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Global Fund for Women has a long history of supporting women who are disrupting the status quo and building powerful social movements for women’s rights.

From creating secret schools for girls in Afghanistan to launching the first-ever women’s fund in Mexico to get more money to grassroots women’s groups, meet five bold women driving real change in their communities, countries, and around the world. Five disruptors taking risks for bigger gains for women’s human rights.

At the core of each of these case studies is a fundamental principle that inspired Global Fund for Women’s founders that continues to drive our work today: trusting grassroots women leaders to innovate and to do what’s best for their own communities. With trust, partnership, and funding, Global Fund for Women enabled the five groups spotlighted in Disruptors to create meaningful and lasting change for women’s human rights.

Share these powerful stories of #Disruptors and join the conversation. What are your ideas for bigger gains for gender equality?

Checkout our action toolkit for 8 ways you can help make a difference now for women’s rights. Donate to help more innovative ideas, solutions, and possibilities from grassroots women’s groups grow and make an impact.

Campaign in depth


In many regions of Uganda, rural women live below the poverty line, and food scarcity means these women must work on farms simply to keep enough food on the table to feed their families. Action for Rural Women’s Empowerment (ARUWE) began in 2000 in Kampala, Uganda, to address the needs of rural women and support…

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As a child growing up in Afghanistan, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, the founder of Afghan Institute of Learning [AIL], witnessed daily instances of women suffering abuse, violence, and maternal health issues. “Every day, I saw a woman’s or a child’s body taken to the graveyard,” says Sakena. “My own mother had 16 pregnancies, and just five…


A few years after founding Global Fund for Women, Anne Firth Murray wanted to carry forward her belief that women’s funds—organizations that work to mobilize more resources for grassroots women’s groups and empower women’s movements—should not exist exclusively within the United States. She was determined for other countries to have women’s grantmaking organizations like Global…


In Uganda, rural women’s voices are often unheard and their needs left unmet. But Isis-WICCE—Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange—has been focused on amplifying the voices of women while emphasizing grassroots empowerment. Shortly after their founding, Isis-WICCE discovered a specific issue they wanted to help address: women were being intimidated by men in Uganda’s Internet cafés. While…

Disrupting gender equality

The power of innovation & trust By Musimbi Kanyoro Every day, I’m inspired by the people I meet. My work reminds me of what’s possible when women come together, plant an idea—a seed as we often refer to it—and nurture it to not only extend its roots but also branch out and grow and expand.…