An end to gender-based discrimination

Women and girls should have equal power and agency in decision-making at all levels and be safe from all gender-based violence and discrimination.

Fighting for Gender Justice 2

students pay attention in class

We want all women and girls, both collectively and individually, to have equal power and agency in decision making at all levels.

a person with their head down, wiping a tear

We want the elimination of violence and discrimination based on gender.


Despite some notable progress towards addressing gender disparities across the globe since the 1970s, inequalities continue to persist, violating basic human rights and perpetuating poverty and inequity. 

  • Globally, the average amount of time spent on unpaid domestic and care work is more than three times higher for women than men[1]

  • gender-based violence is a global epidemic, with 1 in 3 women affected worldwide

  • in England and Wales an average of two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner every week[2] 

These are shocking statistics. However, limited funding goes towards feminist movements and women’s rights organisations, despite the clear evidence that this is critical in creating and sustaining transformative change for women and girls.

A child's artwork as part of art therapy


We know it is important to work with other organisations and partners at a local level, supporting a community-coordinated response to bring about systemic and behavioural change. Ensuring women and girls don’t just have their voices heard but are involved in policy conversations and hold decision-making positions at all levels. Research shows that government responses to violence against women and girls are more effective and robust in countries with vibrant, active feminist movements and we are committed to supporting women’s rights movements in the countries where we fund.

a family of one parents and five children


Through partnerships, we are interested in contributing to change in the following areas:

  • Supporting women and girls to be safe, healthy, educated and able to be independent with control over their lives

  • Supporting women and girls to be an equal part of collective decision making in communities, national governments, and other social and political structures

  • Reducing incidents of gender-based violence.

  • Increasing the evidence of what works in developing women-led movements for social change, and lead in developing and modelling best practice

  • Supporting feminist organisations with the resilience and capabilities to drive change

  • Shifting public attitudes and improving understanding about the influence of gender norms on choices and life outcomes

  • Supporting a diverse range of women’s rights organisations to fight against systems which perpetuate the injustices they encounter in their daily lives.

a therapy horse and its trainer


We’re proud that Comic Relief has been funding programmes tackling gender-based violence and supporting women and girl’s activism and empowerment since we began. 

In the UK we have:

  • Supported grassroots organisations delivering vital services, like the National Domestic Violence Helpline, as well as funding pioneering work like the Drive Project which works to disrupt the patterns of perpetrator behaviour in high risk situations.

  • Funded new ways of working like our Tech vs Abuse(opens in new window)(opens in new window) programme.

  • Supported work which has achieved strategic change for women and girls like the Refugee Women’s Charter which was developed by several organisations working with women migrants and asylum seekers.

Internationally, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, we have:

  • Funded organisations that are challenging both the practices which allow violence (such as FGM and other harmful practices) and the policy and environment which have embedded these practices like the Advocacy Movement Network in Sierra Leone.

  • Supported initiatives which involve people in the work they do, like Red Umbrella, a fund guided by and for sex workers.

  • Worked with other funders in the With and For Girls Collective(opens in new window)(opens in new window) to support adolescent girls to lead in global grant-making for activists.

See our other focus areas

Other Focus Areas - I&I Strategy

Children Survive and Thrive

Global Mental Health Matters

A safe place to be, for everyone


  1. WHO 2017 ‘Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime’ 

  2. compendium/focusonviolentcrimeandsexualoffences/yearendingmarch2015/chapter2homicide(opens in new window)