Who We Are

APWLD is the leading network of feminist organisations and individual advocates in Asia Pacific. Our 211 members represent groups of diverse women from 26 countries in Asia Pacific. Over the past 30 years, APWLD has actively worked towards advancing women’s human rights and Development Justice. We are an independent, non-governmental, non-profit organisation and hold consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Our Work

APWLD fosters feminist movements in Asia Pacific to influence laws, policies and practices at the local, national, regional and international levels. We develop capacities, produce and disseminate feminist analyses, conduct advocacy and foster networks and spaces for movement building to claim and strengthen women’s human rights. APWLD empowers women in the region to use law as an instrument of change for equality, justice, peace and development justice.

Our Beliefs

We believe that advances in women’s rights are achieved and sustained when autonomous feminist movements exist and have an enabling environment to work. We believe that law can be repressive as well as transformative.. We use feminist analysis to dissect, engage with and transform laws, legal practices and the systems that shape and inform them. We believe that the nexus of patriarchy with militarism, fundamentalisms and neo-liberal economic globalisation is responsible for gross violations of women’s rights. We believe that equality, development justice and the realisation of human rights can only happen when women, particularly marginalised women, are empowered to lead policy and legal debates and determine solutions. We believe, to achieve lasting and sustainable change, engagement with women themselves, both at the grassroots and policy making levels, is needed to bring a feminist approach and perspective to their advocacy. 

Our Structure

Our diverse and active membership provides the strength and expertise that drives and executes our work. Members are actively involved in APWLD’s programme work through taking part in Programme Organising Committees. APWLD is governed by a Programme and Management Committee comprised from a larger Regional Council of active members. Our Secretariat in Chiang Mai carries out day-to-day operations and provides for programme implementation as well as financial and technical support.

Our Programmes


This longstanding programme focuses on building capacity of women’s rights advocates and organisations to transform discriminatory laws, policies and practices; and increase women’s access to justice.  The programme recently incorporated urgent response and solidarity support to Women Human Rights Defenders during crisis periods through such as feminist litigation strategies, trial observations and campaigns.      ​


The programme aims to strengthen women’s political leadership and democratic participation of women in decision makings.  It provides feminist political training to women leaders, supports the formation of women’s policy mandates, supports progressive women parliamentarians such as the Pacific Island Women’s Caucus and facilitates its engagement with women’s rights movements. 


The programme has two goals: a) Women workers advance their rights to Decent Work and participatory democracy by shaping and organising labour movements (Labour – Women Organising Women programme); b) Women migrants enjoy substantive equality and are able to make informed choices about migration (Migration programme).  It focuses on increasing capacities, voices and leadership of women workers and migrants by providing feminist organising training, Feminist Participatory Action Research, and supporting networks for collective labour and migrant movements building, including the United for Foreign Domestic Workers’ Rights (UFDWR). 


This programme focuses on building capacity and movements of the most marginalised grassroots women in the region – Rural, Indigenous, Migrant and Urban Poor women. ​The programme conducts Feminist Participatory Action Research to document rights violations, collectively craft solutions and advocacy strategy for change at local, national, regional and international levels.


​This programme focuses on ​building capacity of the women most affected by climate change and ​collecting evidence on the impacts faced by communities. Our advocacy aims to ensure climate framework and policies ​from local to global level incorporate the voice and demands of Asia Pacific women on climate justice, and institute more equitable and sustainable environmental policies. The programme conducts FPAR with grassroots women’s organisations and their communities, and mobilise cross-movements collaboration to advance Climate Justice.


This programme monitors the development of regional and international mechanisms and policies to identify strategic advocacy opportunities for APWLD members and partners.  It aims to ensure international and regional laws, norms, standards and procedures are both reflective of women’s human rights issues in Asia Pacific and are effectively utilised by women in the region. This programme builds on APWLD’s existing legacy in conducting annual Asia Pacific consultations with UN Mandate Holders.  It continues to support the South​east Asia Women’s Caucus on ASEAN.


This programme aims to bring about a shift in development policies and practices at local, national, regional and international levels. It challenges the traditional model of development and promotes ​ Development Justice – a ​transformative framework that aims to reduce inequalities between​ countries, between rich and poor and between men and women.​  The programme prioritises developing capacities of women’s organisations to monitor and influence development initiatives and policies, including SDGs implementation, and demand accountability.  ​


This is a newest programme of APWLD which focuses on advancing the capacity of feminist movements to promote rights-based, equitable, feminist models of trade and investment agreements internationally, regionally and nationally.  The programme will work with APWLD members and other social movements to build capacity, resources and demand spaces to advance agreements that are fair, transformative and address multiple inequalities.