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Women's and Girls' Empowerment

Advancing Gender Equality with a Comprehensive, Grassroots Approach

The challenge: Why women and girls?

Around the world, women and girls are uniquely disadvantaged in essential areas of life – and yet, given the opportunity, they have an amazing capacity to be change makers in their communities.  At SOS Children’s Villages, our work with women and girls focuses on the areas of violence prevention, education, and economic empowerment:

  • Globally, one-third of women will experience gender-based violence in their lifetime.
  • 130 million girls are out of school globally. Every extra year a girl spends at school reduces the risk of next-generation child mortality by 10%
  • Around the world, women are less likely to participate in the labor market than men.

In the 135 countries where we work – protecting children and changing lives – we tackle the inequalities that oppress and discriminate against women and girls, and we promote equity and the empowerment of all. Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies; to achieve internationally agreed-upon goals for development and sustainability; and to improve the quality of life for women, men, families and entire communities.

The opportunity: SOS's impact and how you can help

Every girl deserves a chance to learn

The problem: Around the world, girls face barriers to education that boys do not. But educating girls can break cycles of poverty in just one generation. Increasing women’s and girls’ educational attainment is at the core of our global work because education contributes to women’s economic empowerment, as well as to more inclusive economic growth for societies as a whole.

Our impact: Education is a fundamental human right for every child, and the sooner children start receiving quality education, the greater the positive impact on their lives. At SOS villages, girls have full access to primary, secondary,  advanced and vocational education.

Take action: Open the world of education to a girl today through our Child Sponsorship program.  

Sponsor a Girl

Empowering women economically

The problem: Women’s economic empowerment is central to realizing women’s rights and gender equality. Families around the world are more vulnerable today than ever before. Poverty presents overwhelming challenges for parents, especially single mothers, who struggle to make ends meet. Their children are often forced to leave school to help support the family. Other times, desperate parents make the difficult decision to abandon their children.

Our impact: SOS family strengthening programs target disadvantaged families to prevent crises that can -- in the worst case scenarios -- lead to child abandonment. The programs enable women of all ages to better care for their children through:

  • Job skills training
  • Small business and micro enterprise initiatives
  • Community development programs

Our holistic family strengthening work is designed to ensure that individuals leave our programs independent, resilient and empowered for the long term. Transforming lives in this way has shown substantial community results, as individuals go on to empower and encourage their peers – engaging them in SOS’s programs, sharing the knowledge they have acquired, and advancing positive impacts through a multiplier effect.

Take action: Support women’s empowerment by sponsoring a family today. Through our family sponsorship program, you are ensuring that families have the tools they need to stay together and thrive.

Sponsor a Family

Working to end gender-based violence

The problem: One out of every three women worldwide will be abused during her lifetime. And gender-based violence affects not only the woman herself, but her family -- especially her children. Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, a public health epidemic and a barrier to solving global challenges like extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS and violent conflict. ​It is rooted in gender-based discrimination, destructive social norms and gender stereotypes that perpetuate such violence.

Our impact: At SOS, we have a gender equality policy that focuses on redressing inequalities that girls in particular, but also women, experience because of their gender. We promote access to quality education for girls and boys, and provide children in our care with capacity building, training, life skills and productive resources based on their gender needs in order to become self-supporting adults. Together with other NGOs, we raise awareness among teachers, health care providers and community leaders to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. We also take a stand against child marriages and female genital mutilation.

Take action: Take action to stop violence against women by urging your representatives in Congress to make women and girls a priority.

Take Action

SOS Stories of Empowerment

Gender equality: girls need education, too

*Samia was 11 years old in 2009, when she was forced to drop out of school. Her parents could no longer afford to pay school fees for all of their children. In Somaliland, traditionally, boys’ education is the priority. She recalls, “I was getting ready for school as normal. Then my mother told me that I would not be going; only my brothers can go to school.” 

Read her story

Vocational training: helping women follow their dreams

On the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, is a residential area known as Chaisa. Tucked in one corner of the local shopping center is a small shop called S&J New Fashions. Sherapy Phiri, 32, works here every day, designing and tailoring clothes. 

Read her story

Empowering women and families to overcome domestic violence

Four hours before New Year's Day, the center got a call on the hotline: Alina saw no point in living anymore; she was suffering recurring attacks of domestic violence and the future seemed bleak and pointless.

Read her story

Latest Impact Stories

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