CIVICUS Gender Working Group

CIVICUS’ Gender Working Group is a member-based advisory group focussed on gender mainstreaming and women leadership across the Alliance.

The objectives of the Gender Working Group are:
  • Share and organise information, generate dialogue around gender issues and increase the visibility of gender issues in civil society.
  • Inform CIVICUS’ internal gender-mainstreaming strategy and link it to the work and resources of our membership and civil society writ large.
  • Build a community of stakeholders who are committed to gender equality at organisational, sectoral and global levels.
  • Utilise CIVICUS’ membership to address research/policy questions related to gender in civil society, establishing substantive papers, positions and advocacy tools on the subject.
  • The Advisory Board is a diverse team who helped  shape the priorities and agenda of the working group. Details of each member can be found below.
For more information about the Gender Working Group and other member benefits, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Khurshid Bano
Da Hawwa Lur, Pakistan
Khurshid Bano has been an activist for women’s rights since 1986. During her professional life as a technical supervisor for the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPK) in Pakistan, she stood for election as a union official in 1988. She was the first female union leader elected in KPK, and did so with a determination to improve the conditions of marginalized groups, especially women. In 1994 she became the General Secretary of the women’s wing of the Pakistan Workers Federation in KPK. Khurshid went on to help found Da Hawwa Lur, a women-led non-government organization that campaigns against gender discrimination and violence against women in KPK. The organization provides free legal, psychological, and capacity building support to women facing any kind of violence, and to those who have been displaced from the conflict-affected regions of Pakistan.

In addition to her work with Da Hawwa Lur, Khurshid is an active member of the Pakistan Alliance against Sexual Harassment, which has been working for the implementation, drafting and lobbying of laws regarding sexual harassment. Her work for peace building has included the training of 500 people through the ‘Peace by Peace’ campaign, which at the grass root level provides people with education and skills about how they can contribute towards making Pakistan more peaceful. Most recently she launched the first ‘KPK Working Women Union’. This union aims to create awareness of the issues and challenges faced by women working in all fields, from doctors and engineers to domestic and factory workers. Its agenda includes equal pay, prevention of harassment in the workplace, safety and security, and the health of women workers.
Anne George
SkillsSource, South Africa
Anne is a member of the Baha’i Gender Equality Group, based in Johannesburg.  The Baha’i Faith has the equality of women and men as an underlying principle and Anne has been exposed to an enormous amount of writings on this issue, both religious writings as well as commentaries from fellow believers who work at the United Nations and in gender equality forums around the world. She is currently involved in gender balancing (or gender mainstreaming) in the workplace and conducts on-going research into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of bringing more women into decision-making positions.  She writes extensively on this topic and many articles can be found under her blog In addition, Anne conducts workshops on identifying unconscious bias, understanding the complementary value of the two genders, and the business rationale behind balancing the genders for the economy as a whole.  Her research is supplemented by her experience for many years as a director of a listed company, where the majority of staff and managers were women.
Nabila Hamza
Foundation for the Future, Tunisia
Since her early days in life, Nabila has been actively involved in women’s affairs as a volunteer, supporter and founding member of many women’s rights organizations. This has given her the chance to acquire and broaden her knowledge of women’s issues, challenges and needs, with a wide network of important contacts she has established throughout her career. As a human rights and gender specialist at the global level, Nabila has developed the needed expertise to lead international organisations, in her capacity first as Executive Director of the Arab Women Centre for Training and Research (CAWTAR), a regional center based in Tunisia and funded by UNDP, UNFPA and IPPF, and later on as President of the Foundation for the Future, an internal organization promoting democracy and Human rights in the MENA region. Furthermore, Nabila worked as the Coordinator of a number of regional programs, mainly for "Fighting Violence Against Women" sponsored by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECI) and as a Policy and Legal expert for the European Commission.
Farah Kabir
ActionAid, Bangladesh
Farah Kabir, is a strong advocate of Women Rights and Climate Justice for the poor and marginalized, and has been working in the field of development and research for the last 25 years. Commencing her career with the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), Farah has vast research experience and a host of publications especially on Women in Politics to her credit. At present she is working as the Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh since June 2007.  On behalf of the British Council, Ms. Kabir was the Consultant of Participative Democracy of The British Council Governance Team in the UK.   Prior to that, she was Assistant Director, Governance of British Council Bangladesh, with responsibility to develop and build the Gender and Governance portfolio.

As an expert on climate change, women rights and governance issues, Farah Kabir contributed to a number of international summits. Her key speeches include: sharing experience on climate change adaptation in the UN and at the CSO dialogue in the UN, speech on “Mobilizing political momentum for ambitious actions on mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation" during the President of the General Assembly's High-level Event on Climate Change in June 2015. She also spoke on Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) integration at the UNISDR in Geneva in May 2013. She also contributed in the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit where 100 global women leaders met to promote women’s climate action agenda in September 2013. For her significant contribution in women’s rights movement of Bangladesh, Farah Kabir won the prestigious "Nawab Ali Chowdhury National Award 2012".
Devika Mittal
Mission Bharityam,India
Devika is a youth activist who is presently doing her research from the Delhi School of Economics and has also been working for peace and human rights, including gender issues. She is a young and passionate person who has her M.Phil in Sociology and has 4 years work experience in the field of gender and human rights. During her Masters she worked with Hijras and sexual minority groups. She has written many articles on gender issues that have been published in national and international newspapers/portals. Upholding the constitutional provisions and universal human rights practices, she has always supported gender equality on the ground and participated in various talks, seminars and community dialogues as a speaker/participant/resource person. Recently, her independent survey found the lack of basic sanitation facilities in educational institutions as a source of gender-based discrimination and gender inequality as it resulted in low participation of girls in education. Her recommendations sent to the National Commission of Women in India, as well as the Ministry of Women and Child Development which were accepted and directed to all states of India.
Wendy Henry
PhD Candidate, United Kingdom
As a member of AWID (Association of Women's Rights in Development) and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) - Gender and Development Network, Wendy passionately believes that poverty reduction and a fully inclusive society will only be achieved if gender equality forms the heart of workplace practices. As an activist, Wendy believes in ensuring that Civil Society’s own ‘house is in order’ as we work together to achieve the post 2015 global Sustainable Development Goals. Wendy contributes 30 years of experience in gender equality programing and has recently returned to England after 8 years working as a grassroots organizational development and gender advocacy advisor in Kenya and Ethiopia. As a facilitator, Wendy has supported teams to develop and implement responsive workplace policies and practices designed to mainstream gender equality. Wendy was most recently an advisor for Kenya Women Parliamentary Association and supported them in developing strategies for a more inclusive working environment. She also worked with VSO to advocate for robust gender equality inclusions during the post 2015 process and promote their ‘Women in Power’ campaign in Africa. Wendy is committed to ensuring that good practice with respect to gender equality in the workplace is taken into account, and has synergy with, other rights and diversity issues and that those most marginalised are not left behind.
Daniel Mwakameka
Action for Environmentaal Sustainability (AfES), Malawi
Daniel has more than 8 years of experience working with indigenous communities where gender disparities are high and has successfully managed to implement projects that have contributed to gender equality. As an Executive Officer in his organisation, Daniel has played a key leading role in shaping and implementing the organisational gender policy. Daniel holds a bachelor’s degree in Rural Development and is currently studying for a master’s program. He has been involved in various gender advocacy activities at local, national and international levels and has helped different local organizations to mainstream gender issues in their programs. Daniel feels very passionate about gender disparities in the workplace which deprives women from opportunities and participation. He feels there is much left to be desired from advocacy on gender issues to gender policies and gender actions especially in the work place.
Richard Ssewakiryanga
Uganda National NGO Forum, Uganda
For the last 18 years Richard has worked as a researcher, activist and social critic on gender issues. He was one of the first three men who got a Master’s Degree in Gender and Women Studies in 1997 at Makerere University. Afterwards, Richard continued to consult and work both locally and globally on issues of gender identity, sexuality and gender and popular culture. He also led the process of reviewing the National Gender Policy for Uganda in 2006. Richard has also worked with the UN Economic Commission for Africa on the continent-wide study on quantifying the costs of domestic violence.


  • Share and organise information, and generate dialogue around effective policies and approaches towards greater gender inclusion and equality, including: cutting edge and best practice approaches to gender-mainstreaming and inclusion within the civil society sector.
  • Inform CIVICUS’ internal gender mainstreaming strategy and link it to the work and the needs of our membership and civil society writ large, with the broader goal of a more diverse, inclusive and gender just civil society sector
  • Build a diverse community of stakeholders committed to gender equality at organisational, sectoral and global levels, while engaging with activists and sectors beyond women’s rights organisations to work across boundaries of sector or geography.
  • Engage CIVICUS’ membership to address research and policy questions related to gender in civil society in ways that are inclusive of our diverse constituents and women’s movements, while establishing substantive papers, positions and advocacy tools on the subjects of gender mainstreaming and a gender equal and inclusive civil society sector.
  • Work to amplify diverse member voices on issues of gender-mainstreaming, gender equality, inclusion, justice and rights through our communications channels and networks, and engage CIVICUS members in informing gender-inclusive and representative programming and activities.


  • Support for Secretariat-wide Inclusion Audit with HR/Ops and Management Team and working toward the best-in-class, cutting edge and forward-looking inclusion policies and practices possible for CIVICUS, and share learnings and outcomes as best practices with the Alliance
  • Development of CSW sessions with WHRDs and Policy and Research Team, and a presence at Geneva at HRC and with special procedures and the UPR process for CEDAW, connecting members working on gender equality, women’s rights, SOGI issues, SRHRs, girls’ education, and other key thematic areas with each other and with international processes and spaces.
  • Virtual campaigning, participation in and convening sessions or events for:#16DaysAgainstGBV in November-December 2016, global Women’s Marches in January 2017, 8th March International Women’s Day and #ADayWithoutAWoman woman’s strike, CSW61, IDAHOT, #SheDefends WHRD MENA campaign, and other key gender-related events, to amplify the voices of women’s rights activists, gender equality activists, WHRDs, sexual minorities and other less-heard voices;
  • Highlighting gender-related learnings and strategies through spaces like the Gender, Inclusion and the State of Civil Society webinar, springing off of a presentation of the 2016 State of Civil Society report, and attempting to amplify the voices of women and sexual minorities where media opportunities may arise.


Currently, the Gender Working Group is undergoing a renewal process, and is limited in its member representation.  We’d be interested to know if you want to keep up-to-date on the activities of this Working Group as we develop the member networking elements of it. 

We aim to roll out a brief consultation process in the coming quarter to take the pulse of those in the CIVICUS Alliance interested in the Gender Working Group. From that feedback and from internal consultations, we will develop a process to guide the GWG in engaging members to co-create and collaborate in activities that can help us promote a more gender-inclusive civil society in the future.

That process will help to determine a more collaborative way of deciding on goals and activities for this network and we hope it will include a diversity of voices.

To stay informed, drop us a line a, and add a line about what kind of work you or your organisation or network does, and answer this question:  How do you work towards advancing gender equality in the civil society sector?



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