Human Rights and Gender Equity

Heartland Alliance International (HAI) fully integrates human rights principles and gender analysis into all of our programming, including those wholly dedicated to women and girls and the LGBTQI+ community.


The Need

Around the world, entrenched systems of gender inequality prevent women and girls and LGBTQI+ individuals from accessing equal education, employment, and health care. This places them at risk of exclusion, harassment, and violence. Women and girls and LGBTQI+ individuals are often exposed to complex layers of discrimination – as women, as survivors of violence, as people living with HIV – with very limited access to competent, compassionate care or justice.

  • Globally, only 24% of all national parliamentarians are women. Fewer than half of women are employed and those who are, earn only 60-75% of men’s wages. Pregnant individuals face even more extreme discrimination at work.
  • One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime, often from an intimate partner. Among sex workers, this number can reach 90%.
  • In more than 70 countries, same-sex sexual activity is illegal, and in at least 5 countries, same sex sexual acts can be punished by death.

HAI envisions a world where everyone is free from gender-based discrimination, abuse, harassment, and violence and has equal access to health, jobs, and justice regardless of their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

To achieve this vision, HAI:

  • Provides direct services to meet the mental health and psychosocial needs of marginalized women, girls, and LGBTQI+ and gender non-conforming individuals
  • Sensitizes law enforcement and local authorities on gender discrimination and abuse
  • Supports public health professionals and other service providers to provide non-discriminatory, trauma-informed services
  • Strengthens grassroots organizations that advance the rights of women and sexual minorities
  • Empowers the most vulnerable women and girls to exercise their full economic rights, free from discrimination and harassment at work
  • Creates safe spaces for women, girls, and marginalized groups to meet, build leadership skills, and develop plans for collective action and social change