What we do | Theme | How does WO=MEN work?

How does WO=MEN work?

WO=MEN is the number one platform that strives for worldwide gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. We monitor policy, share knowledge, join forces and connect and mobilise people. We work on social transformation in order to achieve equal power relations between women and men, girls and boys, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Unequal power relations between people – such as those based on sex, race, class, disability or age (intersectionality) – must never lead to unequal treatment.
We focus specifically on three themes:
  1. Sustainable social, political and financial support for gender equality and women's rights;
  2. Women, men and gender non-conforming persons have equal influence and entitlement to natural resources (land, water, forests), manufacturing chains, (international) companies and climate agreements;
  3. Equal participation in peace processes and the prevention of new conflicts of women, men and gender non-conforming persons in (post) conflict situations.
WO=MEN connects and strengthens:
Lobbying & Advocacy
WO=MEN advocates and promotes, places issues on the agenda, informs, advises and influences society, ministries, institutes and politicians. We aim our joint efforts on the Dutch Parliament, Members of the European Parliament and the United Nations.


We advise the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Defence, Security & Justice, and Education, Culture and Science. We coordinate the input of Civil Society during the annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Woman (CSW). Together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we coordinate the National Action Plan 1325, which focuses on the involvement and security of women in (post) conflict areas. In addition, we place themes and trends on the agenda of social organisations, media, educational institutes and companies.

Connecting & Strengthening
Our network is the core of our Platform. We activate and mobilise individuals, groups and social organisations. Our members and secretariat are essential to collectively determine how and who we work with to exert influence. Our members are part of diverse themed working groups. In addition we form partnerships with partners in Alliantie Samen werkt het!, with WOMEN Inc., Atria, Breed Mensenrechtenoverleg (BMO) (Wide-ranging Human Rights Consultation), CONCORD, Count Me In! consortium, European Women's Lobby, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, the Dutch CEDAW Network (Netwerk VN-Vrouwenverdrag), NGO Working Group, PARTOS and WIDE+.

Members & Partners
By connecting members to (other) activists, organisations, academics and businesses, we join forces and connect the international gender equality and women's rights agenda and movement to those in the Netherlands.

An example of such a partnership is the Alliantie Samen werkt het!, in which we collaborate with WOMEN Inc, Bureau Clara Wichmann, the Dutch Council of Women (Nederlandse Vrouwen Raad), Movisie and the Ministry for Education, Culture and Science. Another example is the National Action Plan 1325, which we coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are also the leading coordinator in an alliance with Atria and the Dutch CEDAW Network to collaborate with other organisations within the Dutch civil society and inform them about the importance of the Netherlands' efforts related to gender equality and women's rights in the United Nations (UN).

Opportune alliances

WO=MEN is a part of the global gender equality and women's rights movement. Together with fellow activists, organisations and networks, we form opportune alliances, such as the Dutch Women's March. This allows us to respond in a flexible manner to current developments, while our long and medium-term goals remain our top priority. 


We are a member of and collaborate with platforms and networks such as Breed Mensenrechten Overleg, Emancipator, MenEngage, the Dutch Council of Women, Partos, and WIDE+. We are also a part of coalitions such as the Common Effort Community in which (I)NGOs, ministries and military personnel work on an improved integral approach to conflict resolution. We are also part of the independent NATO Civil Society Advisory Panel on Women, Peace & Security. In addition to the SDG Charter, SDG 5 and gender mainstreaming WO=MEN also monitors the other 16 goals. 

Gathering & sharing information
By collecting and translating our members’ and partners’ input, knowledge and experience into position papers and expert sessions, we advise policymakers. We write position papers, social media messages, provide training courses, convene meetings for companies, civil society, relevant ministries and Members of Parliament. We increase the accessibility of new knowledge and lessons learned. In addition, we collect and disseminate examples of best practices from the field. We distribute this knowledge via our newsletter 'WO=MEN News' and the DATABASE.

We have a sharp eye for gender equality and the violation of women's rights, as well as on the shrinking political, social and financial space. Therefore, we monitor laws and policies, expose unequal power relations, and raise the alarm on stereotyping and social and political trends. 

Our members, partners and secretariat play an extremely important role in this. Thanks to them, we keep a close watch on (changing) social and political power relations. Together we reach into the very sinews of civil society. Collectively we possess broad knowledge and experience of the international gender equality and women's rights movement. In the Netherlands and worldwide, including conflict-affected regions. 

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The Database contains information about gender equality, respect for women's rights and all the themes WO=MEN strives for worldwide.