International Women's Day

Celebrating Women Everywhere


This International Women’s Day (March 8th) we’re asking you to post a picture of your female hero on social media and nominate your friends to do the same. It could be a household name or someone in your home – any woman who inspires you!

Then, if you're based in the Republic of Ireland text OXFAM to 50300 to donate €4, or if you're based in Northern Ireland text OXFAM to 70660 to donate £3. You’ll help raise vital funds for projects giving women the skills, training and support to lift themselves out of poverty.

ROI: 100% of text cost goes to Oxfam Ireland across most network providers. Some providers apply VAT which means a minimum of €3.26 will go to Oxfam. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 01 4433890.

NI: Text costs £3 plus network charge. Oxfam Ireland receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission. Customer care: Instagiv – 02870832902. Charity No XN89651.

Women show the products they've produced
Women show the products they've produced
Photo: Jisu Mok/Oxfam

Where your money goes

100% of the profits go to supporting Oxfam's work with women worldwide.

Whoever your female hero is, be assured that the funds raised by your text donation will help fund projects giving women the skills, training and support to lift themselves out of poverty

This makes possible our life-changing programmes which address the challenges faced by women and girls, who are more likely to be poor, hungry, kept out of school, have no say in the decisions that affect their lives and be a refugee or a victim of sexual violence.

Our programmes support women so they can access and control vital resources such as land, promote the contribution, visibility and voice of small-scale women farmers and create new life and livelihood opportunities that specifically benefit women.

We also focus on eradicating violence against women and girls through changing the beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that allow this violence to take place.

We do this through mobilising large-scale campaigns and by advocating for legislation that protects and promotes the rights of women and girls to live free from violence, provide for criminal sanction and legal redress, and ensure that survivors of violence have access to safe and confidential services.

All our programmes are measurable, accountable and realistic. We ensure our financial reporting is carried out to the highest international standards (SORP).

Learn how we are Accountable to You.

Here are just some examples of the programmes you’ll help make possible:

Josephine, Mediatrice & Frida at training
Josephine, Mediatrice & Frida at training
Photo: Simon Rawles/Oxfam

Training for female farmers

Mushrooms are very quick to grow (10 days from planting to harvest), need little land or labour and sell for a good price, making them an attractive option for women living in poverty in Rwanda.

Women are learning new skills in both farming and entrepreneurship thanks to Oxfam’s partner G7 Enterprises in rural Kirehe.

The company makes mushroom tubes which are then bought by local women who grow them close to their homes.

As a result of growing, harvesting and selling their mushrooms, women producers like Mediatrice have dramatically increased their income.

They either sell the mushrooms to neighbours or sell them back to G7 Enterprises, who can sell in bulk to restaurants and hotels or further afield.

Mediatrice says: “It’s really important for us as women to be independent in life… I know if I need something for myself I can just sell mushrooms and be independent."

Villagers watch a dramatic performance
Villagers watch a dramatic performance
Photo: Barry McCall/Oxfam

Tackling violence against girls and women

“My husband was very abusive towards me and my children.”

There are many facing the same situation as Emilia Chuma. One in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her life.

In Tanzania, where Emilia lives, violence against women is widespread. One study found that over half of women are beaten regularly by their partners.

Why? Because there is a long-standing belief among men and women that such behaviour is acceptable. But these attitudes are changing.

The Oxfam-supported Tunaweza (We Can) campaign has seen more 350,000 men and women across Tanzania pledge to become change-makers in their communities, promising to recruit at least 10 others who sign the same pledge to stand up to domestic violence.

“I became a change-maker because I wanted to change my life,” explains Emilia during a We Can event in her village of Mgeta.

Attracting large crowds, mass mobilisation events like this use drama and folk song performance to bring the spotlight on issues many find difficult to talk about.

“The Morogoro Paralegal Centre [an Oxfam partner] showed me the change-maker form and I signed it.

I convinced my husband to change. Now we have a great relationship and our children are much happier.”

Women dance on their way to an Oxfam project
Women dance on their way to an Oxfam project
Photo: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

Giving women access to land

If you are born a girl, you are more likely to be poor, go hungry and be kept out of school.

You’re less likely to own land or have the right to make decisions affecting your life.

Poverty has a female face – but so does the solution. When women are treated as equals, everyone benefits.

For example, if women farmers had the same access to land, tools, seeds and credit as men, they could grow enough extra food to feed more than 100 million of the world’s hungriest people.

By giving women the same opportunities as men and ensuring their voices are heard, ordinary women can achieve incredible things.

Prior to our rice farming programme in River Gee County, Liberia, many local people were farming rice upland, i.e. farming on dry land rather than in swamps, often a several hours walk from their homes.

Some were swamp farming, but without access to irrigation systems.

Local people including many women were each given a plot (half an acre) of uncultivated land.

Along with training on how to manage their swamp farms and irrigate their fields, they also received tools and clothing, including a rake, shovel, hoe, file, rain coat, boots and gloves. We have also built and repaired dams and irrigation systems.

Sharon Corr meets Ester Jerome Mtegule
Sharon Corr meets Ester Jerome Mtegule
Photo: Barry McCall/Oxfam

Promoting the role of Female Food Heroes

Sometimes a seed of an idea takes root and blossoms in places far away from where you first expected.

That’s exactly what happened with our Female Food Heroes initiative in Tanzania, which is the original inspiration behind our Heroes campaign across the island of Ireland.

It began when one of our team there suggested a competition for small-scale women farmers, to celebrate the vital role they play in their communities and also the challenges they face in a country where the majority of women who work the land are unable to own it.

Known as ‘Mama Shujaa Wa Chakula’ (Swahili for Female Food Hero), it now attracts thousands of entries from women farmers for a place in the X Factor-style televised final that reaches a total audience of 25 million.

Ester Jerome Mtegule, a former winner of the competition, welcomed our ambassador Sharon Corr to her home in Lyenge village.

The impact of the Female Food Heroes competition on Ester's life has been remarkable and she’s now become the farmers’ representative on her local district council.

She’s also using her prize of a tractor to help others in her community. Ester says that farming, “like anything worthwhile in life, takes discipline and hard work.

“Discipline is everything. We need more discipline in agriculture if we are really determined to end food insecurity.”

She has become a beacon of hope for all in her community.

Female Food Heroes has been so successful, women farmers in Ethiopia and Nigeria are taking part in similar Oxfam-sponsored programmes.