Amaliah regularly conduct classroom discussions on gender-based violence and child early and forced marriage among their schoolmates as part of their commitments in the student government council. Photo: Vina Salazar | Oxfam

“Marriage should be for adults, at the proper time, and out of free will.”

It seems like an obvious statement to make around marriage. But when you consider a country like the Philippines, which currently ranks 12th highest in the world as it relates to child marriage with 726,000 child brides, that statement by Filipino Senator Risa Hontiveros packs a little more punch. And it’s why the senator, along with several women’s rights organizations and Oxfam Pilipinas, have been working together for several years to make the proposed Girls Not Brides Act a law.

If the Girls not Brides Act

Firefighters work in the rubble and debris on a residential street in Beirut, Lebanon following the port explosion on Aug, 4, 2020 that levelled the city. Photo: Shutterstock

For as long as I can remember, Beirut has occupied a part of my heart in a way like no other place on earth. On August 4, that part shattered into a million tiny shards along with the explosion that levelled the port city. Sharp and painful, I bled as if with a million tiny cuts.

Countless Lebanese networks came alive in shock and horror with those of us trying to understand what happened as we searched frantically for family and friends thousands of kilometres away. …

Woman in Bangladesh. Photo by Caroline Leal | Oxfam Canada

The world is suffering through a pandemic unlike any other. It has been shutting down households, imprisoning lives, insidiously disrupting economies, and crippling populations across the world. It knows no age, no class, no educational background, no ethnicity and no borders.

And no, it’s not COVID-19. We are talking about Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), a global pandemic that continues to adversely impact women and girls in every single country of the world. Despite its scope, public acceptance of the severity of this particular pandemic is still contested. …

Photo by: Tim Mossholder | Unsplash

There’s no ‘pause’ button for care

The Coronavirus is highlighting just how essential care work — paid and unpaid — is to our economy, health and survival. The idea that we are in an economic ‘shutdown’ is a misnomer. Huge amounts of unpaid care work are forcing many (mainly women) to work overtime at home — as ‘teachers’, ‘cleaners’, ‘cooks’ and ‘nurses’.

While many sectors have been scaled down or put on hold, we cannot similarly press ‘pause’ on the life-sustaining carework that is currently holding up our households, communities, care homes and hospitals. It’s a telling thought experiment to…

Garment workers in Bangladesh. Photo by Sk Hasan Ali

While we are in the midst of the most significant global public health crisis of our lifetime, the veil is being lifted on an economic system that rewards the wealthy and punishes the poor. Oxfam commissioned research shows that progress made to reduce inequality over decades could be lost and as many as 420 million additional people, or eight per cent of the world’s population, could fall into poverty. The economic fallout from the global pandemic is forecasted to be worse than the Great Depression with an anticipated four out of five of the world’s workforce affected.

Among the most…

Photo by Eleanor Farmer | Oxfam

COVID-19 has been overwhelming. Like many people these days, I am up at night, worried about what the pandemic will mean for my loved ones, my community and the world in general. Experiencing change of this scale is new for all of us. The full ramifications of this crisis on the rights of women and gender diverse people remains to be seen. There is one trend — worryingly — that we have seen before in public health crises and are currently seeing again — the neglect, oversight, and in some cases, erosion of rights relating to our sexual and reproductive…

This picture shows the Olive Grove camp, which belongs to the EU refugees of Moria in Lesvos, Greece.
This picture shows the Olive Grove camp, which belongs to the EU refugees of Moria in Lesvos, Greece.


Until February 2020, this word was one without much meaning for anyone born before 1918 — the year the Spanish flu swept the globe. In just a few short months a health crisis, brought on by a new form of coronavirus, has rocked the entire planet. The world is now caught scrambling to reduce the burden on healthcare systems and ‘flatten the curve’ by reducing the number of people who will catch the virus at a given moment in time. …

It is hard to imagine what the world will look like in a few months from now. But what we do know is that the actions governments and communities take today to respond to the coronavirus have the potential to shape our society for years, and potentially generations, to come. The time is now for the world to unleash the most heartfelt compassion we have ever known.

The devastating humanitarian toll of this pandemic, along with the economic shocks it will create, will be far-reaching and long-term. Rich countries are in the position to put into place public health measures…

Mark Ednie with his daughter Isabella.

I walked out of my grade nine computer class upset, confused and disappointed. In a heated discussion regarding gender roles at home, I learned that my teacher believed that “men should not be cleaning, cooking or taking care of the house”. When I spoke up, explaining that my parents shared responsibilities and that my father could do laundry like no other, my teacher responded that ‘real dads’ don’t do laundry. He got a laugh out of my classmates.

That day I became acutely aware that I had a feminist father. He was not only in a relationship with my mother…

How do you talk about your period? Sure, menstruation may not be a common topic amongst friends on a Friday night but when it does crop up — do you hit on things like your mood swings, cramping or food cravings? What about issues around buying tampons or pads? Or not having enough? Or not having access to them at all?

More than 1.8 billion people around the world menstruate, which is a normal biological process. And yet, periods are something that can have a serious impact on a young girl or woman’s life. For some, there’s an issue of…

Oxfam Canada

Oxfam Canada’s mission is to build lasting solutions to poverty and injustice with a focus on improving the lives and promoting the rights of women and girls.

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