Meet 5 Gender Equality Leaders Breaking Barriers For Women and Girls

Meet the five gender equality leaders of GlobalGiving’s Girl Fund and learn how they are helping women and girls thrive in their communities.


Globally, women and girls have always faced challenging hurdles, from access to education and healthcare to gender-based discrimination, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated these issues. Women are taking on more childcare, losing their jobs at disproportionate levels, and being placed at increased risk of violence as their communities lockdown.

Never has it been more important to support high-impact nonprofit organizations working tirelessly to make a gender-equal world reality.

Introducing the GlobalGiving Girl Fund, a group of five locally-led organizations from Argentina to Nepal, that are providing education, legal protection, health care, recreational activities, and access to training and job skills so that women and girls can thrive. GlobalGiving staff selects each organization in the Girl Fund annually for their incredible impact, thought leadership, and commitment to working with local communities.

We’re thrilled to introduce our 2021 Girl Fund leaders:

    1. Creating safe spaces and new possibilities for women and girls


    Committed to advancing the rights of women and girls, the Women Inspiration Development Center (WIDC) originally set out to put an end to gender-based violence through services and activities in Nigeria. Through this initial work, it became clear that needs stretched beyond their founding purpose, and today WIDC provides vital support to improve the health, economic, and social well-being of women and girls in their local community.

    Busayo Obisakin, Founder and CEO at WIDC, shared: “[It] is like we have gone 10 years backward as a result of COVID 19. The time is now to engage, mentor, and help girls regain back their confidence which is paramount to raising their voices in sensitizing their communities and policy makers to be more intolerant of sexual and domestic violence, encourage balanced power in relationships, and provide more legal, social, and financial supports for activists speaking out.”

    2. Helping refugee women take ownership of their lives


    In Northern Greece, Irida’s Women’s Center is dedicated to creating a safe and warm space for women and girls who are refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants. From providing individualized psycho-social support and legal counseling, to protective services and language classes, their team is committed to eradicating the inequalities that typically leave women dependent on male family members.

    When asked about the importance of their work and mission, Lydia Siapardani, Head of Media and Advocacy for the center, shared: “Despite the immense challenges they may face, we strongly believe that investing in the potential of the world’s women and girls is one of the safest ways to achieve global economic progress, political stability, and greater prosperity for all individuals across the world. Investing in women means investing in their entire families and communities. This is why we have chosen to work directly with women in creating a more inclusive community for all.”

    3. Challenging gender stereotypes in Nepal


    In Nepal, longstanding gender stereotypes and discrimination limit the ability of women and girls to carve out their own path in life. Women LEAD is working to create positive change that will see opportunities for women and girls grow through skills training, education, sexual and reproductive health, and much more.

    Women LEAD Development Officer Dipasa Bista shared how the organization’s programs supported her: “My journey with Women LEAD started back in 2011 as a School Leadership Program (SLP) Participant when I was a 9th grader…Back then, I lacked self-confidence and subjected myself to constant self-doubts as a result of the bullying I faced in school. At Women LEAD, I found a safe space to express myself, explore my potential, and challenge my comfort zone along with my fellow program participants. I was given a nurturing environment at Women LEAD which helped me greatly to shape the life I’m currently living and the roles I am leading right now.”

    4. Discovering strength and ambition through sport


    Run by women for women, Reclaim Childhood, Inc. (RC) creates safe and inclusive spaces for underserved girls in Jordan—many of whom are refugees— and uses sport to develop their confidence, leadership, and teamwork skills. RC believes that building friendships across different national, economic, and religious backgrounds can help build their self-esteem, self-efficacy, and foster their integration into local communities.

    When sharing about the importance of their mission, Jordan Program Director Rima Yacoub said: “A girl, refugee, or Jordanian alike looking for physical activity in Jordan will face male-only gyms, fields that have never hosted women’s games, and a lack of programming and teams that they can join. This lack of access exacerbates the challenges girls and women face as they build their lives and futures in Amman. RC gets girls out of the house and onto the field, providing a safe space to play, learn, and build community.”

    5. Supporting women and girls through COVID-19


    Fondo de Mujeres del Sur’s (FMS) is focused on contributing to building societies in which women, girls, and LBTIQ+ people can exercise all of their human rights and have access to equal opportunities to live happy, safe, and fulfilling lives. Their project in Uruguay is addressing the needs of survivors of gender based violence advocate by supporting grassroots organizations that provide legal and psychosocial support, deliver training courses, and run women’s shelters and hotlines.

    When asked about their current programming, Rocio Alonso, Local Resource Mobilisation Head at the FMS, shared: “Our present challenges are located in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed and accelerated the breakdown of our social institutions. It has disproportionately impacted women, girls, and LBTIQ+ people, combined with the shrinking of civic space and the rise of regressive governmental and societal forces, which has further pushed back progress on gender equality. The FMS’ Grantmaking Model of Philanthropy supports women and LBTQI+ rights organizations through direct grants from a horizontal and transparent partnership, based on the conviction that women, girls, and LBTQI+ people have enormous potential to be agents of social change.”

Commit to creating an equal future for women and girls by signing up for a monthly gift to the Girl Fund and we’ll match your generosity at 100% after four consecutive monthly donations.


Featured Photo: Build Community through Sport for Girls in Jordan by Reclaim Childhood, Inc.

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