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Civil society advocacy

2 minutes

Civil society advocacy involves building and supporting social movements that encourage governments, organisations, corporations and communities to take action to prevent violence against women. Evidence shows that civil society advocacy is essential to long-term and effective policy development for preventing violence against women. 

This work should always be done using a strengths-based approach that draws on the existing knowledge and skills of women’s organisations around the country.

Types of civil society advocacy activity

Advocacy for women’s health

Aims to achieve policy, legislative and institutional reform in the area of women’s health including advocacy for women’s reproductive rights and enhancing women’s independence in public life.

Advocacy for childcare reform

Aims to improve childcare accessibility and quality to increase women’s opportunities and financial independence.

Networking opportunities

Facilitate opportunities for women to network and advocate, collectively, particularly on issues or in settings where they are underrepresented.

Good practice principles

  • Ensure women from disadvantaged or marginalised communities, and the organisations that represent them, are at the forefront of promoting cultural change and violence prevention efforts in their communities. 
  • Establish strong partnerships or networks between members of civil society, including promoting the role of women’s health organisations as leaders in prevention. 
  • Encourage champions and advocates in communities to undertake the background work required to be effective and take further responsibility for leading action. 
  • Engage a diverse range of champions and advocates from both formal and informal leadership positions who are representative of and respected in targeted communities. 
  • Provide training and ongoing support to ensure they are well-briefed and confident to share key messages about prevention. 
  • Establish processes to ensure champions and advocates do not have personal histories such as perpetrating violence, gender inequality or racism that undermine their position. 
  • Avoid using women or women’s organisations to support and sustain male champions and leaders because it reinforces the unequal distribution of power between men and women. 
Stylised illustration of 7 polaroid pictures arranged around a map of Australia. The pictures have different stylised people featured (police, sport coach, teacher, students).

Resources about civil society advocacy