We work to advance gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment in all social, economic and political spheres.
We provide technical assistance to member countries to support skills training and capacity building initiatives, monitoring and evaluation and high level advocacy, research and knowledge generation and lead the way for building consensus on key global priorities for gender equality for the Commonwealth.
Our work centres on key aspects of human development towards the achievement of the Commonwealth’s priorities on gender equality:
- women in leadership
- women’s economic empowerment
- ending violence against women and girls
- gender and climate change
- the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, and global, regional and national commitments on gender equality and overall empowerment of women.
There are three inter-linked functions to our gender work:
- Promoting women’s rights and gender equality in Commonwealth countries through advocacy, policy advice, capacity building, and technical assistance.
- Convening policy dialogue and consensus building through triennial meetings of Commonwealth Ministers responsible for Women’s Affairs, annual meetings of Commonwealth Women’s National Machineries and the Commonwealth Women’s Forum.
- Leading and coordinating policies, systems and mechanisms for effective gender mainstreaming.
Women in leadership
Women’s access to decision-making in the political, public and private sectors is essential to achieving gender equality. Read more
Women’s economic empowerment
The approach of gender-inclusive growth is multi-faceted and requires the ending of discriminatory norms that deny women access to credit and financial services and keep them economically disempowered.
Ending violence against women and girls
Violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive human rights violations, having a detrimental impact on the rights of women and girls to non-discrimination, equal protection before the law and equality before the law.
Gender and climate change
Different genders experience climate change and disasters differently. Women and children are more likely to die, injured or be displaced by disasters, many exacerbated by climate change.
- Commonwealth Secretariat Gender Equality Policy (PDF, 422 KB)
- Commonwealth Priorities for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment 2017-2020 and Beyond (PDF, 358 KB)
- Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines for Project Planning (PDF, 358 KB)
- Guide for Mainstreaming Gender into Commonwealth Ministers’ Meetings (PDF, 123 KB)
The Commonwealth Women’s Forum 2021 was due to take place in Kigali, Rwanda. It is one of four gatherings to be held on the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
CHOGM and associated meetings were due to have been held in June 2021 but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The theme for the 2018 CWF was "An empowered future for women and girls".