While there have been many wide-spread discussions about women this year, here are some hard-working nonprofits that work to empower women. This is a great time to let your actions speak louder than words and donate to causes that are making a real difference in the lives of women around the world.
- Too Young To Wed — Many brides worldwide are still children, not even teenagers. Some girls are so young that they hold to their toys during the wedding ceremony. These girls usually become mothers in their early teens. The practice can result in profound negative consequences for the girls, their families, and their entire communities.
Too Young to Wed is a nonprofit providing visual evidence of the human rights challenges faced by girls and women around the world. Using the power of visual storytelling, Too Young To Wed aims to protect girls rights and end child marriage worldwide.
2. WorldReader — Worldreader is on a mission; to create a world where everyone is a reader, and they have a special focus on empowering literacy among girls and women. Literacy is transformative: it increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty. Yet there are 740 million illiterate people in this world and 250 million children of primary school age who lack basic reading and writing skills. Books are necessary for the development of these skills, and still 40% of schools in Africa have few or no textbooks at all.
3. Village Enterprise — Village Enterprise supports entrepreneurship to end extreme poverty, and they have a special emphasis on helping women. They believe in the power of the entrepreneurial spirit to transform lives. Village Enterprise equips people living in extreme poverty in rural Africa to start sustainable businesses and savings groups. Graduates from its program generate income and savings from their small businesses that improves their standard of living and breaks the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.
Village Enterprise is a pioneer in the quest to help rural Africans lift themselves from poverty forever. Their community-based, participatory program reflects a bottom-up approach to micro-enterprise development. Using mobile technology and expanding through partnerships, Village Enterprise develops a high impact graduation model that is scalable and locally adaptable.
4. Feminist Approach to Technology — FAT envisions a world where the use and creation of technology is gender neutral. This is a world where all women have equal opportunities to learn, use and create technology, irrespective of their academic background, economic status or geographical location; an environment where women are not intimidated by new technologies but rather have an open mind to experiment with and benefit from them.
FAT began its work in 2010 by creating a space called the Tech Center in South Delhi, which is an open space for adolescent girls and young women from disadvantaged communities to learn about common ICT tools from a feminist lens. While the program aims to provide technical skills to young girls – basic computers, the internet, photography, and filmmaking – these classes are interspersed with sessions on gender, patriarchy, sexuality, feminism, and other socially relevant issues in such a way that the program inculcates feminist leadership among the girls. The girls are encouraged to use the skills they learn to fight against the issues they face in their lives.
5. The Grateful Garment Project — The project’s mission is to ensure that every victim of a sexual crime who crosses the threshold of a Sexual Assault Response Team facility or who seeks medical attention and/or law enforcement involvement is provided with whatever new clothing, toiletries, snacks, and other miscellaneous items that person may require. TGGP has expanded its mission and vision to encompass all victims of sexual violence. This includes, but is not limited to Commercially Sexually Exploited Children and victims of Human Sexual Trafficking.
TGGFP’s scope is wide but its purpose is narrow: that no victim of sexual violence in our communities should ever experience further suffering due to a lack of clothing to wear home after he or she receives services from a Sexual Violence Service Provider.
6. Not For Sale — Women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, and not For Sale has built the world’s first proven solution to modern slavery. Through global projects members have fed, housed, and educated hundreds of thousands of people affected by human trafficking and forced labor. Unfortunately, this is where most organizations stop. Starting in 2010, Not For Sale started building REBBL, a revolutionary health drink, which sourced its ingredients to help people affected by forced labor in Peru. Since then, REBBL has grown to support more people. We’ve repeated this business process to help people in Amsterdam and Thailand. And we have partnered with more businesses to improve the lives of exploited people worldwide.
Food, shelter, and medical care are enough to survive. But that doesn’t satisfy us when it comes to the people we serve. The members of Not For Sale are committed to the personal growth of the people we serve — so that they can independently support themselves and lead others through similar struggles. Together, you can build an economic wall between the poorest 2 billion and slavery.
7. GLAAD — As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance, protecting all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. GLAAD works with print, broadcast and online news sources to bring people powerful stories from the LGBT community that build support for equality. And when news outlets get it wrong, GLAAD is there to respond and advocate for fairness and accuracy. GLAAD brings LGBT characters and plotlines to movie theaters, television sets and even comic books — working with writers, producers and studios to ensure accurate and diverse representations of LGBT people on the big and small screens. GLAAD works to share stories from the LGBT community in Spanish-language and Latino media, helping to increase understanding and support among the Spanish-speaking community, the fastest-growing population in the country. GLAAD serves as the communications epicenter of the LGBT movement, equipping advocacy leaders with the tools they need to communicate more effectively. GLAAD is also reinventing the way social media moves equality forward.
8. The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. — NIWRC is a Native nonprofit organization created specifically to serve as the National Indian Resource Center (NIRC) Addressing Domestic Violence and Safety for Indian Women. Their Mission is to support culturally grounded, grassroots advocacy and provide national leadership to ending gender-based violence in Indigenous communities through the development of educational materials and programs, direct technical assistance, and the development of local and national policy that builds the capacity of Indigenous communities and strengthens the exercise of tribal sovereignty.
The NIWRC is dedicated to reclaiming the sovereignty of Native nations and safeguarding Native women and their children. Through public awareness and resource development, training and technical assistance, policy development, and research activities, they provide leadership across the Nation to show that offenders can and will be held accountable and that Native women and their children are entitled to: 1) safety from violence within their homes and in their community; 2) justice both on and off tribal lands; and 3) access to services designed by and for Native women based on their tribal beliefs and practices.
Additional Resources: Looking for nonprofits that support causes you care about? VisitGuideStar to learn more.
About the Author: Jennifer L. Jacobson is a communications strategist who leverages marketing, brand identity, and public relations to help brands advance their voice in crowded industries. Her clients have been TIME’s best site of the year, and graced the likes of Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, Scientific American, USA Today, and thousands more. She is the founder of Jacobson Communication; a PR and marketing firm.