Every day, women are helping women advance human rights, tackle climate change, drive economic growth, secure nourishing and sustainable food, and prioritize health, all around the world. As this Women’s History Month comes to a close, we carry the inspiration of their accomplishments forward throughout the year.

While we applaud women supporting women, advancing gender equity is not just a “women’s issue.” To accelerate progress, men and non-binary people must be equal partners in driving equity at an individual level. Doing so benefits us all.

As we heard from distinguished women leaders who met at The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center last year, global gender equity policies are needed to speed up the estimated 132 years it will take for women to have the same rights as men worldwide.

But speaking with our staff, partners, and grantees, this month, we’ve learned that it’s possible for individuals to make a significant impact in their communities day-to-day. How? Here are five things we can all do better to advance gender equity:

  1. Speak up against inequality.

Natalye Paquin, Chief Operating Officer of The Rockefeller Foundation, tells us that “to advance gender equity, we can all use our voice. We all know when we see and experience something that is unfair, and it is really important to speak up.”

  1. Trust those with lived experiences.

Olivia Leland, Founder and CEO of CoImpact, says, “advancing gender equity requires the deep work of shifting norms, shaking up how systems are designed and addressing the entrenched biases in how they function.

“Individuals and organizations in different sectors can all better contribute to gender equity, first and foremost, through collective action. If we act more intentionally and in solidarity with each other, combine efforts and leverage each other’s strengths, we can build unstoppable momentum for change in ways that a single entity or individual could not achieve. So, let’s join forces in big and small ways, whether we are talking about joint funding, campaigning, working, learning, planning – we’re better working in community.

“Finally, women and girls are powerful agents for change, and we must involve and center them when developing solutions to advance gender equity. And all of us, in our daily actions and experiences, can and should do more to challenge and speak up against inequitable power dynamics, norms, and practices at every level.”

  1. Make sure that women have access to the supports that they need.

Elizabeth Yee, Executive Vice President of Programs at The Rockefeller Foundation, argues that equity “starts with breaking down the barriers. It starts by making sure that we put in place the structures that we need to enable women and girls and all genders to really be part of the leadership equation.

“Our current definition of leadership is one that is very male dominated, and we need to change that in order to be able to bring women into leadership positions. And we’ve seen what happens and how different outcomes are prioritized when we have women in leadership positions.

“We also have to think about the gains that women lost as a result of the pandemic. We were making substantial gains in this front. The pandemic set us back at least 30-40 years, according to [the World Economic Forum] from 99 years to close the gender gap to 136 years, and that’s unacceptable. We also need to make sure that people have access to the supports that they need.”

  1. Recognize the contributions women around you have made.

Eileen O’Connor, Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications and Policy at The Rockefeller Foundation, says, “to advance gender equity, we all need to recognize the contributions that women have made and to show how important women’s voices are in business, in politics, and at home in the family. We need to treat women equally.

“We need to pay women equally. We need to enable women to have the same jobs as men, and to be able to have families.”

  1. Address the unique ways that issues affect women because of their gender.

Deepali Khanna, Vice President of the Asia Regional Office at The Rockefeller Foundation, calls for recognizing and addressing “the gendered impacts of issues that the world is facing today. For example, climate change impacts women differently due to social, economic, and cultural factors.

“Recognizing the unique experiences and needs of women, involving them in decision-making, and investing in their education and empowerment is key for gender equity.”


We learned this March at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women that online gender-based violence is harming women and keeping them away from high-level government positions. We can all play a role in creating conditions that enable women to thrive and creating a safer environment for the women and girls around us.

We can do this by listening to women and girls, speaking up against inequity, recognizing women’s contributions, and making sure that the women in our lives have our support. These small actions can help in the long term to shift inequitable norms and prioritize a culture of equity.

Tell us how you’re carrying gender equity forward beyond Women’s History Month and into the future, by tagging @RockefellerFdn + #WomensHistoryMonth on social media.