WEDO is a global advocacy organization established in 1991 by former U.S. Congresswoman Bella Abzug (1920-1998) and feminist activist and journalist Mim Kelber (1922-2004). It grew out of an extraordinary group of women, including Bella and Gloria Steinem, who started Women USA in 1979, and became the organization it is today through the vision of WEDO pioneers, Wangari Maathai, Vandana Shiva, Thais Corral, and many others. In 2011, WEDO celebrated its official 20th anniversary!
WEDO has been a leader in organizing women for international conferences and actions, earning a reputation as a trailblazer in the international women’s rights movement. Read more of our history on our website.
WEDO recognized that the hard-won policy commitments to women’s rights that emerged from the major UN conferences of the 1990s were not enough to improve women’s daily lives. WEDO has spent the last few years focused on deeper collaboration with Southern partners to increase the number of women leaders at all levels, to implement global policy gains at the national level, and to hold governments accountable to their commitments on women’s rights.
Headquartered in New York, WEDO is a registered non-profit organization under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and is an accredited non-governmental organization with the United Nations. WEDO programs receive financial support from government and UN donor agencies and partners, individual donors, and foundations.
In 2006 WEDO was awarded the Champion of the Earth award by UNEP, citing WEDO as “a champion in the field of women’s economic, social and gender rights and a beacon for the empowerment of women across the environmental and development debate.”
In 2010, WEDO was awarded by the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) for outstanding advocacy to integrate a gender perspective into climate change arenas.