Great Charities for Women and Girls
Have women’s issues taken center stage? Yes. If any year is the year of the woman, this is it. And International Women’s Day will drive home that point. But we don’t need a special day to support women’s causes around the world, there are plenty of charitable organizations to choose from.
Here are a few to think about supporting, but use this list as a jumping off place as you explore the world of women’s causes.
This organization is very old, dating back to 1915. It specializes in fighting and treating preventable conditions such as blindness and malnutrition.
With programs in 21 African and Asian countries plus the United States. HKI programs combat hunger, cataract, trachoma, onchocerciasis (river blindness) and refractive error. HKI aims to reduce the suffering of people who have little access to health care because of poverty.
Since women and children across the world are more likely to experience extreme poverty and poor health, HKI’s programs concentrate on these particular populations.
HKI has achieved special recognition for its programs in vitamin A supplementation for children and for encouraging local communities to grow yams both for their economic and health benefits.
Many people in developed countries have never heard of fistula. That’s because their maternal and obstetric care is excellent.
However, in many parts of the world, women go through prolonged childbirth without adequate care. The result can be a devastating fistula. The condition leaves the woman incontinent, but worse, she can be rejected by society, her family and even her husband.
Affected women become pariahs, today’s lepers. The Fistula Foundation works to prevent fistula in the first place and provides surgery to correct it.
Between 2009 and 2017, the Fistula Foundation provided 31,645 of these surgeries to women in 31 countries. Yet, for every woman treated, 50 more are left in need.
There is not a headline about women’s rights that the National Women’s Law Center doesn’t take seriously. Name the issue, and the NWLC has likely done something about it.
The organization, founded in 1972, primarily works on the rights of working women and low-income women, from pay issues to sexual harassment. The NWLC says on its website, “We champion policies and laws that help women and girls achieve their potential at every stage of their lives—at school, at work, at home, and in retirement.”
If you care about LGBTQ rights, the #MeToo movement, Title IX issues on college campuses, pay equity, or child care, NWLC might be the organization to support.
A four-star charity at Charity Navigator.
Camfed, founded in 1993, has been focused on alleviating poverty in Africa by educating girls and turning them into future leaders of their societies.
Camfed has touched the lives of more than 2.5 million children in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, and Malawi, primarily in poorly served rural areas. Camfed has also trained more than 19,000 alumnae to be advocates of change.
Camfed prides itself on assessing the hurdles that stand in the way of girls going to school, from transportation to school fees to ending child marriage. Camfed works with community members to design and implement educational programs in a sustainable way.
Camfed is a 4-Star Charity at Charity Navigator.
Women’s economic success depends on so many variables. Dress for Success Worldwide tackles a number of these barriers from appropriate dress to skill development, help in job search and tools for staying relevant in today’s business world.
Dress for Success is now in 30 countries with 154 offices serving more than a million women since its founding 20 years ago. Volunteers are a huge help, numbering about 12,000 worldwide.
There are numerous ways to get involved with this inspiring charity, from donating money or professional clothing, to volunteering, to setting up an affiliate in your city.
Dress for Success goes beyond just providing “a suit.” Clothing is essential but also networking, mentoring, and life skill development all help women achieve their dreams of economic independence.
Dress for Success is a 4-Star Charity at Charity Navigator.
Philanthropy is undergoing a rethink. And Kiva has been a leader in that rethinking.
Founded in 2005, Kiva specializes in giving loans to people, who pay those loans back. This is not a traditional charity. It is empowerment. More than one billion dollars have been lent in this way since Kiva started.
Kiva is not just for women, but 81 percent of its beneficiaries are women, often entrepreneurs who found small businesses that help them, their families and their communities.
How does Kiva work? You, the donor/lender, give as little as $25 (or much more) to help someone somewhere to start a business, pay a bill, or go to school. That person eventually pays back the “loan” so that you, the lender can then lend to another person. It’s not a handout.
The lending model is truly powerful since the borrowers create jobs and economic value in their community. The benefits just keep recurring.
If you want to see a direct effect from your giving, Kiva is one way to participate in this new type of philanthropy.
Kiva is a 4-Star Charity at Charity Navigator.
A social justice organization, Futures Without Violence, addresses some of the most high-profile issues today. From violence in the workplace to human trafficking, to bullying, to domestic violence, this organization fights on all fronts.
Just a visit to the website gives one data that cannot be ignored on these issues. For instance, one in four women in the US experience abuse by a partner, one in four teens is abused through technology, and 16 to 20 percent of women college students experience sexual assault while in college.
Futures Without Violence can be a one-stop shop if you care about these issues. The organization collects data, provides resources for all including Congress and the White House, works on awareness campaigns, and reaches out to partners of all kinds in communities.
Futures Without Violence is a 4-Star Charity at Charity Navigator.
It is a tragedy when women die from diseases that if discovered early can be treated and cured.
A small nonprofit working primarily in Haiti, IHI has pioneered easy tests for cervical cancer as well as supported research and treatment across Haiti. IHI is now testing women for HPV on a massive scale in Haiti.
IHI is also exploring why women’s cancers are not diagnosed until too late. The organization spends time in communities, and, with eight local partners, is developing a tool-kit to help community health workers connect women to the services they need. This will increase early detection and encourage local participation in healthcare through peer support groups.
IHI is recommended by Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times.
Child marriage is a huge problem worldwide. It is defined as a formal or informal marriage or arrangement where one or both partners are under 18 years of age. Globally, 15 million girls become child brides each year. Child marriage creates poor health, educational deficits, childbirth deaths, and many cases of domestic violence.
Child marriage is not confined to undeveloped countries either. Even in the US, many states have laws that allow it.
Girls Not Brides brings together some 800 organizations across the globe to fight this frightening and persistent cause of women’s inequality.
Girls Not Brides provides many ways to donate through crowdfunding sites such as GlobalGiving and Women’s Worldwide Web. You can choose among numerous projects ranging from bikes for girls in Nepal to empowering girls through sports in Afganistan. Whatever project you choose, rest assured that you’ve contributed to ending this hideous practice.
Girls Not Brides enjoys funding from foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation.