About us

Making Waves is an international, intergenerational, intersectional feminist collective of women working together for common aims of gender equality, gender-based violence, HIV and sexual and reproductive rights, and for mutual exchange, collaboration and amplification of the work done by networks and organisations led by women, girls and gender-diverse people everywhere.

Making Waves amplifies the advocacy work women, girls and gender-diverse people are doing around the world through collaborating and documenting the priorities and perspectives that come from our global collective expertise.

Making Waves started in May 2020. It arose from the work of Salamander Trust, and the connections made over three decades between women activists with lived experience and their allies working on HIV, gender equality, violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and rights more broadly.

Our core principles

  • Foregrounding the lived experiences and expertise of women in all our diversity
  • Movement building
  • Systemic transformation
  • Feminist and intersectional
  • Trans inclusive  
  • Making care visible and valued
  • Upending the hierarchy of evidence
  • Examining and challenging power
  • Co-authoring and collaborating – no hierarchies
  • Women-led and women-centred
  • Accessibility and digital inclusion

We collaborate and support each other on Research, Evidence, Advocacy and Living, addressing our real lives, real issues, real questions.


Through the POWER group (Positive Women Engaged in Research), we support each other in our activities to lead research, or as research steering committee members, peer researchers or in other roles.

The POWER group provides a space for us to share experiences and ideas about research, and analyse power dynamics and barriers and facilitators of meaningful involvement. It also provides a space for us to support each other to develop research experiences and findings for publication.

The POWER Group core team consists of around 30 women living with HIV and their supporters around the world who are all engaged in research, including participatory and community-led research, qualitative research, academic research and medical research.

The POWER group is newly formed. Please come back soon for more information.


Building the evidence base and foregrounding lived experience and the voices and views of women on gender equality, HIV, violence, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Lived experiences are often dismissed by policy-makers as ‘anecdote’. It is time for this to change. We believe without taking into account lived experiences, the evidence base is sorely lacking. Speaking out and together is a political act and a tool for change. While fully respecting confidentiality and data security, Making Waves brings the abundant lived experiences of women into policy and practice in numerous ways: through podcasts, publications, conference abstracts and peer-reviewed articles. In all cases, women and their organisations are involved in the production of the resource and are listed as co-authors and/or contributors. This matters because women are often excluded from authorship of research and articles that use their analysis of lived experiences.


We want to contribute to creating the conditions for gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and a world free of violence against women. Recognising that women often have to combine advocacy and activism with paid work (which is disproportionately low-paid, given the gender pay gap) and care responsibilities, we support advocacy on:

  • Gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and violence against women and girls.
  • Recognising and valuing peer support and caring responsibilities.
  • Increasing the funding available for women’s rights work and women-led efforts.
  • Meaningful involvement of women and women’s organisations, recognising expertise and engaging as equal partners in research, advocacy, decision-making, monitoring and accountability.
  • Feminist approaches to economic justice.


We provide each other with mutual support and connection internationally. We use ‘feminist friendship’ to strengthen our work.

We also share and document lived experiences, using social media, audiovisual approaches and creativity.