A group of children stand smiling in school uniforms.

Gender Equality & Social Inclusion

Girls are born with the same God-given rights as boys, and that needs to matter – everywhere. Societies with greater gender equality enjoy more sustainable development, faster economic growth and better prospects for their children. Yet in many places, discrimination and violence against girls and women is still rampant.

Transformational Development Principles

Listen, Include, Empower, Connect, Challenge, Adapt

In Ethiopia, women holding leadership positions on health committees increased from

15% to 56%Amhara | 2016-2021

In Bangladesh, women reporting they have a say in household spending increased from

8% to 26%Thakurgaon | 2016-2021

11,485pregnant or lactating women who received maternal health and nutrition services


17,075women and girls have improved access to menstrual hygiene management


3,426child protection cases were identified, followed up and referred as needed

Connected Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goal 04 logo: Quality EducationSustainable Development Goal 05 logo: Gender EqualitySustainable Development Goal 10 logo: Reduced inequalitiesSustainable Development Goal 16 logo: Peace, justice and strong institutions


Two young girls smile at each other as they stand in a grass field with a bicycle.

Our Approach

Through gender equality and social inclusion (GESI), we work toward the balanced distribution of power for all people participating in society. GESI is a multi-faceted process of transformation that places the most vulnerable girls and boys and families at the centre, by:

  • Promoting their equal and inclusive access, decision-making, participation and wellbeing.
  • Transforming systems, social norms and relationships so they can participate and benefit equally from projects.
  • Building their resilience, sense of agency and ability to act—both as individuals and groups.
  • Empowering and enhancing the wellbeing of vulnerable girls and boys, their families and communities.

Our GESI approaches work toward agency, empowerment and transformation so that all people—especially women and girls—can access resources, opportunities, services, benefits and infrastructure; make decisions free of coercion; participate in societal affairs and systems of power that influence their lives; benefit from equal and inclusive systems that promote equity and take their needs into account, and live in a world where their holistic wellbeing is supported—this includes freedom from gender-based violence and all forms of discrimination.

Why is gender equality important for sustainable development?

With Ukraine and Russia being top producers of wheat, fertilizer and fuel, the conflict between them further disrupted the strained global food system. This put nutritious diets even more out of reach for marginalized populations. Mid-2022 estimates hinted that the cost of life-saving therapeutic food to treat severely wasted children would increase by 16 per cent due to rising costs of the ingredients. Despite the concerted efforts of UNICEF and the suppliers of ready-to-use-therapeutic food (RUTF) to limit the rising costs, the weighted average price of RUTF still rose by nine per cent.

What is World Vision’s approach to gender equality work?

We strive to create programs that address gender inequality and prevent gender-based violence. We implement them by working with men, women, boys and girls. For programs to succeed, all must become partners in transforming discriminatory beliefs and practices.

In many places where we serve, communities place infinite trust in the words of the local faith leaders. That's why we partner with pastors, imams and other faith leaders, as catalysts for changing harmful attitudes and behaviors in their communities.

This approach has been critical for reversing wide-spread misunderstandings about HIV and AIDS, for instance. And it's helped overturn discriminatory beliefs and practices so harmful to girls and women.

By engaging church leaders in respectful dialogue regarding their culture and the Bible, Koran, or other holy book, we are purposeful about affirming those aspects of culture that can positively impact communities. But we challenge those that entrench power imbalances between men and women, or harm, restrict and belittle any child. By educating faith leaders on gender issues, and emphasizing the unique giftedness and important role of women in the families and communities, we help empower women and girls. We free them to influence their own futures. More girls have a chance to attend school and go further with their education.

How does World Vision engage men and fathers to reduce violence and empower their wives and daughters?

It takes planning, listening, clear communication and plenty of room for discussion. A solid curriculum is key. And it's important that all parties — men, women, boys and girls — have a place in the conversation.

In India, World Vision works with fathers, to address the issues of child abuse and gender-based balance in families. Our community facilitators meet with men in Men Care groups, in sessions for married couples and in family groupings.

Teaching is rooted in the curriculum World Vision helped to develop: A More Equal Future. It provides tools and guidance to engage with fathers, daughters and entire families. The goal is to critically examine the norms that support gender discrimination and child marriage. Once these are unpacked, we can help families change them.

In Sri Lanka, both domestic violence and alcohol consumption decreased when we worked with fathers to prevent violence against women and children, and encouraged their involvement as partners and caregivers.

How do you support girls and women’s rights around pregnancy and delivery?

Girls have a right to wait until they become women before marrying. Women have a right to medical care at every point in their lives — including pregnancy, childbirth and after childbirth. Every girl and woman has the right to life, liberty, and security of person. These are all outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Children enjoy special rights which emphasize the importance of letting children be children. Along with boys, every girl in the world is entitled to "the right to special protection for (her) physical, mental and social development," as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet in some parts of the world, girls can be forced into marriage, pregnancy and childbirth long before their bodies are ready. We learn of this kind of exploitation firsthand in the communities where we serve.

A girl who is raped on a regular basis — even within a marriage — is not free, and her person is not secure. She is not experiencing special protection for her physical, mental and social development. The act is a violent one. When it comes to childbirth, two children are faced with unnecessary danger: both the baby and the child mother.

Wherever we work, we champion girls, protecting them from the emotional, psychological and physical turmoil of forced marriage and early pregnancy. We work to teach their families and communities what girls are worth, and why their rights must be honoured. And we empower girls with education, opportunities and connections within their communities.

As girls become women, our maternal, newborn and child health work plays a critical role in our protection of their rights. Birth spacing helps protects the health of the mother, allowing her body time to recover before she's pregnant again. It helps protect her from the devastation of losing a pregnancy or child, because she's been forced into pregnancy too soon.



Efforts put in by families and communities over the past several years have contributed to measurable positive change. Here are some recent gender equality examples.


A man reads a book with his daughter, both sitting in a doorway.

Imagine how much different the world would be for women and girls everywhere if fathers, brothers, and sons were fierce advocates and allies for the rights of women and girls in their communities.

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A woman does work in a field, bending over with her gardening tool.

There's no one-size-fits-all method to advancing gender equality, but these five elements are proven to be effective.

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A woman clasps her hands together and looks pensive.

Music therapy helps Ester overcome sexual violence in Democratic Republic of the Congo. “I am getting a lot of comfort, I feel safe,” she says.

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Unless otherwise stated, data presented on this page reflects the most up-to-date results of World Vision Canada programs reported between October 2022 and September 2023, and any previous fiscal years available. Previously reported data may not match the current presentation as we continuously receive and refine data from our programs. If you have any questions, kindly reach out to us.