Women and Gender Staff Unit

    Mission 21 is part of an international movement for gender equity. Gender equity is achieved when every human being – irrespective of gender and sexual orientation – can lead a life free of discrimination and violence. The Women and Gender Staff Unit collaborates with the Responsible Programme Officers in Mission 21's International Relations Department to work towards a world where more gender equity prevails. It is our responsibility to guarantee that women's concerns and life situations are taken into account in the planning, design, development and implementation of programmes. We offer advice, raise awareness, evaluate, create information and work materials, and we network the members of our partner organisations who are committed to gender equity.

    Gender equity programme

    Mission 21 supports its partners' regional and continental networks for women in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These networks make it possible for women to become actively involved in society and to defend themselves against gender-based discrimination and violence. We support and strengthen women who hold leadership positions in society, politics and the church.

    In order to turn the vision of gender equity into a reality, the Women and Gender Staff Unit at Mission 21 focuses its work in three strategic directions: Empowerment, Advocacy and Gender Mainstreaming.

    ► Gender equity programme


    Access to information and opportunities for individuals to pass their own knowledge on to others are key factors in the development of a society. Empowerment aims to develop know-how and leadership qualities on the basis of a holistic approach. Self-reflection and knowledge of relaxation techniques are also helpful to leaders in their sustained efforts to bring about more justice in the world. This is why self-care is a key element in this field. We encourage the exchange of experience and knowledge by organising training courses specifically geared to this goal, and through communication platforms such as the Women's Letter and the Women & Gender Blog. The Fund for the Advancement of Women also provides financial support so that our partner organisations' networks for women can continue to carry out their work effectively and sustainably.


    Advocacy means speaking or acting in support of a particular cause. Together with members of our partner organisations, we endeavour to enable disadvantaged people to improve their living conditions. Influencing public opinion is an effective strategy for achieving this objective. Workshops geared to this goal, based on the "Training of Trainers" principle, enable key individuals from partner organisations to share their experiences, acquire the skills they need and develop their networks. They are given support with advocating human rights for women, and they become familiar with advocacy instruments such as CEDAW (the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) and UN Resolution 1325. They can pass the knowledge they have acquired on to others in their society, organisation or church. In these ways, Mission 21 strengthens the advocacy work undertaken by women and men in our partner organisations at the local, national and international levels.

    ► Go to CEDAW

    ► Go to UN-Resolution 1325

    Gender Mainstreaming

    Gender Mainstreaming (GM) is a strategy that aims to eliminate the structural causes of gender-based inequality. At the fundamental level, GM takes systematic account of the differing life situations and interests of all people. Through measures to promote equality, GM enables women to benefit from access on the basis of equal rights to political and social decision-making processes, financial resources and services. We collaborate with the Responsible Programme Officers in Mission 21's International Relations Department to develop instruments and measures that will promote gender equity in the most effective and sustainable ways. In programme work, the goal of GM is to consider and include the concerns of women and men to an equal extent.


    Fund for the Advancement of Women

    The Fund for the Advancement of Women is part of our gender equity programme. For the women's network of our partner organisations, the Fund offers specific financial support targeted at selected projects. This enables them to continue their efforts to achieve gender equity on a sustained and effective basis.

    ► More information about the program for gender justice

    Women's Letter and Blog

    The Women's Letter, available to all interested readers, offers fascinating insights into the annual calendar of our women's network. The Women's Letter is the result of intercontinental cooperation. It carries reports on diverse experiences viewed from different perspectives, together with insights into the activities of our women's network. The Letter is published once each year in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Indonesian and German.

    ► Women's Letter 2021

    ► Perempuan surat 2021

    ► Frauenbrief 2021

    ► Carta de las mujeres 2021

    ► Lettre des femmes 2021



    International Women's Day

    International Women's Day on 8 March is an occasion for us to focus attention on violence against women and girls, and to join with other faith-based organisations in discussions about the current status of efforts to achieve gender equity. In 2019, the Women and Gender Staff Unit took part in a "future workshop" organised by the Feminist Theologians' Interest Group.

    ► Go to the Feminist Theologians' Interest Group (in German)

    Advocacy Training

    We organise workshops where key individuals from partner churches and organisations involved in our cooperation programmes can acquire skills for their advocacy work on the ground. Each year, the Women and Gender Staff Unit organises an advocacy workshop in Basel, based on the Training of Trainers (ToT) concept. The participants share about their experiences and the daily challenges posed by advocacy work, and they receive support so that they can act as multipliers in their local context to pass on the concepts, instruments and experiences that they have learned and acquired in the workshop.

    Mission 21 is also part of an ecumenical coalition of faith-based organisations which conducts an international training course on advocacy for women's human rights in Geneva. Participants gain insights into the UN's structures and instruments, with a particular focus on CEDAW (the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) and shadow reports as important tools for advocacy work.

    16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

    Every year, Mission 21 participates in the international "16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence" campaign. Each year's campaign lasts from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day. These dates also clearly signal the core message of the campaign: violence against women constitutes a violation of human rights. 

    ► More about the "16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence" campaign

    Women's Pre-Synod and International Women's Conference

    Every year, the Women's Pre-Synod and the International Women's Conference take place in connection with the Mission Synod. At the Women's Pre-Synod, female delegates from Africa, Latin America and Asia discuss the gender-specific problems affecting the continents. These problems are summarised in a final message to the Synod which is then presented to the Synod. The International Women's Conference, which is open to a wider audience, is organised in the form of workshops or panel discussions. The focus here is always on current challenges facing the continents in the fight for gender equity. 

    ► More about the Mission Synod

    World Day of Prayer

    In more than 170 countries all over the world, the service for the World Day of Prayer is celebrated on the first Friday in March every year. The World Day of Prayer is a grass-roots ecumenical movement initiated by Christian women. Mission 21 will participate in the celebration for the next time on 4 March 2022 with a prayer by women from England, Northern Ireland and Wales. 

    You can watch the 2021 World Day of Prayer service from Vanuatu in the Leonhardskirche Basel here: ► Watch video