WEDO, established in 1990 by former U.S. Congresswoman Bella Abzug (1920-1998) and feminist activist and journalist Mim Kelber (1922-2004), brings together women from all around the world to take action in the United Nations and other international policymaking forums.
Since its inception, WEDO has been a leader in organizing women for international conferences and actions. As a lead up to the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), WEDO organized the World Women’s Congress for a Healthy Planet. This Women’s Congress brought together more than 1,500 women from 83 countries to work jointly on a strategy for UNCED. The result of the Women’s Congress was Women’s Action Agenda 21, an outline for a healthy and peaceful planet that was the basis for introducing gender equality in the official UNCED final documents—Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration. This was an amazing feat that quickly positioned WEDO as a trailblazer in international women’s rights.
WEDO has built on this experience by mobilizing women’s participation to establish the Women’s Caucus, which advances women’s perspectives at the UN and other forums by proposing amendments to official documents, lobbying delegates, and coordinating political actions.
WEDO has organized and facilitated the Women's Caucus at key UN conferences such as: UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Cairo, Egypt, 1994; UN World Conference on Social Development (WSSD), Copenhagen, Denmark, 1995; UN Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW), Beijing, China, 1995, and UN World Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT), Istanbul, Turkey, 1996.
WEDO owes its successful global activism to its dynamic Board of Directors and Staff, a diverse group of experts and activists.
Mission and Goals
WEDO is an international organization that advocates for women’s equality in global policy. It seeks to empower women as decision makers to achieve economic, social and gender justice, a healthy, peaceful planet and human rights for all.
Through the organization’s program areas—Gender and Governance, Sustainable Development, Economic and Social Justice, and U.S. Global PolicyWEDO emphasizes women’s critical role in social, economic and political spheres.
WEDO’s goals are to:
• Advance women’s equality in decision making by pushing for a gender-balance at local, national and global levels;
• Challenge the current economic system and promote a model that seeks to achieve human rights, economic and social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication;
• Promote multilateralism and international cooperation to advance peace, human rights, and human security.
In order to achieve these goals, WEDO does advocacy in key global forums such as the UN, supports the efforts of women’s organizations worldwide, and engages U.S. women on foreign policy.