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From “WID” to “GAD” to Women’s Rights: The First Twenty Years of AWID

Three happy women

In 2002 AWID celebrated its 20th anniversary. Given the challenging political, economic and funding environment in which women's organizations must survive, a milestone such as this is worthy of recognition.

In the past two decades the geo-political landscape has been transformed and development theories have come and gone, but approaches to ensure women benefit from development processes have endured.

In its twenty-year history, AWID grew from a volunteer organization for U.S. "Women in Development" (WID) specialists to an international network striving to support proactive and strategic gender equality research, activism and policy dialogue.

On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, this paper charts not only the changes in AWID's organizational structure and goals but also the shifts in policy approaches to gender equality in a changing global environment, through the lens of a membership organization committed to improving the lives of women and girls everywhere.