Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

WELDD TimelineWELDD was created to build transformative feminist leadership that is sustainable to advance equal rights and opportunities for women and girls.


Nurturing feminist leadership

The Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation (WELDD) programme was jointly developed by Shirkat Gah- Women’s Resource Centre (SG), Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), and the Institute for Women’s Empowerment (IWE) following remarkable changes in the ways people around the world express their demands for freedom, equality and justice. Our mission is to support women’s empowerment and to boost capacity to challenge inequality worldwide by nurturing women’s leadership. Working with women’s rights activists across the Global South, our goal is to create transformative and sustainable feminist leadership in countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia including Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Senegal, Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Tunisia.

WELDD is spearheaded by Shirkat Gah. Based in Pakistan, Shirkat Gah emerged nearly 40 years ago as a non-hierarchical women’s collective to integrate consciousness-raising with a development perspective, and advocacy with action. Engaged in gender justice issues from the grassroots to the national, regional and international level, Shirkat Gah promotes women’s empowerment for social justice and social justice for women’s empowerment. For more about Shirkat Gah go to http://www.shirkatgah.org.

The international solidarity network,Women Living Under Muslim Laws,has been active for three decades across countries where women’s lives are shaped by laws said to be driven from Islam. Its mission is to effectively advance gender justice, equality and women’s rights by linking women from Muslim communities and collectively empowering women in their local struggles to reach their own goals in their own unique contexts. Transnational, flexible and non-hierarchal, WLUML is at the core of a unique network that mobilizes around the issues of women’s rights and the political use of religion. For more see http://www.wluml.org.

The third consortium member, Institute for Women’s Empowerment, was founded by a group of engaged researchers and political advocates, who are active in regional and international networks working on various issues around the empowerment of women.  Among others, issues include religious fundamentalisms, land rights, sexualities, political participation, economic justice and the sustainability of activism, organisations and movements.  IWE’s mission is to enable women to challenge and transform unjust power relations and structures which obstruct their full access to and enjoyment of their rights and entitlements. Please see http://www.iwe-women.org.

All three partners, SG, WLUML and IWE, have long been at the forefront of advocacy for gender equality in different socio-cultural and political contexts.  They see the WELDD programme as an opportunity to strengthen and expand their existing programmes and activities by focusing on women’s leadership, over and beyond specific issues, while ensuring that activities implemented under WELDD support the actions that women are already engaged in or desire to address in their own contexts.


Advancing equal rights for women and girls

The overarching goal of WELDD is ‘to build women’s leadership by advancing equal rights and opportunities for women and girls.’ This will be done through the delivery of activities under four thematic areas:

  1. Public and Political participation;
  2. Peace and security;
  3. Culturally justified violence against women (CVAW); and
  4. Land and economic rights.

Through its transnational work, WELDD aims to connect women’s rights organizations and build international solidarity around a shared agenda of social, cultural, economic and political transformation for equality and the realisation of human rights for all.


Amplifying voices for justice

The WELDD programme strives, through its work, to contribute to a world that recognises, nurtures and responds to feminist women leaders active across a broad range of issues, contexts and power dynamics, locally, regionally and globally. Engaging with new and vibrant movements from the Global South, WELDD supports the creation of communities of women able to engage locally and act globally for gender justice.

In pursuit of women’s equality and social justice, WELDD views leadership and power through the lens of transformational feminist leadership. Transformational feminist leadership aims to create social change and gender justice. It strives to use power, resources and skills in non-oppressive, generative and inclusive ways so as to mobilize others towards the realization of women’s human rights. From agency to empowerment, to leadership, WELDD aims to support a new wave of women’s rights activists as they transform the very nature of leadership and the world.