Kvinna till Kvinna ("Woman to Woman" in Swedish) is an organization that has worked for women’s rights worldwide for 30 years. Today, Kvinna till Kvinna is one of the world’s leading women’s rights organizations that, together with more than 100 local partner organizations, reaches out to women in 20 countries located in areas affected by war and conflict. Many women worldwide are still fighting for their rights, which is why Kvinna till Kvinna works to push for change where it's needed most, aiming to empower women's influence and power, put an end to men's violence against women, and create opportunities for all women to take control of their own lives..
Kvinna till Kvinna supports women in some of the world's toughest places
We support Kvinna till Kvinna by donating 10% of the proceeds of Chari-Tee, the ultimate pick-me-up for moms. With smart functions and the mirrored print, "Damn you’re a good mother," it is a statement T-shirt that works for women in all walks of life.
Five questions for Petra Tötterman Andorff
Five questions we asked Petra Tötterman Andorff, Secretary General of Kvinna till Kvinna.
Tell us briefly about your background and why you started working with Kvinna till Kvinna?
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to work with issues that can make a change. It was the focus of my studies both in Sweden and internationally, and it eventually took me to New York where I was given an assignment on women's rights at the world's oldest women's peace organization, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
I applied to Kvinna till Kvinna because my greatest driving force is to strengthen women's rights and apply a gender equality perspective to international issues such as peace and security. As Secretary-General, I get to work on exactly those issues. My childhood dream of working for an equal and peaceful world came true!
Women's rights defenders from Kvinna till Kvinna's partner organizations testify to hatred and threats. Despite this, they choose every day to persistently stand up for their human rights. The picture was taken during a March 8 demonstration in Skopje, North Macedonia. Photo: Maja Janevska Ilieva
What is the main goal of Kvinna till Kvinna?
Women's rights need to be defended, everywhere and every day. We live in a world where every third woman is subjected to violence or abuse at some point in her lifetime. Twelve million girls are given away in child marriage each year. And in several countries, men are still allowed to prevent their wives from being employed. Of course, this is unacceptable, and that is why Kvinna till Kvinna exists. We work every day to strengthen women's rights, and our goal is an equal world where all women have power over their own lives.
Olivia (middle) founded Kvinna till Kvinna's partner organization Empower Rwanda with the vision of empowering the most vulnerable women, children, and youth. Today, she helps hundreds of teenage mothers rebuild their lives. Pictured with Lea (left), who is 18 years old, and Honorine (right), who is 17 years old and are two of the girls in Empower Rwanda's program. Photo: Gloria Powell
In what way has Kvinna till Kvinna's work made the biggest difference?
Kvinna till Kvinna works on several levels and we take the long view. We are in the corridors of power where we make sure that the issue of women's rights is kept alive at the global level, both at the UN, and on the country level, for example, to create legislation that protects women. But also on the local level, for example, we work to ensure that women who are subjected to violence receive support and protection, and are informed of their rights. It is possible to make the world more equal, and one of several important advances we have made with our partner organizations was to ensure that women who were raped during the Balkan wars in the 1990s were finally entitled to receive justice and financial compensation. In the same way, we are now supporting women's rights organizations in Ukraine so that women exposed to violence can receive support and help.
Adrijana, Selma, and Amina from TRIAL International, one of Kvinna till Kvinna's partner organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They support victims and survivors of sexual violence in war and conflict to achieve justice and redress. Photo: Imrana Kapetanović.
Which countries are at the forefront in terms of gender equality and women's rights? Where do you feel that equality is most threatened?
If you look at the statistics, Sweden is the most equal among the EU countries, and when it comes to the whole world, Norway is at the top. Gender equality is most threatened in those countries where religious, conservative, and nationalist forces do common cause to force women into a traditional women's role as wife and mother, and take away the right to, for example, abortion. In 2022, for example, the United States withdrew the nationwide right to abortion.
Image from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Photo: Christopher Herwig
Do you feel that gender equality is higher on the agenda than it used to be
Yes and no. In Sweden and northwestern Europe, the issues have been raised a lot, especially the right to avoid sexual abuse and harassment, as in connection with #metoo. In other parts of the world, such as Eastern Europe and Brazil, but also in the United States and countries in the Arab world, there are those who say that “equality has gone too far,” and they are placing restrictions on women’s rights. In Russia, for example, it is now permissible to beat one’s wife, if the violence does not result in her being hospitalized.