In the Issues Affecting Women Programme, we seek to contribute to a world in which women are safe from violence and are free to exercise their full and equal human rights. We seek to build a strong and vibrant movement of women who are empowered individually and collectively to challenge patriarchal norms and tackle the root causes of inequality.


We support organisations that work to end patterns of violence and exploitation that disrupt women’s lives by ensuring that rights-based laws and policies guarantee an environment free from violence, and by transforming harmful social norms. This is complemented by support to a range of comprehensive services that empower women to recover from the trauma of violence and rebuild their lives. We particularly recognise the vital importance of giving marginalised groups of women a chance to exercise their influence and have their voices heard.


Katharina Samara-Wickrama is the new director for our Issues Affecting Women Programme. In this video she talks about the grant-making strategy of the programme.


The Issues Affecting Women Programme primarily supports women’s organisations, groups or funds that:

Adopt a rights-based approach;

Recognise women as rights holders and advance the rights of women and gender equality;

Have a participatory and empowering approach that places women centre stage, building on their strengths and ensuring their full and equal participation in society;

Promote systemic changes that hold duty bearers (i.e. governments and institutions) fully accountable for respecting, protecting and fulfilling women’s rights;

Contribute to the broader women’s movement by complementing individual and community action with networking and joint advocacy initiatives; and

Take an integrated and holistic approach, considering women in the context of their environment and culture as well as understanding the nature and causes of the issues affecting them;

Build evidence that contributes to best practices and catalyses innovation.




Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, Africa, India and North America, we make grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.


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