Home >About Us >Gender
  • Women in leadership

    Women’s access to decision-making in the political, public and private sectors is essential to achieving gender equality. 

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  • 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. 


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 centers on key aspects of human development towards the achievement of the Commonwealth’s priorities on gender equality: (i) women in leadership; (ii) women’s economic empowerment; (iii) ending violence against women and girls; and (iv) 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:

  1. Promoting women’s rights and gender equality in Commonwealth countries through advocacy, policy advice, capacity building, and technical assistance.
  2. 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.
  3. Leading and coordinating policies, systems and mechanisms for effective gender mainstreaming. 

The Commonwealth Women's Forum (CWF) is held at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM), with the first having taken place at Malta. The theme for the 2018 CWF was "An empowered future for women and girls".

Commonwealth Women's Forum 2018 Report

Ministers present actions on gender equality for consideration by Commonwealth leaders Ministers seated at table during the meeting

Women’s affairs ministers have agreed on actions to accelerate gender equality to be presented to Commonwealth leaders when they meet in Rwanda next year. The priorities are set out in the outcome statement made by the 12th Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Study shows encouraging progress in Commonwealth towards gender equality Delegates at the Commonwealth Women's Affairs Ministers Meeting in Kenya

A new Commonwealth paper finds “impressive improvements” in women’s access to maternal health, enrolment in primary school and participation in the workforce. The technical paper was released at the 12th Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

All-female panel opens meeting of women’s affairs ministers in Kenya Delegates at the Commonwealth Women's Affair's Ministers Meeting

An all-female panel opened the 12th Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (WAMM) in Nairobi, 34 years after the first such event featured an all-male panel. WAMM has been held every three years since 1985 and provides the opportunity for ministers, senior officials, civil society, private sector and partner agencies to explore and agree on workable strategies and solutions to tackle gender disparities.

New book will help East African judges handle cases of violence against women The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth with delegates holding case law handbook

A Commonwealth handbook launched today will help East African judicial officers proactively handle cases of violence against women and girls (VAWG), which affects up to one in three women in their lifetime.

'Enshrine equal rights for women in law’ senior judges tell leaders Delegates on a panel at the Commonwealth Women's Affairs Meeting

Senior judges and officials have urged leaders to work with judiciary and the civil society to remove discriminatory gender laws and introduce equal rights in the legal system. 

Commonwealth women’s affairs ministers to join forces on gender equality strategy Delegate at Women Affairs Ministers Meeting

Commonwealth women’s affairs ministers will assemble in Nairobi on 19 and 20 September for their triennial meeting to consider a robust strategy to achieve gender equality goals in all 53 member countries by 2030.