Girl writes on blackboard in Zimbabwe

Focus on the rights of women and girls

CARE International places the specific needs and rights of women and girls at the heart of that all we do.

Our focus on the rights of women and girls

CARE International’s expertise lies in our holistic and inclusive approach to tackling poverty and injustice. While CARE International works alongside people of all ages, backgrounds, and genders, 70% of the world’s poorest people are women. Women and girls experience poverty, hardship, climate, conflict, and health emergencies very differently to men, and require specialized approaches.

Responding to specific needs

While gender inequality is a key driver of poverty as well as one of the most widespread forms of injustice, when women are empowered, our evidence tells us that they bring their whole communities with them.  

True gender equality encompasses intersectional issues such as race or disability that can further disadvantage certain groups of women, yet once achieved also leads to more scalable and sustainable prosperity.  

CARE International places the specific needs and rights of women and girls at the heart of all we do. It reflects our practical approach to fighting poverty, the specific technical expertise we have gained as a diverse global network and plays a critical part of our identity as an organization grounded in gender equality and women’s empowerment. 

Two girls stand in the middle of the road, each holding food in one hand. One of the girls has her arm around the other's shoulders and is resting her head on hers. The second girl is bringing up her hand up to her mouth as she smiles.

How does CARE International focus on women and girls?

Gender equality crosscuts all our developmental programming. Throughout our 75 years of experience, CARE has developed tools and methods to ensure we address the rights and needs of women and girls in all areas of our work.

CARE’s Gender Marker

CARE’s Gender Marker is a self-assessment program quality and learning tool. It measures the integration of gender into programming; from “harmful” to “transformative.”  

The Gender Marker enables CARE International to track, improve on, and support more effective, gender integrated programming. It is designed to be used in combination with Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning systems to help our teams reflect and learn from the gendered approach of their work. 

Rapid Gender Analysis

In times of crisis, women and girls face specific risks due to gender inequities that can be exacerbated at times of instability.  

The Rapid Gender Analysis is used in crisis situations, where time is of the essence and resources are scarce.  They are built up progressively, using a range of primary and secondary information to understand gender roles and relations and how these may change during a crisis. It informs practical programming and operational recommendations to meet the different needs of women, girls and other vulnerable groups.  

Hala in Syrian IDP camp

Rapid Gender Analysis in Syria

CARE’s Rapid Gender Analysis helps further understanding of the evolving situation in Syria, improving humanitarian and resilience programming and informing the wider humanitarian community.

Read the RGA

Engaging men and boys

Working to achieve gender equality implies that there must be a shift in gender norms and structures. This cannot be done without engaging men and boys. We bring men and boys together to reflect on gender relations and empower them to be active participants in promoting gender equality. CARE International’s approach to working with men and boys for gender equality is strongly grounded in local contexts and rights-based approaches. 

Meaningful engagement with men and boys is critical for dismantling the social and gendered norms that reinforce patriarchy and inequality. 

Community microsavings groups

The Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) is a successful practice implemented across CARE International programs that stimulates the creation of saving groups within communities. Savings groups are self-managed groups of 15 to 25 people who meet regularly to save their money in a safe space, access small loans, and obtain emergency insurance. The VSLA model can also be adapted for emergencies which, when combined with cash and voucher assistance, can support improved outcomes for crisis-affected populations.

A Cambodian girl setting at a desk smiles widely. The picture is taken from outside, and she is by an open window.

Focusing on gender equality 

CARE International works to increase gender equality in over 100 countries. We focus on amplifying rights and opportunities for women and girls using tried and tested approaches.

Read more about our gender equality work

Stories about our focus on women and girls

Read recent news and stories about our work to achieve gender equality.

Zimbabwe_school girl with green hat

5 Min Inspiration: Fighting child marriage by helping kids dream bigger

“As a peer leader I am teaching girls to be confident and to make decisions that build their future. Everyone should be able to say no and not be passive. This has brought discipline at school and both boys and girls are now more confident to report abuse. Both boys and girls now understand the importance of education and dreaming bigger." Chidzabwe

Ivorian lady sitting next to cocoa

5 Min Inspiration: Saving $7.4 million by working together

“The (VSLA) training showed us how to properly manage our money. We discovered we were wasting money and not working together to find the right solution. This is when I decided that my wife would be the best person to look after the money and organize the family expenses.”

East Timorese Girls holding Lafaek magazines

5 Min Inspiration: Reaching 93% of East Timorese children for over 20 years

What’s the first thing you remember reading? A children’s book? A magazine? A sign in a classroom? In Timor Leste, for people under the age of 20, the first thing they remember reading is probably something CARE produced. If you have anything in your house to read in rural Timor Leste, it’s going to include Lafaek—a suite of magazines that CARE has been producing since 2001

Woman holding glass of water in Bangladesh

How to create real change for women

CARE's work with women in Bangladesh has shown that gender equality can only be achieved by comprehensive transformations in social structures.

5 Min Inspiration: Charming Health Workers Save Lives

5 Min Inspiration: Charming Health Workers Save Lives

“…can you imagine that for a whole year I haven't had a single maternal death!" That’s what one health worker has to say about the change since working with TAMANI—fewer complications and fewer deaths.

5 Min Inspiration: Eating more food and making more decisions

5 Min Inspiration: Eating more food and making more decisions

If you need health care, who makes the decisions about where you go, when you can visit a health center, and what treatment you can get? Do you have to ask permission from someone in your house? In Somalia, at the start of the project, 79% of women couldn’t make decisions themselves about when they or their kids got health care. 85% said they needed a husband’s permission to visit a clinic. By the end of the project, only 17% of women said they couldn’t make decisions about health care.