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Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)
History and Background

In 1982, toward the end of the UN Decade for Women, 26 people from North American development agencies, agricultural universities and community organizations gathered to discuss the role of women as agents and beneficiaries of the development process. They founded AWID, a professional association where people concerned with women in development could dialogue across sectors and improve their effectiveness as professionals in this new field.

Over time, the vision of AWID members has expanded, from the initial goal of integrating women into development practices to include transforming the process of development itself in order to make a better world for women. AWID''''s scope of analysis and action has likewise broadened to include women''''s human rights, in addition to the organization''''s historic focus on sustainable development and gender equality.

Through our current Strategic Plan 2006-2010 AWID is working to build on our successes and challenge new obstacles to advance the rights of women by working with women’s rights advocates, organizations and movements worldwide to both increase our visibility and capacity to make change happen. As AWID we believe that collectively we need to be able transform social norms, institutions, laws, economic policies, other social movements as well as ourselves in order to ultimately guarantee the rights of women and girls around the world.

AWID today is a membership organization of over 5,000 men and women. Ten International Forums on Women’s Rights and Development have helped to foster a community with common goals and diverse strategies. From its offices in Toronto, Mexico City and Cape Town, and other staff working from countries in different regions, AWID is working to continuously innovate, improve and internationalize its work to serve the needs of this growing community.
Our mission: what we do

AWID’s mission is to strengthen the voice, impact and influence of women’s rights advocates, organizations and movements internationally to effectively advance the rights of women.

Our vision: why we do it

AWID believes that women’s rights are not only necessary in and of themselves, but that they are central to ending the challenges the world faces today. Eradicating poverty, building peace, effectively tackling the HIV and AIDS pandemics, to name just a few – no lasting solutions to these issues are possible without a strategy that puts women’s rights at the centre. AWID works to build a world where women’s rights have been achieved and where all people enjoy their human rights.

Our values: the principles that guide our work

Our work is built upon feminist values toward the full equality of women and human rights of all people. This includes work towards the eradication of all discriminations based on gender, sexuality, religion, age, ability, ethnicity, language, nationality, class or other factors.
We are committed to work as part of a movement to build our collective voice, power and influence.
We are committed to diversity and inclusion by bringing marginalized voices and perspectives to the table in the pursuit of human rights for all.
In all our interactions we strive for transparency, responsible use of financial resources, fairness, accountability and integrity.
We will work independently from any political party, government or religious institution.
We will strive for excellence, while being creative, bold and courageous.

Our goals: what we hope to achieve

Build knowledge and understanding of the forces, trends, institutions and aspects that are undermining women’s rights and appropriate strategies to address them.
Create capacity building resources and strategies for and with women’s rights advocates, organizations and movements that will strengthen our overall impact.
Build alliances across differences based on age, sectors, social movements, regions, issues, and communities in order to build a stronger movement for women’s rights
Influence international institutions and actors to strengthen their approaches (beyond commitments) to advance the rights of women worldwide.

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