Gender is about how societies see men and women in different contexts, leading to them, in some cases, being valued differently.  It is well known in most societies that women were, historically, considered of less importance than men - unable to carry out certain roles and responsibilities, often subservient or considered of little consequence.

Western society held these perceptions also; and, over the passage of time, has come to understand that we celebrate differences, but that we must offer opportunities equally. In some societies throughout the world, however, this stage in social development has not yet been reached. Women still have LESS access to education, government roles, earning capacity and 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty are women

Beyond this, there is an issue of violence. These attitudes to women breed a culture where men may perceive that it is acceptable to subject women to violence, sexual or emotional abuse. Many societies are accepting of such, also, and do not implement consequences for such actions. This, in turn, leads to women feeling as if this is appropriate behaviour - they learn to live in such contexts and expect little else for their lives.

We have to change this. We place significant emphasis on addressing violence against women, both directly, with education and training; and indirectly, by supporting women into business, into education and training, into programmes that build their self esteem and empower them in their own communities. Relief and social development cannot succeed whilst inequality is still prevalent. This is why this work is so important and such an intrinsic part of all we do.