Top Funders in this sector 2023

Gender inequality is widespread, encompassing situations where women lack opportunities for quality employment and encounter disparities in wages due to their gender. Globally, women and girls consistently face barriers in accessing education and healthcare. They are also inadequately represented in important economic and political decision-making roles, and endure instances of violence and discrimination. Despite comprising nearly half of the global population, women experience discrimination in their everyday lives, both within and outside the workplace. This underscores the crucial importance of raising awareness about the issue of gender inequality. Gender equality stands as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Gender Equality, 5), emphasizing its significance on a global scale. 

Globally, women continue to face significant disparities in the labor market, with an average earning gap of 23 percent compared to men. Additionally, women dedicate approximately three times as many hours to unpaid domestic and care work compared to men. This inequality is further compounded by various challenges such as sexual violence, exploitation, unequal distribution of domestic duties, and discrimination in public office. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these issues, with a rise in sexual violence reports, increased caregiving responsibilities due to school closures, and a substantial 70 percent of health and social workers worldwide being women. The current trajectory suggests that it will take around 300 years to eradicate child marriage, 286 years to eliminate legal disparities and discriminatory laws, 140 years to achieve gender parity in leadership roles within the workplace, and 47 years to attain equal representation in national parliaments.

It is imperative to prioritize addressing gender inequality through sustained and comprehensive efforts. Numerous organizations are actively engaged in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. Here is a list of the 10 donors in the field of gender equality and women’s empowerment:

1. USAID (Gender Equality, Equity and Empowerment)

Total Funding Request of USD $3.1 billion for 2024 and USD  $200 million for Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund
Country Focus Africa, Asia, Europe & Eurasia, Latin America & Caribbean, and Middle East
Thematic Keywords  women and girls in all their diversity, marginalized populations, Gender Equity and Equality, economic security of women, gender norms and inequities etc. 

Among its various objectives,  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also places a strong emphasis on advancing gender equality and empowering women. USAID regularly issues calls for proposals for different countries to support projects aligned with its various goals. USAID underscores that achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls are not only essential for upholding human rights but also critical for achieving lasting and effective development outcomes. USAID firmly believes that girls should enjoy equal rights and opportunities, including safe access to and control over resources. The achievement of gender equality in society is seen as a catalyst for enhancing the overall quality of life for all individuals, from childhood through adulthood.

To follow the calls for proposals please visit the link

To receive more information about USAID please visit their website

If you find it difficult to identify opportunities or develop your gender programmes strategically, then please reach out to our Funding Experts 

2. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Total Funding Committed to grant $2.1 billion over five years starting from 2021
Country Focus Committed work globally but focused on India and Kenya and are exploring solutions in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda
Thematic Keywords  Economic Empowerment, Health and Family Planning, and Accelerating Women in Leadership

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to fostering the well-being of all individuals, enabling them to live healthy and productive lives. In the context of developing nations, their primary emphasis lies in enhancing the health of populations and affording them opportunities to escape both hunger and the dire straits of extreme poverty. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation places a strong emphasis on advancing gender equality by concentrating on augmenting women’s economic prospects and their capacity to make decisions. Their Women’s Economic Empowerment team is dedicated to bolstering women’s authority and impact by eliminating obstacles to employment, facilitating fair employment conditions, and promoting women’s businesses, all with the aim of enabling women and girls to flourish within the economy.

To keep track of their call for proposals please click on the link

To receive more information about the foundation and their commitment to gender empowerment please visit the website.

3. UN Women

Total Funding Multi-year grant applications for up to USD 1 million
Country Focus Worldwide
Thematic Keywords  Violence against women, women empowerment, women’s rights etc. 

The UN Trust Fund stands as the sole worldwide grant allocation mechanism solely focused on combating every manifestation of violence against women and girls. UN Women administers this Fund on behalf of the entire UN System. The resources raised provide backing to projects by recipients that yield concrete and lasting results. 

The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women grants funding to projects that showcase the systematic, long-term approach to tackling and ultimately eradicating violence against women and girls.

So far, the UN Trust Fund has allocated a total of $215 million to support 646 projects across 140 different countries and territories. In 2021, the UN Trust Fund oversaw a portfolio comprising 157 grants operating in 68 countries and territories.

To apply for grants and follow the call for proposals please click on the link

To receive more information about the organization please visit the website.

4. Global Fund for Women

Total Funding $184,790,901 for last 32 Years
Country Focus 176 Countries
Thematic Keywords  gender justice movements,  intersectional feminist values and mission, movement-led approach, sustaining movements, Global South, women artists, LGBTQI+ people, people of color.

In 1987, four visionary women named Anne Firth Murray, Frances Kissling, Laura Lederer, and Nita Barrow founded the Global Fund for Women in Palo Alto, California. They firmly believed that the advancement of women’s human rights was essential for advancing social, political, and economic changes that would ultimately be advantageous to all. They founded an organization with the express aim of directly funding grassroots movements led by women after being frustrated by the lack of support for funding women’s human rights concerns.

Throughout a span of more than 30 years, the Global Fund for Women has actively backed feminist movements and grassroots advocates in achieving various milestones. Their support has contributed to ending civil conflicts, facilitating the election of female Presidents, and enacting legislation that provides critical protection to millions of individuals. The organization envisions a world where efforts for gender justice have reshaped the dynamics of power and privilege, replacing them with fairness and equality for everyone.

To get more information about the organization please visit the website

To get more information about the funding application please visit the link.

5. Focus Women Foundation

Total Funding $836,559 USD for 2021
Country Focus Global South and Eastern Europe
Thematic Keywords  Dignity and Freedom, Free of Violence, Discrimination, and Exploitation

Focus Women is a non-profit foundation headquartered in Switzerland, established through a private initiative. This foundation directs its support towards women and girls who face obstacles in realizing their rights and unlocking their potential due to discrimination, oppression, or poverty. Focus Women strives to empower these women, enabling them to actively participate in society and exercise their social, economic, and political rights independently and without constraints. The organizations and projects that receive support from this Foundation are expected to directly and durably enhance the circumstances of the women involved in the projects and positively impact their communities. 

To get more information about the organization please click on the website

To know more about the grant application please visit the website.

6. L’Oréal fund for women

Total Funding €30 million, (2023-2026)
Country Focus Worldwide
Thematic Keywords  gender equality, women empowerment, development, prevent domestic, sexual and gender-based violence

The L’Oréal Fund for Women, established in 2020, is a charitable initiative dedicated to providing assistance to frontline organizations in achieving the following objectives:

  1. Empower women to overcome poverty.
  2. Prevent domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence against women.

The Fund’s primary focus is on promoting the empowerment of women and girls, with an emphasis on projects that facilitate social and professional integration as well as educational initiatives. Special consideration is given to refugee women and women with disabilities.

Applications for the L’Oréal Fund for Women will remain open until 2026. Eligible applicants include local charities and frontline organizations working to support highly vulnerable women. 

For more information about the grant application please visit the link

7. Water for Women-Australian Aid

Total Funding AUD159.9 million for 7 years (2018-2024)
Country Focus South Asia, South East Asia, and the Pacific total 16 countries 
Thematic Keywords  health, gender equality, well-being, social inclusion, women, men, marginalized groups, and people with disabilities

Water for Women is dedicated to improving health, gender equality, and well-being in Asia and the Pacific through climate-resilient and socially inclusive WASH projects and research. They prioritize engaging all community members, including women, marginalized groups, and people with disabilities, for effective and sustainable outcomes. As the Australian Government’s flagship WASH program, they partner with Civil Society Organizations across 16 countries, benefitting over 3.4 million individuals. Research is integral to their efforts, aiming to enhance gender-inclusive research and WASH project delivery.

The program aims for four main outcomes:

  1. Strengthening WASH systems at national and subnational levels, focusing on climate resilience, gender equality, disability inclusion, safe WASH services, and water security.
  2. Expanding access to sustainable and climate-resilient WASH services, especially for marginalized communities.
  3. Promoting the use of new evidence, innovation, and best practices in climate-resilient, sustainable, gender-sensitive, and inclusive WASH among Civil Society Organizations, national, and international actors in the sector.

To apply for the grant please visit the link

To get more information about the water for women please visit their website.

8. The Climate Gender Equity Fund ( 2X Global)

Total Funding US$100,000 to US$300,000 but can be expanded upto US$500,000
Country Focus Africa, Asia, Europe & Eurasia, Latin America & Caribbean and Middle East
Thematic Keywords  climate finance ecosystem, gender equity, developing and scaling women-led and women-benefiting climate solutions

The Climate Gender Equity Fund (CGEF) strives to boost climate finance accessibility for gender-responsive organizations, particularly those led by women and benefiting women, all while addressing climate change. It was initiated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and is supported by Amazon. CGEF aims to secure $60 million in capital from various sources including corporations, foundations, and bi/multilateral organizations. Through collective efforts, CGEF aims to close the gender-climate finance gap and has Amazon, Visa Foundation, and Reckitt as Founding Members. 

Grantmaking under CGEF is managed by 2X Global.

The calls for proposals are available on the website.

9. The Malala Fund

Total Funding $75,000-$100,000 USD for the period of one to three years
Country Focus Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania & Turkey
Thematic Keywords  Education of girls, local advocator, Education Champion Network, innovative solutions etc. 

Malala Fund draws inspiration from the activist backgrounds of Malala and Ziauddin, recognizing that local educators and advocates possess invaluable insights, innovative solutions, and unwavering dedication to addressing the obstacles that prevent girls from accessing education in their respective communities. Through the Education Champion Network, Malala Fund provides support and resources to these courageous individuals, empowering them to expand the impact of their initiatives and harness the collective strength of their efforts. The ultimate goal of Malala fund is to bring about systemic changes that remove barriers and ensure that every girl has the opportunity to receive education.

To apply for the grant please visit the link

To know more about the foundation please visit their website

10. African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF)

Total Funding USD20,000 per year to USD500,000 per year ($11,367,134 grant awarded in 2022)
Country Focus 52 countries from Africa and Middle East
Thematic Keywords  social justice, gender equality and development, marginalization, economic empowerment and women’s rights

The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) is a grantmaking foundation that aids local, national, and regional women’s organizations in advancing the empowerment and rights of African women. Through grant-making and targeted movement-building initiatives, AWDF bolsters and enhances the work of these organizations. By highlighting and recognizing the accomplishments and voices of African women, AWDF strives to combat damaging stereotypes and champion African women as catalysts for positive change. 

To be eligible for a grant from the AWDF, organizations must have women in leadership and management roles. National or regional civil society organizations seeking funding for women-focused projects must showcase women’s involvement in their governance, with a senior woman managing the project within the organization.

To receive more information about the calls for proposals please visit the link

To know more about the organization please visit their website

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