Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)



Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women




05 - Gender Equality

Organization Type





Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) is a network of feminist scholars, researchers and activists from the economic South working for economic and gender justice and sustainable and democratic development. DAWN provides a forum for feminist research, analyses and advocacy on global issues (economic, social and political) affecting the livelihoods, living standards, rights and development prospects of women, especially poor and marginalized women, in regions of the South. Through research, analyses, advocacy and, more recently, training, DAWN seeks to support women’s mobilization within civil society to challenge inequitable social, economic and political relations at global, regional and national levels, and to advance feminist alternatives..

Since the founding of DAWN in 1984, the network has been recognized as a significant agent in the advancement of south feminist analyses in gender and development and a key participant in the global feminist / women’s movements. A political and ideological ‘south’ location-position remains vitally relevant in the era of globalization, albeit a radically different South standpoint from that taken in relation to the ‘older’ global political economy.

DAWN’s feminism entails countering the material bases for social, economic and political inequalities, injustices and exclusions. DAWN envisions processes of economic and social development that are geared to enabling human rights and freedoms. DAWN draws strength from, and is committed to further empowering, the women’s movement in the South. Its various activities include:

  • developing and disseminating analyses of the economic, social, cultural and political processes which cause and perpetuate inequalities of gender, class, race and other forms of unfair social ordering and discrimination;

  • engaging in global and regional inter-governmental and non-governmental forums and processes to challenge and change mainstream thinking, policy and practice which hurt poor women in the South;

  • co-sponsoring global civil society initiatives aimed at achievingsustainable, equitable and gender-just social, economic and political development;

  • contributing to selected reform initiatives instituted in response to feminist or civil society demands for global institutional or policy changes; and

  • providing training in analysis and advocacy skills to young feminists from the South who are engaged (or interested) in working on global issues covered by the four DAWN themes.


“We want a world where inequalities and discrimination based on gender and all other identities are eliminated from every country and from the relationships among countries and peoples; where development processes are founded on social solidarity and economic, political, ecological, social, and personal justice; where poverty and violence are eradicated; where human rights in their fullest and most expansive sense are the foundation of laws, public policies, and private actions.

We want a world where the massive resources now used to produce the means of destruction are diverted to building ethical and socially responsive development alternatives, promoting lasting peace, and justice within and outside the home; a world where people interact with ecological systems in humane and sustainable ways.

Such a world would ensure bodily integrity and security of personhood in every dimension of our lives, promote inclusiveness and respect for diversities, and realize sexual and reproductive rights for all. Women would share equally in determining priorities and making decisions at all levels and in every location, and all institutions would be committed to inclusive, participatory and democratic processes. We believe that respecting and realizing the human rights of all peoples in this way will affirm the ethical basis for a just and humane world.”

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