Shadhika Shadhika

When she leads, change follows

  • The Context of Our Work

    27.3% of women aged 20–24 years old in India are married or in a union before age 18

  • The Context of Our Work

    Labor force participation rate of women in India is a dismal 37%, compared to 78.5% for men

  • Why Invest in Girl Leadership

    Every additional year of schooling for a girl increases her future earnings by 10 to 20%

  • Why Invest in Girl Leadership

    If 10% more adolescent girls attend school, a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3%

Shadhika believes in a future where each person in India can choose their own path to meaning, purpose, and happiness.

This vision can only be fully realized when a person’s gender identity is seen as an asset in their community and the world at large, and their unique contributions are embraced.

The Problem

Nearly one-sixth of the global population is in India and 20% of all adolescent girls in the world live in India. Currently, girls in India experience higher rates of gender-based violence including child marriage. They experience unequal access to nutrition and education, and face limitations on their freedom of movement thus dwarfing their ability to participate in the workforce and the visibility of their issues in society.

Why Invest in Girl Leadership

Research shows that empowering women is one of the most effective means to lift up entire communities. And yet we know that less than 2 cents of every dollar raised to support international development goes to support girls directly. This divestment in the potential of women and girls perpetuates cycles of violence and poverty that target them.

Our Work

Through global philanthropy and in-country programming, Shadhika believes that education is the most effective vehicle for women and girls* to move out of chronic disenfranchisement and towards self-determination. Shadhika aims to abate gender-based discrimination and violence in the social systems surrounding each person by focusing on three core areas of intervention:

1. Investing in the transformative power inherent in each individual girl
2. Investing in the wisdom and innovation of grassroots leadership to create local solutions
3. Cultivating allyship to address power and resource imbalances locally

Thirty years since its inception, Shadhika’s theory of change has helped spark a groundswell of change in India.

* Shadhika defines women and girls as anyone who identifies as women.

Impact Indicators

$2 million

in grants awarded, including nearly $500,000 in college scholarships


young women served, providing them with rights to education, skills building, and academic tutoring


of young women escaped child marriage

12 states

states across India reached through 24 partner sites

By 2030, our goals are

to grant $12 million
to support 30 grassroots partners
to fund 1,000 Scholars through college

Learn more about Shadhika’s engagement in trust-based philanthropy for gender justice across India.