COFEM Feminist Pocketbook

Why the COFEM Feminist Pocketbook?


Sometimes it can be hard to find accessible, non-academic resources to help people working in humanitarian and development settings understand and implement feminist approaches to addressing violence against women and girls (VAWG), and empower them to promote women-centred GBV theory and practice. To build the confidence and competence of practitioners, researchers, policy-makers and other advocates, COFEM has developed the Feminist Pocketbook – a series of short, easily digestible tip sheets.

Additionally, watch our Feminist Pocketbook video series here! In this video series, COFEM members reflect on how guidance in the Feminist Pocketbook has helped them more effectively articulate and implement feminist-informed approaches to addressing VAWG in their work. We are sure that their perspectives resonate with many, and we encourage you to share these videos forward with colleagues and friends.

We have also created a social media toolkit with tweets and graphics that further highlight the messages found in the Feminist Pocketbook, which you can download here for your own use!

The Feminist Pocketbook is a resource to support practitioners, researchers and others working in humanitarian and development settings to articulate and implement feminist-informed approaches to addressing VAWG, also referred to as gender-based violence (GBV). The Pocketbook consists of 10 ‘tip sheets’ on key topics related to addressing GBV in humanitarian and development settings. The goal of the Pocketbook is to empower practitioners, researchers and activists to help their colleagues, organisations and other stakeholders improve advocacy, policy and programming efforts by promoting a common theoretical ground for shared understanding and action.

While there are many different feminisms that bring diversity and richness to the women’s rights movement, a fundamental and shared feminist perspective is that the problem of VAWG is grounded in gender hierarchies and gender inequality—that is, it is gender-based.

A feminist perspective emphasizes individual and collective empowerment of women and transformation of the social and structural dimensions of women’s inequality and subordination. A feminist perspective is essential for understanding and dismantling the underpinning systems of power, especially gender inequality, that produce, reinforce and perpetuate GBV.

The Pocketbook is for everyone!  But it  particularly speaks to (and has recommendations for) practitioners, researchers, policy-makers and donors working to prevent and respond to GBV in development and humanitarian settings. We hope the Pocketbook will help GBV colleagues engage more effectively with key stakeholders on the importance of a feminist-informed approach to addressing GBV.

Share, share, share! The Pocketbook is a tool that practitioners can use in programme implementation, as well as when advocating with key stakeholders, partner organisations, policy-makers and donors. As a whole, the Pocketbook wonderfully illustrates how many of the challenges we face are interlinked. It can be used in its entirety to provide an overview for understanding and implementing a feminist perspective in GBV work, and individual tip sheets can be shared and used to guide GBV work around specific issues.

Hear from our members about why these tip sheets are important!

Video montage of Member Reflections on COFEM’s Feminist Pocketbook Tip Sheet Series

View additional COFEM member reflection videos on the tip sheets here, in which COFEM members reflect on how guidance found in each of the tip sheets has helped them in their work. Also, download our Feminist Pocketbook social media toolkit here for your own use.

Download Individual Tip Sheets:

Tip Sheet 1: Why does a feminist perspective matter in work to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls?

Tip Sheet 2: Why does GBV programming focus on women and girls?

Tip Sheet 3: Connecting gender-based violence, sexual harassment and everyday sexism

Tip Sheet 4: Staying accountable to women and girls

Tip Sheet 5: Feminist approaches to building knowledge and evidence on GBV

Tip Sheet 7: Violence against men and boys

Tip Sheet 8: Maximising impact: Understanding risks and benefits of coordinated efforts to address different forms of violence