls to be leaders today and tomorrow.

We can do it together. Donate now.

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