Women are disproportionately affected by the illicit use, illicit production and trafficking of drugs. In general, women are discovered later into addiction than men and face greater (even double) stigmatisation. Gender sensitive approaches to prevention, care, treatment and recovery services are of importance to meet the needs of women.

There are few organisations on the global level that specifically addresses the situation of women facing addition. It is against this background that The World Federation Against Drugs is developing a Gender working group initiative that specifically addresses the illicit drug use/addiction among women, gender based violence and its correlation with illicit drug use and access to health care, treatment and recovery services for women. Whilst advocating for women’s rights and contributing to the global drug policy debate.

The WFADGWG adheres to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Istanbul Convention. The WFADGWG will actively advocate for the mainstreaming and implementation of these conventions.

 GWG Concept Note

GWG Concept Note

Thematic Areas

Advocacy – Participation in Global Platforms to highlight the rights of women in treatment and advocate for the removal of barriers totreatment, stigmatisation and ensure the inclusion of basic rights of women are included in Policy reform at the highest levels in each country.

Background and Prevention – Initiating activities that promotes early intervention and prevention of substance abuse among women.

Treatment and Recovery – Increasing activities around the treatment, recovery and reintegration of women in addiction and those in recovery into the society.

Gender-based violence – Creating the platform for empowering women in abusive relationship and victims of assaults who are prone to illicit use of drugs and substances

Economic and emotional empowerment – Promoting and sponsoring initiatives that bridge the income inequality gap.


The Gender Working Group has been active by organising webinars and trainings. The different activities are listed below:
Gender-Based Violence Prevention Approaches – October 2021
As part of the Prevention Webinar Series (a five-fold series focusing on different areas of prevention), one webinar highlighted gender-based violence prevention approaches, including various speakers from the working group. The topic is essential to put on the agenda in governments as well as establish services on the ground.
Rewatch the webinar and read the full summary here
Capacity Strengthening Gender Training – July 2021
On July 15th and 16th, the Capacity Strengthening Gender Training: Tools and Methods was organised by the Gender Working Group. The training was given by Billy Batware. e training was organised in an interactive manner through zoom. Through different exercises in smaller breakout rooms, the given theoretical information was practically implemented through discussions. During the training, the tools got connected with gender-sensitive issues. The generic tools can be individualised for any specific conflict. The group was divided into various break out rooms, where gender-sensitive conflicts got analysed, assisted by the various tools.
Read the full summary here
Webinar – The Way Forward: Developing Gender-Sensitive Addiction Programmes – June 2021
On June 16th, together with Dianova, the Way Forward webinar on Developing Gender-Sensitive Addiction Programmes was successfully organised. This webinar discussed the necessity of developing gender-sensitive addiction treatment. The panellists shared their knowledge and experience with other practitioners, highlighted their challenges, opportunities, and needs to ensure the limitation of barriers for women and the LGTBQ+ communities.
Get access to the summary and recordings in English and Spanish here
Side-event webinar at the CND 2021 – The Way Forward: Developing Gender-Sensitive Treatment Programmes to Eradicate Barriers for Women – April 2021
On Thursday, April 15, this side event presented the ‘Way Forward’ document, while also focussing on trauma-informed treatment and practical examples from Iran, responding to the fact that women who use drugs face barriers limiting access to treatment and recovery options and are underrepresented in treatment and research.
Read the Summary here
Watch the recordings here
Webinar – Orange Day – November 2020
To commemorate Orange Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a webinar was organised to highlight the importance of the day. The following topics were discussed: The Realities of Violence against Women and Addiction amidst COVID-19; The Impact of Drug Addiction on Violence against Women; Violence against Women (SUDs) and response approach by Law Enforcement, and; Gender and Drug Abuse among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Rural Areas of Uganda
Get access to the recordings and summary here


International Women’s Day – March 8th 2022
To commemorate International Women’s Day and highlight the need to recognise and include women’s leadership to improve prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery services, a statement was made.
Read the full statement here
Orange Day (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) – November 25th 2021
To share the importance of Orange Day, a statement was published.
Read the full statement here
World Children’s Day – November 20th 2021
To commemorate World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse (November 19th) and World Children’s Day, WFAD Gender Working Group published a statement highlighting the importance to provide and ensuring a safe environment for children to grow up in.
Read the full statement here
International Women’s Day – March 8th 2021
To commemorate International Women’s Day, a statement was published on behalf of the WFAD Gender Working Group.
Read the full statement here
Orange Day (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) – November 25th 2020
To share the importance of Orange Day, a statement was published.
Read the full statement here


Understanding Gender-Differences in Substance use to Develop Appropriate Prevention Interventions 
Gender-sensitive research on treatment has started to develop, yet prevention seems to lack gender- and regional specific research and evaluation. The gender differences within substance use showcase the urgent need for further research in and development of gender-sensitive prevention programmes. This paper aims to create a global understanding of the different needs for, incentives for, and effects on girls and women who use substances. It highlights that prevention is an essential part of the continuum of care framework while promoting health and wellbeing.
Access the paper here
Access the infographic here

Position Paper: Gender-Specific Treatment & Recovery
The position paper is an exhaustive document elaborating on women and addiction, the stigma they face, the risks, the concept of recovery, crosscutting issues, and ways forward to allow women with substance use disorders to receive the necessary services while reducing barriers to their treatment and recovery.
Access the position paper here
Access the infographic here

Get involved

Representatives include: