10 Women's Charities Making an Impact in Britain
Every day, behind the scenes, women's charities across the country are fighting, campaigning, and advocating on behalf of women in the U.K. and elsewhere.
Depressingly, research from the Association for Women's Rights in Development in 2013 found that women's rights organizations — despite being a critical resource for women in crisis — are desperately underfunded, receiving an estimated average income of just over £14,000 a year.
Whether helping victims of domestic abuse, protecting those whose human rights have been violated, or working to narrow gender gaps in fields like sport, technology and business, the women's charities making an impact in Britain today remind us that while women have come so far, there is always more to fight for, barriers to break down, stereotypes to overturn and lives to be helped.
Here are 10 charities to put on your radar.
1. The Fawcett Society
Hands up if you're infuriated that the pay gap is 13.9 percent for women in the U.K. working full-time? At our current rate of progress, it'll take another half-century before it's closed. Ugh.
The Fawcett Society, the UK's leading charity for women's rights and gender equality (at work, at home and everywhere) is 150 years old this year. For this organization, nothing says let's celebrate like a petition to Parliament to get the first statue of a woman up in Parliament Square (and who better than Millicent Fawcett to be the woman in question?) The charity is known for its hard work challenging sexism, and has played a significant role in pushing the gender pay gap to the forefront of peoples' minds. The Fawcett Society also successfully campaigned for the government to require companies to publish their pay gap.
Keep an eye out for the charity's #150women campaign on Twitter, which pays tribute to the achievements of women over the last 150 years.
2. Women in Sport
From increasing the visibility of women's sport in the UK to working with schools and educators to make sport a part of girls' lives from childhood, Women in Sport wants to diversify the landscape of British athletes - and crush the statistic that 1.73 million more men than women play sport in England every week. The charity partnered with Sports England on the memorable This Girl Can campaign — which got 260,000 more women and girls playing sport in the UK in 2016 than 2015 - and also fights for gender diversity in sports organization leadership and encourages women to speak out about sexism in sport. Four-time Olympic swimming medalist Rebecca Adlington was recently named its ambassador.
3. Women's Aid
Working to help prevent women and children from suffering domestic abuse, through education, advocacy and work with survivors, Women's Aid is behind the Child First campaign, which aims to stop preventable child deaths at the hands of known domestic abusers by putting children first in family court. The organization is also working to save women's refuges — a third of women who seek refuge while fleeing from domestic violence are turned away, due to lack of space — and offers a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in conjunction with Refuge, another charity working to end domestic abuse.
4. Helen Bamber Foundation
A U.K.-based human rights charity which helps victims of torture, trafficking, war and any other human rights violations, Helen Bamber helps to provide medical care, legal assistance and creative therapies to individuals and families who are among the estimated 30 percent of people in the U.K. requesting international protection having experienced torture or serious harm. Actress and campaigner Emma Thompson works actively with the organization.
5. Smart Works
Helping over 2,000 low-income women in the U.K. get jobs and gain financial independence, Smart Works helps by providing interview training and clothing to women, helping them to build the confidence needed for them to succeed. One in every two women they help gets the job.
6. Rights of Women
Working to increase women's understanding of the legal system, provide them with legal information and advice and improve the law and women's access to justice, Rights of Women focuses on putting an end to violence against women. The charity also has a directory of advice lines and lots of helpful information and handbooks — from coping with the aftermath of sexual violence to legal guides on children and the law — on its website.
Rosa fights for equality for all women and girls, whether that means closing the gender pay gap or seeing more female representation on FTSE 100 boards. The organization supports and invests in initiatives that work to improve women's health and wellbeing, champion women's safety and help to promote economic justice, leadership and participation. Rosa also connects organizations for collaborative work — like when women's groups Imkaan, Object and EVAW partnered for Rewind&Reframe, which speaks out against racism and sexism in music videos — and spearheads campaigns, like the 'Fair Deal for Women' campaign ahead of the 2015 general election.
8. Marie Stopes
Named after 19th century reproductive rights campaigner Marie Stopes, the international organization provides sexual health services and screenings, contraception and abortion care and advice to both women and men. The charity also offers a 24/7 information and help line as well as clinics around the country for women in need.
9. Wish Women's Mental Health Charity
The only national mental health charity just for women, Wish has been running since 1987 and helps women with mental health issues transition from prisons and hospitals back into the general community. Charity workers at Wish equip women with a voice through advocacy, emotional support and practical help with housing, support services and finances.
10. Body Gossip
Working to make everybody feel body beautiful and banish the depressing statistic that has 70 percent of girls listing their relationship with their body as their 'number one worry,' arts and education charity Body Gossip encourages individuals to write their real body stories, which are then performed through theater shows, films and self-esteem workshops in schools.
Photo Credit: Peter Dazeley