Gender Equality

We will only end poverty when we end gender inequality. Here’s how that works.

Every program that Concern implements is designed to be not only gender sensitive, but gender transformative. 

We don’t simply work around existing gender differences or inequalities. Instead, we critically examine and challenge gender norms and dynamics in order to build equity and make greater, more sustainable progress towards ending extreme poverty. Where it makes sense, we also build and strengthen systems to support that level of equality.

Stand with us for gender equality

How We Do It

Livelihoods and Skills Training

Time and again, the data have shown that, when women are able to enter the workforce and have the skills, assets, and support to do so, economies improve. However, in many of the world’s poorest economies, there are barriers to women achieving economic parity.

We work in communities to challenge harmful gender norms that keep women from finding work, earning an equal salary to that of their male counterparts in similar job roles, and from thriving in their livelihoods. We provide supplies to women farmers, such as tools and seeds, as well as training in methods of conservation agriculture that can help them increase their harvests.

For women displaced by conflict, such as the millions of Syrian women living as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, we offer skills trainings in areas like dairy production and sewing and embroidery, as well as coaching in basic business and job-finding skills. This allows them (many of whom are now the head of their household) to earn a steady income while living in displacement, and also gives them practical skills that will be equally vital when they return to rebuild their home country and economy.

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Girls’ Education

Multiple factors lead to a gender gap in education, including child marriage, lack of access to educational facilities in remote villages, gendered violence in the classroom, and limited sanitation measures that are especially important for adolescent girls (many of whom miss school during their menstruation cycles).

We work to bring quality education to all children in the communities where we work, but focus especially on the barriers that prevent girls from staying in the classroom. We ensure that there are safe and sanitary facilities for young women to tend to their hygiene, work with communities to change attitudes towards forced and early marriage, and engage caregivers to support their daughters’ education at home. In Sierra Leone, we are currently in the middle of a multi-million dollar pilot program to reduce school-related gender-based violence that we hope to adapt for other countries and contexts.

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Health & Nutrition Support

In many of the countries where Concern works, access to quality maternal healthcare is poor. Pregnant and lactating mothers (especially adolescent girls 18 and under) face a multitude of barriers when seeking care. As such they’re at increased risk for poor maternal health outcomes, including disease and death.

Based on decades of experience, Concern has adopted an integrated approach to maternal and child health. We believe than many factors influence the health of mothers and children, such as nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, environment, knowledge, attitudes, access to healthcare, and culture. We work with mothers and their partners to design solutions to the challenges faced every day in their communities. At the national and international levels, we take every opportunity to advocate on behalf of women and children for better health outcomes.

We are seeing the results of that work, much of which is part of a long-term strategy to improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable.

Learn More
close

Livelihoods and Skills Training

Time and again, the data have shown that, when women are able to enter the workforce and have the skills, assets, and support to do so, economies improve. However, in many of the world’s poorest economies, there are barriers to women achieving economic parity.

We work in communities to challenge harmful gender norms that keep women from finding work, earning an equal salary to that of their male counterparts in similar job roles, and from thriving in their livelihoods. We provide supplies to women farmers, such as tools and seeds, as well as training in methods of conservation agriculture that can help them increase their harvests.

For women displaced by conflict, such as the millions of Syrian women living as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq, we offer skills trainings in areas like dairy production and sewing and embroidery, as well as coaching in basic business and job-finding skills. This allows them (many of whom are now the head of their household) to earn a steady income while living in displacement, and also gives them practical skills that will be equally vital when they return to rebuild their home country and economy.

Learn More
close

Girls’ Education

Multiple factors lead to a gender gap in education, including child marriage, lack of access to educational facilities in remote villages, gendered violence in the classroom, and limited sanitation measures that are especially important for adolescent girls (many of whom miss school during their menstruation cycles).

We work to bring quality education to all children in the communities where we work, but focus especially on the barriers that prevent girls from staying in the classroom. We ensure that there are safe and sanitary facilities for young women to tend to their hygiene, work with communities to change attitudes towards forced and early marriage, and engage caregivers to support their daughters’ education at home. In Sierra Leone, we are currently in the middle of a multi-million dollar pilot program to reduce school-related gender-based violence that we hope to adapt for other countries and contexts.

Learn More
close

Health & Nutrition Support

In many of the countries where Concern works, access to quality maternal healthcare is poor. Pregnant and lactating mothers (especially adolescent girls 18 and under) face a multitude of barriers when seeking care. As such they’re at increased risk for poor maternal health outcomes, including disease and death.

Based on decades of experience, Concern has adopted an integrated approach to maternal and child health. We believe than many factors influence the health of mothers and children, such as nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, environment, knowledge, attitudes, access to healthcare, and culture. We work with mothers and their partners to design solutions to the challenges faced every day in their communities. At the national and international levels, we take every opportunity to advocate on behalf of women and children for better health outcomes.

We are seeing the results of that work, much of which is part of a long-term strategy to improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable.

Learn More

Our Impact

And that’s just in one year.

For every dollar donated to Concern, $0.93 goes directly into our life-saving programs in 23 of the world’s most vulnerable countries. Your tax-deductible gift makes you part of a vital community that enables us to reach over 10 million women and girls each year. 

 

Our Work In Action

Mothers’ Support Groups

Sustainable change happens at the community level. Through Mother Care Groups (also known as Mother-to-Mother Groups and Mothers’ Support Groups), we bring women who are pregnant and the mothers of young children together to create a system of support. Their meetings allow for discussions on nutrition, breastfeeding, postpartum health, and the other questions that many new mothers face on their own.

Concern supports group leaders and organizers (also members of their communities) to be trained on topics like how to spot signs of malnutrition in an infant. This knowledge then cascades down among group members.

For instance, in Malawi, diets mainly consist of a few crops (often maize). This means that young bodies don’t receive the nutrients they need to grow. When this was covered as a topic with mother’s group leaders, that training on the six essential food groups was then shared among their individual groups. “As mothers, we now know how to diversify our diets and include the right mix of foods,” one group leader, Ireen, told us.

Engaging Men

Focusing solely on supporting women and educating them on their rights has limited results. Our research and experience has proven that equality will never be achieved if men are not engaged, consulted, and trained as allies and ambassadors.

In partnership with local community-based organizations, Concern has implemented Engaging Men projects across nine countries from Sierra Leone to Lebanon. These are a crucial aspect of our work on gender equality and provide counseling-based activities with men — especially those whose ideas of gender roles have been challenged by shocks such as war and conflict or natural disaster. We create a safe space for men (as well as couples) to discuss issues related to equality, asking questions like: What does it mean to be a man or a woman, and how do our expectations around gender cause harm to those around us — and ourselves?

Umodzi

Harmful gender stereotypes and norms are learned behaviors that, with the right approach, can be unlearned. When we brought the Graduation program to Malawi in 2017, we focused on working with women as the main program participants, but also designed a 12-month curriculum of monthly sessions for women and their husbands or partners called Umodzi (which means “united” in Chichewa).

The sessions focused on getting couples to discuss topics such as gender norms, power, decision-making, budgeting, violence, positive parenting, and healthy relationships. By the end of Year 1, couples participating in Umodzi saw an average 10% increase in women participating in major decision-making.

close

Mothers’ Support Groups

Sustainable change happens at the community level. Through Mother Care Groups (also known as Mother-to-Mother Groups and Mothers’ Support Groups), we bring women who are pregnant and the mothers of young children together to create a system of support. Their meetings allow for discussions on nutrition, breastfeeding, postpartum health, and the other questions that many new mothers face on their own.

Concern supports group leaders and organizers (also members of their communities) to be trained on topics like how to spot signs of malnutrition in an infant. This knowledge then cascades down among group members.

For instance, in Malawi, diets mainly consist of a few crops (often maize). This means that young bodies don’t receive the nutrients they need to grow. When this was covered as a topic with mother’s group leaders, that training on the six essential food groups was then shared among their individual groups. “As mothers, we now know how to diversify our diets and include the right mix of foods,” one group leader, Ireen, told us.

close

Engaging Men

Focusing solely on supporting women and educating them on their rights has limited results. Our research and experience has proven that equality will never be achieved if men are not engaged, consulted, and trained as allies and ambassadors.

In partnership with local community-based organizations, Concern has implemented Engaging Men projects across nine countries from Sierra Leone to Lebanon. These are a crucial aspect of our work on gender equality and provide counseling-based activities with men — especially those whose ideas of gender roles have been challenged by shocks such as war and conflict or natural disaster. We create a safe space for men (as well as couples) to discuss issues related to equality, asking questions like: What does it mean to be a man or a woman, and how do our expectations around gender cause harm to those around us — and ourselves?

close

Umodzi

Harmful gender stereotypes and norms are learned behaviors that, with the right approach, can be unlearned. When we brought the Graduation program to Malawi in 2017, we focused on working with women as the main program participants, but also designed a 12-month curriculum of monthly sessions for women and their husbands or partners called Umodzi (which means “united” in Chichewa).

The sessions focused on getting couples to discuss topics such as gender norms, power, decision-making, budgeting, violence, positive parenting, and healthy relationships. By the end of Year 1, couples participating in Umodzi saw an average 10% increase in women participating in major decision-making.