Our journey so far
Our story dates back to 2006 in Amsterdam, where two passionate and visionary women who believed in the power of sports, joined forces to advance girls’ and women’s rights everywhere.
Since the beginning, Women Win has punched far above our weight class. Scroll down to go through some of our greatest hits.
upon a time…
In 2006, Women Win was founded by Astrid Aafjes and Maria Bobenrieth to address the huge lack of girl-centred sports programming, which would also address gender inequalities and stereotypes. They both understood that the barriers stopping girls from playing sports were preventing them from going to school, from developing skills to advance their careers and from fully understanding their rights and participating in society.
adolescent girls’ safeguarding
As Women Win started funding with the work of local, grassroot organisations that implemented sports programmes with girls, it became evident and urgent to create and establish safeguarding protection and mechanisms, specifically designed to meet the needs and protect adolescent girls. Together with UNICEF, the Australian government, and the NAZ Foundation in India, we created protocols and guidelines around child protection, safeguarding, and gender inclusion. In addition, in 2007 we supported 20 implementing partners in 15 countries, including Palestine, Bangladesh and Morocco, impacting the lives of over 7,000 adolescent girls and young women.
support to work on the ground
Women Win was built upon the guiding principle of empowering and supporting the work of local partners – the true experts. Women Win resource their work to address gender-based violence; to advance access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for adolescent girls and young women in their communities; and to design and implement programmes that build adolescent girls’ and young women’s economic resilience. In 2011 we joined forces with Standard Chartered Bank to design and implement Goal, a global programme to tackle inequality and promote economic inclusion through sport, play and life skills education. Between 2006 and 2018, the programme reached more than 480,000 adolescent girls and young women.
Despite the amazing work on the ground, it had become apparent that, once adolescent girls and young women grow older, a new threat looms: the threat to their economic rights. At the same time, this was a moment of increased awareness and investment from the private sector in women’s economic empowerment programmes and further coordination was needed. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with other actors, launched the Win-Wiin Coalition, a forum in which companies and women’s funds/rights organisations could better strategies and cooperate. The Coalition evolved into a formal organisation called Win-Win Strategies, headed by Marissa Wesley as the CEO and Maria Bobenrieth as COO.
Women Win and Win-Win Strategies merge
2019 was the year that opened a new chapter for Women Win as a global, multi-dimensional women’s fund. We strongly believe that the world will only be able to achieve gender justice through collaborations and alliances. We also believe that, through combining operations and management structures, the girls’ and women’s rights movement can focus on what they do best. This is the rationale that motivated the consolidation of Women Win and Win-Win Strategies.
2019 was also our biggest year yet. Women Win re-granted over €2,5 million to 56 partners in 36 countries, and accumulative reached, through our local partners, 4,132,784 adolescent girls and women since 2007.
Three distinct brands,
two approaches and one big vision
2020 is the year in which we have renewed our digital presence. If there is something we have learned from Covid-19, is the importance of building up our digital agility to continue supporting the work of our implementing partners, as well as girls’ and women’s lives everywhere. During 2020 we went through a re-branding effort of our work around girls’ rights in sports. This new brand is named GRLS and, along with Win-Win Strategies, forms the two key pillars of Women Win. The rebranding is supported by a new website and by a new open-source learning platform: Women Win Learning Lab.