About Us

We are
COFEM

Listen to members speak out on why they feel we need COFEM!

Our
Story

The Coalition of Feminists for Social Change (COFEM) is an advocacy collective of thought leaders, activists, practitioners and academics working globally to end violence against women and girls (VAWG—also referred to as gender-based violence, or ‘GBV’). COFEM’s key strength lies in the collective expertise and experience of our members, who have made significant contributions to advancing women’s rights and ending VAWG in humanitarian and development settings across the world.

Particularly in the 1990s and early 2000s, there were many positive developments in national and international normative and legal frameworks regarding VAWG, as well as increased investment and growth in VAWG technical expertise, guidance and standards within humanitarian and development fields.  The fact of gender discrimination as a driver of GBV and the value of gender mainstreaming work focusing on gender equality were at the forefront of programming.

In the last decade, however, many feminist practitioners, academics, and activists who make up COFEM’s membership (and beyond) have become increasingly alarmed by the shrinking space for work on VAWG and by the active undermining of work to center women and girls in GBV discourse and practice (in humanitarian and development settings).

Through its network, COFEM aims to build a community and foster collective action in which feminist-informed theory and practice on oppression, discrimination and violence are the core of efforts to address GBV.  COFEM strongly believes such efforts must prioritize women-centered and women-led initiatives and be grounded in intersectional feminist analysis and approaches to transformation.

COFEM is committed to ensuring:

Women and girl-led movements and activism are at the forefront of efforts to end violence against women and girls, and this is reflected in GBV initiatives, programmes and research.

Feminist-informed experts working to address violence against women and girls are engaged in decision-making processes around GBV funding, programme design and implementation progress.

Men and boys are engaged in work to end their perpetration of violence against women and girls and to support structural changes in support of gender equality in ways that are accountable to women and girls.

The language of ‘gender’ as well as ‘gender-based violence’ focuses on the political project of ending structural gender inequalities that perpetuate violence against women and girls.

Practitioners, researchers, donors and policy-makers recognise the distinct drivers and impacts of violence against women and girls, and insist on specialized programming, services and responses to address this violence and support gender equality.

Partnerships and networks are formed with communities working on violence driven by other factors in order to cultivate a spirit of collective action rather than ‘victimhood competition.’