Equality for women and girls

At Sightsavers, we fight for women’s rights to make sure all women and girls can get health care, go to school, get a job and participate in decisions that affect their lives.

Two women wearing colourful headscarves lean together and smile.

Worldwide, women and girls experience multiple forms of discrimination. This increases their risk of poverty, disease, disability, violence and even death.

Women and girls are more likely to live in poverty than men. It’s thought 340 million women will experience extreme poverty by 2030 unless action is taken.

These inequalities are compounded for women with disabilities, who make up 18% of the female population. They face extra barriers because of the stigma around disability.

At Sightsavers, making sure women’s rights are upheld is critical in everything we do. This includes the right to go to school, get a job, vote, or make informed choices about sexual and reproductive health.

We believe in equality and an equitable world for everyone. That’s why we work with women’s groups, organisations of people with disabilities, governments and partners to ensure women have equal rights in society.

Where is a woman’s place?

Six women reveal how they’ve defied discrimination and negative attitudes to define their own place in society.

Read their stories
A white and yellow icon representing an eye with cataracts. The pupil and iris are covered with dashed yellow lines.

Women are more likely than men to be blind or have a visual impairment

A white and yellow icon of a small bottle of medicine, with one round tablet leaning on its side.

257 million women around the world don’t have access to contraception

Worldwide, just 1% of women with disabilites are literate

Sources: The Lancet, United Nations, UNGEI

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How we support women and girls

We improve access to health care

We partner with governments to make sure women, particularly those with disabilities, can access health services and treatment.

How our health research is helping 50 million women


We challenge stigma and discrimination

We put women’s rights at the centre of our work, and our social behaviour change projects address negative attitudes around gender.

Learn about our social behaviour change programmes

Mortar board icon.

We make schools more inclusive

We work with teachers, parents, communities and governments to promote access to education and encourage girls to go to school.

Hear the stories of female students in Sierra Leone

We help to tackle gender-based violence

We work alongside women with disabilities and local organisations to develop ways to address violence against women and girls.

How we’re boosting gender-based violence services

We promote accessible sexual health

We make sure women and girls can make informed choices about sexual and reproductive health, so they are in control of their lives.

How we’re helping to improve access to sexual health services

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We push for political participation

We help women vote and participate in politics by partnering with governments, community groups and local associations.

How we achieved gender parity on UN committee

How you can help

Our work to ensure equality for women and girls is making great strides, but there’s still more to do.

With your support, we want to continue to close the gender gap, fight discrimination, provide opportunities for women and make sure they can access their rights. To do this, we need your help.

Charity donations, legacies, corporate partnerships and gifts from charitable foundations are a vital source of funding. We also welcome opportunities to work in partnership with governments, institutions and development organisations.

Contact us: If you have any questions about our work to support women and girls, would like details about our programmes or wish to discuss ways to donate or support us, email [email protected]

Latest stories about women and girls

A lab scientist in Nigeria examines samples under a microscope.
Sightsavers blog

How our research could help more than 50 million women

Sightsavers researchers are working to understand how we can care for women with female genital schistosomiasis, a devastating disease that affects millions of women in Africa.

Omosefe Osinoiki, June 2024
A female researcher speaks to a woman about her experience of female genital schistosomiasis.
Sightsavers blog

Why community collaboration is important in our research

Our research on female genital schistosomiasis has shown the need to establish a safe environment for participants when studying sensitive topics.

Omosefe Osinoiki, April 2024
Three women discuss gender-based violence at a workshop in Uganda.
Sightsavers blog

Collaborating to improve gender-based violence services

Women and girls with disabilities face a higher risk of gender-based violence, yet they are often prevented from receiving support due to inaccessible services.

Lucy Muchiri, November 2023
Sightsavers blog

Improving contraceptive choices and bodily autonomy for women and girls with disabilities

There is compelling evidence that improving access to contraception can reduce mortality and high-risk pregnancies, improve child health and increase protection against sexually transmitted infections.

Hannah Dawson.
Sightsavers blog

A leap in the right direction: takeaways from the Women Deliver conference

The event served as a platform for myself and other Sightsavers colleagues to engage in discussions about how to dismantle barriers and tackle the obstacles impeding progress around women’s rights.

Hannah Dawson, September 2023
Joy Shu’aibu, Sightsavers’ director of programme operations in Nigeria.

Sightsavers to call for action on disability rights at Women Deliver Conference

The conference, taking place in Kigali on 17-20 July 2023, is one of the world’s largest multi-sector events to advance gender equality.

July 2023

Help us take action on International Women’s Day

How to get involved