Cause Index


1. We take a holistic vision of women's lives and look at the multidimensional changes that need to take place to achieve gender justice, Oxfam focuses on three programme priorities: Women's Participation and Transformative Leadership; Ending Violence Against Women and Girls; and Women's Economic Empowerment. Additionally, we mainstream gender throughout all our programmes.
2. We recognise that only by working at both individual and collective levels with formal and informal processes, institutions, beliefs and behaviours will we create truly transformative change in women's lives.
3. Oxfam take a holistic approach to women's empowerment. We work across the four inter-dependent dimensions of women's personal, political, social and economic empowerment. We regard this as essential for creating lasting transformations in the structures and institutions that constrain women's enjoyment of their rights.
4. Oxfam also recognise that we must understand and respond to the many different experiences of discrimination women face in relation to their race, ethnicity, class, age, marital status, sexuality, (dis)ability etc.
5. Women's rights organisations play both a catalytic role in promoting women's rights and gender equality as well as advancing other critical development goals, and, as such, Oxfam works closely with women's rights organisations as partners and allies.
Programme priorities
Oxfam strongly believes that women gaining power and taking collective action are themselves the most important driver of sustained improvements in women's human rights, a powerful force to end poverty not only for themselves but for others. To achieve this we continue to put women's rights at the heart of all we do (gender mainstreaming) as well as focus on the programme priorities where we have extensive experience:
Women's Participation and Transformative Leadership
Women's Participation and Transformative Leadership is Oxfam GB's number one programme priority on Gender Justice. It aims to strengthen women's individual and collective power to end poverty and challenge inequalities, as well as promote an enabling environment for women's participation and leadership.
Violence Against Women and Girls
Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) requires changes in laws and policies, as well as in individual and collective beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. The core of our work aims to transform social norms and rules which cause and sustain violence against women and girls. We also want to change VAWG prevention policy development and how it is implemented.
Women's Economic Empowerment
Oxfam's Women's Economic Empowerment (WEE) work promotes economic opportunity for women, such as greater power in markets and decent work, along with the social and political changes women require to claim their economic rights and improve their overall wellbeing. In the process, WEE aims to change economic systems-thinking, practices, roles, and policies that systematically discriminate against women so that economic development contributes more sustainable to gender justice.
Gender Mainstreaming: Putting women's rights at the heart of all we do
As well as focusing on these three priority areas, we have reaffirmed our commitment to ensure that gender considerations and related actions are integrated into all our programmes. Additionally, Oxfam GB goes beyond traditional concepts of gender mainstreaming to integrate 'women's participation and transformative leadership' work on social norms, and unpaid care analysis more centrally into all areas of work.


Oxfam responds directly wherever there is a widespread threat to life, health, and livelihoods which is beyond people's capacity to cope with, and where we can make a positive difference. We are one of the world's leading providers of humanitarian aid in emergencies, with well-recognised technical expertise in several fields. These are clean water, sanitation, public health, food security, and the protection of civilians, with a strong reputation for promoting the rights of women in everything we do.

Our goal
All women, men and children affected by conflict or natural disasters will be protected from violence and receive the humanitarian aid that they need.

Oxfam responds to such need directly, but also supports national governments and local partner organisations to respond in emergencies. Oxfam combines its programme response with global and national campaigning to ensure that the rights of people affected by conflict and disaster are upheld.
How we work
The unpredictable nature of many disasters makes it cost-effective for Oxfam to maintain a global centre of expertise at responding to emergencies. This global team offers support to Oxfam's extensive network of country-based teams which are engaged in longer term development work. Wherever a disaster strikes, Oxfam 's Global Humanitarian Team can boost existing local capacity with technical staff, logistical support, and expert advice. As well as giving direct support to people affected by disasters, where possible we work in partnership with local organisations whose strength and capability we are committed to building. We also combine our work on the ground with global and national campaigning to ensure people's rights after crises are upheld.
Risk reduction
Oxfam believes that the crucial factor making people vulnerable to disasters is their underlying poverty. People with precarious livelihoods, few economic buffers, living in the most dangerous or marginal places, always suffer worst and longest from a disaster. It is therefore vital that in addition to supporting people immediately after a disaster, we make efforts to reduce the risks that disasters pose. This kind of preventative action addresses the underlying causes of risk as opposed to the symptoms alone, and generally saves a lot more money (for example, a study in northern Kenya found that it was three times more expensive to restock a core herd than to keep animals alive through supplementary feeding).

There are various tactics for reducing people's vulnerability to crises. It might be helping communities adapt to permanent changes such as increasing drought, with training in new business skills. It might be strengthening measures to prevent disasters having such a serious effect such as raising flood-prone houses or building sea defences and earthquake-proof buildings. Or it might be improving early warning systems through education or technology. Ultimately, when communities can work together with their governments and influence international policy, they have the best chance of reducing their vulnerability in the longer term.