- Tell us briefly why you are passionate about being involved with SheDecides.
The SheDecides manifesto is a clear statement of fundamental truths about what girls and women need to thrive. These freedoms should not be the mark of privilege but rather the universal underpinnings of fair and prosperous societies. When we achieve the SheDecides vision for every woman and girl, the whole world will benefit. SheDecides can be a banner under which many distinct groups unite.
- Describe how you are working hard so women and girls can make decisions themselves about their bodies.
As the CEO of the world’s largest philanthropy focused on children, I am keen to ensure that our programmes and partnerships increase the agency of girls and young women in determining their own futures. This means finding innovative, scalable and sustainable ways to provide girls and young women with comprehensive sex education, integrated sexual health services including self-care opportunities, and schooling in low income settings. Improving access to medical abortion is also critical, as unsafe abortion disproportionately harms and kills the young. We also work to ensure that pregnancy and childbirth are safer and that infants are healthier and develop to their full potential through a range of maternal health and nutrition and early childhood development programmes.
- What is the biggest challenge facing girls and women today?
At an interpersonal level, sexual harassment and gender-based violence are still alarmingly pervasive and must no longer be tolerated. At a societal level, we must provide affordable and high quality childcare, so that women can enter the workforce and be economically self-reliant while the next generation is supported in reaching its full potential. When a woman achieves economic empowerment, it transforms the way society views the girl child and gives the girl child a role model.
- Tell us a story of a moment that drives you to do what you do every day.
When I visit our programmes, it’s the girl at the back of the classroom with her hand up who inspires me, especially when she asks a killer question, stands up for others less fortunate than herself or wants to be prime minister.
- Why is it so important we get to a future where SheDecides, without question? How are we going to get there?
I truly believe the world will be a happier place for all when SheDecides, without question. To get there, we need a global coalition made up of highly localised movements with a relentless focus on results. That, and mandatory paternity leave.