IWDA was established in 1985, through the initiative and insight of three Australian women; Ruth Pfanner, Wendy Pussard and Wendy Rose with the aim to progress the rights of women.  Since then, we have worked with grassroots and national organisations, State and Federal governments in Australia to defend and advance the rights of women locally, in our region and around the world.

In 2015 the Australian government made a historic commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goals explicitly outline a commitment to gender equality and IWDA is committed to working with the government to ensure this goal is met by 2030.

To this end, we work with a broad range of organisations across Australia to ensure women’s rights are upheld, and the advance toward gender equality never stops. We are members of Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) and Equality Rights Alliance (ERA) and founding members of Women Peace and Security Coalition and ICSRHR.

Our work is evidence-informed and evidence-informing. Research is critical to this process and we openly share our findings with Ministers, civil society and fellow advocates with the vision of advancing together toward gender equality.

IWDA plays an advisory role at both the State and Federal levels in Australia. Our Researchers and Advisors both support policy makers with evidence-based insights from the Asia Pacific Region and lobby them to achieve more.


Our work in the community

IWDA counts over 55,000 supporters from across Australia. We are a growing movement of people across the country working towards gender equality.

At a strategic level, we meet with local, state and federal MPs to discuss women’s rights and ensure women always have a voice at the tables of power. Each year our gender experts contribute to policy development and reform across Australia and we have a strong and productive relationship with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

A key part of our work in Australia is engaging communities to build knowledge of women’s rights and feminism. We attend and support public marches, visit schools to talk about gender equality, respond to student and community questions about our work, and produce materials to improve the public’s understanding of the unique issues faced by women today.

Some of our most groundbreaking work, such as the Individual Deprivation Measure was initially funded by the Australian community who believed in the importance of an individual measure of deprivation.