International Women’s Development Agency


Region: Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands 
Founded: 1985 
Scope of Work: Regional


Gender equality; feminist movements; power, leadership and civic space; freedom from violence; gendered climate justice; systemic change.


IWDA's vision is gender equality for all, and our purpose is to advance and protect the rights of diverse women and girls. We are an Australian-based organisation, resourcing women’s rights organisations primarily in Asia and the Pacific, and contributing to global feminist movements to advance our vision of gender equality for all.

IWDA advances their vision of gender equality for all by:

Power, leadership
and civic space

Freedom from violence

Gendered climate

Feminist knowledge
creation that
and gender norms

Leveraging their
advocacy power and
influence across Asia
and the Pacfific

Regional Reach

IWDA's reach from 2016 to mid-2020 as part of the Women’s Action for Voice and Empowerment regional program in five countries.


women survivors of gender-based violence supported


women have assumed civil and political leadership positions


people trained on gender issues and women’s equal rights

Key wins

Increased Leadership in Papua New Guinea

IWDA developed a ground-breaking women’s leadership program with sixteen women’s rights organisations in five countries, called Women’s Action for Voice and Empowerment (WAVE), funded by the Government of the Netherlands. One key win stemming from this collaborative initiative is shared below.

In Papua New Guinea, rates of violence against women are amongst the highest in the world, with prevalence rates at 70%, and up to 100% in some parts of the country. Given high rates of discrimination and gender bias, women’s leadership also remains low. Currently there are no women represented at either provincial or national parliaments. IWDA partners lobby for gender quotas; support capacity development for women leaders; and respond to and advocate for survivors of sexual and gender based violence.

IWDA has contributed to transformational shifts in the political and community leadership of women, changing women's lives and increasing their status.

“I have the courage to address issues because I already know networks that I can connect to, to seek advice and support.”

A woman leader from Papua New Guinea commented as part of the Women’s Leadership Pathways research.

In 2018 in Papua New Guinea, WAVE partners supported the appointment of 14 women to a range of local government committees, including Ward development and law and order committees; assisted more than 20 women to secure community leadership roles; and supported five women to stand for government and Ward elections in East Pomio for the first time. IWDA's role in this achievement was as the convenor of WAVE, and as distributor of funds to local community groups.

Key wins

Redefining how poverty is understood and measured using a gender-sensitive and intersectional approach

For more than 12 years, IWDA has worked in multi-stakeholder partnerships to build a tool for tracking how development is changing the lives of the world's most deprived. The tool, then known as the Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) is the world’s first individual-level, gender-sensitive, multidimensional measure of poverty. The IDM has been transformational in offering a credible and robust alternative to the most common methodologies of poverty measurement in a way that puts poor men and women at the centre. IWDA has played a lead role in ensuring the IDM is gender transformative, and in conducting country-level studies. We also represent the IDM in international spaces such as CSW and HLPF, as well as UN Statistics convenings. From 1 August 2020, IWDA is taking this work forward under a new flagship program called Equality Insights.

“IWDA has played a lead role in ensuring the IDM is gender transformative, and in conducting country-level studies. We also represent the IDM in international spaces such as CSW and HLPF, as well as UN Statistics convenings.”

The IDA was developed in collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU) and International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA), supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

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