Advocacy & Policy Engagement

Sound public policies are rooted in evidence: If gender-transformative policy change is to be achieved, policymakers, advocates and thought leaders must have a credible evidence base from which to develop sustainable solutions.

As the world’s premier research institute advancing gender equality, ICRW draws on the expertise of researchers across various issue areas and disciplines to inform policy initiatives at the national (USA, India and Uganda), regional (Africa, Asia) and international levels. Our policy team works with researchers across the globe to identify policy solutions and advocate for meaningful, measurable results. We educate policymakers through direct outreach, lead and participate in issue-based coalitions and provide technical assistance to government officials and advocates around the world.

Through its evidence-based policy advocacy, ICRW has put issues like child marriage and HIV stigma on the map. Our initial review of evaluated solutions to end child marriage influenced policy at the UN, across numerous South Asian Governments and in Washington, among others. Our HIV experts developed UN indicators for reducing HIV stigma among women and girls and shaped flagship HIV reduction efforts at the U.S. Department of State. We have advocated for policies to end gender-based violence in India and the United States, and evaluated the impact of the former. ICRW has consultative status at the United Nations, through which we have shaped resolutions and dialogue from the General Assembly to the Commission on the Status of Women.

Today, ICRW is uniquely poised to bring evidence-based solutions forward, and to advocate for gender equality globally. With offices in the United States, India, and Uganda, ICRW provides not only truly global advocacy in the United Nations, but also regional and national advocacy in North America, Asia and Africa.

ICRW also serves as the Co-Chair of the U.S. chapter of Girls Not Brides. For the latest resources from the coalition, click here.

Featured publications

What is feminist foreign policy? What definition can capture its complexity, its nuances? And how do we ensure the focus is not just on women but on power relations and gender equality more broadly, using an explicitly rights-based and intersectional understanding of feminism?

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This policy brief explores how U.S. government can invest in the health and development of young people in order to set the stage for strong economic growth.

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In this document, ICRW explores how the U.S. government can make effective investments in women’s economic empowerment through U.S. foreign assistance and policy.
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This report lays out the top six things Secretary-General Guterres should do in order to create an agenda that truly puts gender equality at the forefront of the United Nations.

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ICRW launches a pioneering research program in 13 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to investigate the factors that increase women’s vulnerability to HIV. Ten years later, in 2000, ICRW drew upon the findings of this program to deliver a plenary address, “Gender, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS: the What, the Why, and the How” at the 13th International AIDS Conference in South Africa.


ICRW establishes a local office in New Delhi, India, to coordinate a groundbreaking five-year study to document the prevalence of domestic violence. The findings are used to advocate for the 2005 passage of a national law to decrease domestic violence.


Drawing on decades of evidence on the causes, consequences and solutions for child marriage, ICRW co-founds the U.S. Child Marriage Coalition—which would later become the first National Partnership of Girls Not Brides—and begins a successful campaign to educate U.S. policymakers and advocate for legislation that would integrate child marriage prevention and response into U.S. foreign policy and assistance.


ICRW co-leads the U.N. Millennium Project Task Force on Education and Gender Equality and recommends seven strategic priorities to achieve women’s empowerment and gender equality, Goal 3 of the Millennium Development Goals. This paved the foundation for future work identifying women’s rights issues that were left off of the MDGs and should be incorporated into the successor framework in 2015.


Millennium Development Goals: ICRW co-authored the mid-term progress report on MDG 3, sounding the alarm on forgotten issues like child marriage, gender-based violence and property rights. ICRW helped develop the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act (H.R. 2103), which directed the President, through the Secretary of State, to establish a multi-year strategy to prevent child marriage in developing countries and to promote the empowerment of girls at risk of child marriage.


ICRW President Sarah Kambou was appointed to the White House Global Development Council, whose mandate is to inform and provide advice to the President and other senior U.S. officials on issues related to U.S. global development policies and practices. ICRW’s child marriage coalition becomes the first national partnership of Girls Not Brides, which is launched by the Elders at the Clinton Global Initiative.


ICRW and Girls Not Brides USA secure a major victory when key provisions of the Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act are passed through the contributed language to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, mandating the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to end child marriage


ICRW worked with a coalition of groups championing girls’ rights in the world’s next development framework, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are adopted by the General Assembly and include many of ICRW’s recommendations, including targets to end child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation and gender-based violence, secure property rights and achieve sexual and reproductive health and rights, among others.


ICRW led a coalition of groups pushing for the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls, the world’s first piece of foreign policy solely dedicated to the rights and empowerment of this demographic. The Strategy incorporates many of ICRW’s recommendations and quotes ICRW research on child marriage, girls’ education and more.