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What is SheDecides?

SheDecides is a global movement taking political action for a world where every woman, girl and young person in all their diversity, can decide what to do with their body, life and future.

We are a unique network of leaders from Africa, Asia, the Arab Region, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and North America. Since 2017, we have been standing up for abortion rights, bodily autonomy and her right to choose. Our members include governments, parliamentarians, youth leaders, activists, service providers, artists and donors.

The SheDecides Movement is a catalyst for collective action, greater than the sum of its parts. Together we build support for her right to decide. We speak out against opposition and the rollback of rights. And we mobilise political and financial support for bodily autonomy.

When and how did SheDecides start?

SheDecides launched in 2017 as an urgent response to the return and expansion of the Global Gag Rule (GGR). The GGR was a policy reinstated by the then administration of the United States. The policy prevented foreign organizations receiving U.S. global health funding from providing information, or services for legal abortion or advocating for access to abortion services.

The consequences of the GGR were devastating. It impacted people, health service providers and entire public health systems across the globe. The GGR deprived millions of people of their right to make their own reproductive choices.

In response the governments of Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark launched SheDecides. Over 40 governments, organizations, youth leaders and experts gathered in Brussels for the SheDecides conference. This sparked the start of SheDecides. A global, political movement was born, providing a safe space for its members to plan and advance sexual and reproductive rights for all.

Where can I find SheDecides' new strategy

You can find information about SheDecides strategy 2022-2027 on the "How We Drive Change" page or you can read the Executive Summary here

How does SheDecides drive change?

SheDecides vision for 2022-2027 is to:

Counter opposition and contribute to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights and bodily autonomy by convening and strengthening coordinated political action and amplifying the collective voices of our movement members and allies.

Our new strategy builds upon our existing contributions and shifts us in a new direction. In particular we aim to advance access to safe and legal abortion services, young people's SRHR and comprehensive sexuality education for all.

The strategy is built on three pillars:

  • Pillar One: Convene and Strengthen
  • Pillar Two: Take Political Action
  • Pillar Three: Amplify and Speak Out

Woven through each pillar are our three cross-cutting, overarching themes. These are:

  • Including young people in a meaningful way
  • Challenging opposition intentionally
  • Practicing our intersectional feminist values

Our theory of change is:

If we convene and strengthen our movement and build linkages to important allies,

so that we are better able to take joint political action that can demand global-level accountability for advancements towards bodily autonomy and SRHR,

then we will be better positioned to use our collective power and amplified voice to counter opposition and advance support for bodily autonomy and SRHR.

You can read the Executive Summary here

What impact does SheDecides intend to have?

SheDecides will build a movement that is strong, connected and supportive that together advances bodily autonomy, SRHR and counters opposition to the right to choose. It will be a diverse movement, working across sectors, ages, roles and areas of expertise. Together we will dismantle discriminatory power structures. We will open up doors between decision makers, experts, youth leaders and activists. And we will drive positive change towards our common goal: advancing bodily autonomy for all and countering opposition.

By 2027, we will build:

  • A strong, coordinated SheDecides movement that can respond to opportunities to advance bodily autonomy and SRHR, respond to threats, and demand accountability for commitments governments have made.
  • A strategically interconnected web of members and allies, including new political leaders, decision makers and young people, that are well-positioned to act together to advance bodily autonomy and SRHR, and challenge opposition.
  • A movement that shifts the needle on public opinion for bodily autonomy by reaching new audiences through campaigns and by partnering with organizations beyond the SRHR sector.

Why is SheDecides needed? Why now?

Sexual and reproductive rights are being pushed back, made invisible, de-prioritised and defunded. Being able to decide when and if to become pregnant is still a global challenge, and millions of people do not have a say in what happens to their bodies. No one should be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term; and no person should die due to unsafe abortion, pregnancy or childbirth.

Almost a quarter of all women in the world are unable to say no to sex or make decisions about their own health care. Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended. (Source: UNFPA)

Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) gives children and young people the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to take control over their health, well-being and dignity. Yet this essential, health preserving education is being rolled back. Young people are being denied access to the information they need to make informed choices about their bodies and their futures.

SheDecides has been fighting these attacks on abortion rights, SRHR and bodily autonomy since 2017, and will continue to do so. Because we know that we will only achieve gender equality when every woman and girl has the right to decide about her body, life and future. Without question.

Who funds SheDecides?

SheDecides has the financial support of diverse donors. These include national governments and private foundations. These donors fund the SheDecides Support Unit which supports the movement in its organising aligned to the strategy.

How does SheDecides define 'movement'?

An organized set of constituents pursuing a common political agenda of change through collective action.

How does SheDecides define 'bodily autonomy'?

We decide what we do with our bodies, and what does or does not happen to our bodies. When we have bodily autonomy, we have the power and freedom to make decisions about our wellbeing; our relationships and our futures; and we are supported to fulfill those decisions.

How does SheDecides work?

Aligned to our strategy, SheDecides will build a strong and connected movement of members, allies and partners. Together we will achieve our common goal - advancing bodily autonomy for all and counter opposition to the right to decide. In particular we aim to advance access to safe and legal abortion services, young people's SRHR and comprehensive sexuality education for all.

The SDSU will:

  • Coordinate members and allies to take political action for SRHR and bodily autonomy
  • Identify opportunities for movement members and allies to speak out for SRHR, bodily autonomy and against the rollback of rights
  • Connect global level advocacy moments with national champions and activists
  • Amplify the voices, stories and actions of national champions and activists fighting for the right to decide

What is a 25x25 young leader? What is their role in the SheDecides Movement?

SheDecides 25x25 were two groups of 25 young people from across the world. They each engaged in key high-level moments for bodily autonomy. This was aligned to SheDecides Strategy 2019 - 2021.

The first cohort - The Generation of Change - participated in the ICPD+25/Nairobi Summit discussions.

The second cohort - The Generation of Gender Equality - participated in the Beijing+25/Generation Equality Forum.

The 25x25 role and functions will be restructured and aligned to the strategy. Read more about them here

What is a Champion? What is their role in the SheDecides Movement?

Champions are SheDecides ambassadors who commit to advancing SheDecides objectives by taking action. The SheDecides Champions are the cornerstone of SheDecides. They shape and inform SheDecides’ areas for collaboration and action. They are the leading voices for SheDecides messaging.

Champions are thought and action leaders from diverse sectors that lead by example. They come from countries all over the world, honing their efforts at global, regional and sometimes national level. Champions may be individual or institutional - serving as Champions on behalf of their organizations. Champions are nominated and invited through formalized procedures and their engagement is coordinated by the Support Unit

Read more about SheDecides Champions here:

Who decides who is a SheDecides Champion?

SheDecides Champions propose other leaders whom they believe will be effective ambassadors for the movement and can add value. There are no quotas but there are basic criteria used to appoint Champions: Willingness, and ability, to leverage influence (in network, voice, people, organisations) for the SheDecides Movement Political weight (and preparedness to use that weight to support the SheDecides Movement) Commitment to the SheDecides Manifesto, and to take proactive and regular action to advance the SheDecides vision and to grow the movement

How does someone cease being a SheDecides Champion?

Champions can stand down from their role at any time, through submitting a simple request.

Champions can also be removed if it is determined that they have acted in ways that directly contradict or violate the spirit and vision of SheDecides, or its principles and standards. This could be through written or spoken comments or through policy decisions. In these cases, this is decided by a majority vote by the Guiding Group.

What is the Guiding Group? What is its role in the SheDecides Movement?

The Guiding Group and Donor Advisory Group is the principal decision-making body in governance processes for SheDecides.

Its role is to ensure that SheDecides continues to be a diverse, inclusive and politically relevant global movement that brings together diverse leaders from all regions to drive change.

The Guiding Group ensures SheDecides’ values are upheld in the operationalization of the strategy.

The Guiding Group is composed of SheDecides Champions. It has a balanced representation from across geographical regions and sectors. It includes civil society, youth, governments and donors. It must also include a representative from the host organization of the SheDecides Support Unit. Read more about the Guiding Group here:

What is the SheDecides Support Unit?

The SheDecides Support Unit (SDSU) is the hub for the movement. It is the convener, strategic adviser and technical coordinator for SheDecides operational efforts. The SDSU provides tailored political and communication support, key messages, recommendations and identifies opportunities for collaborations amongst movement members and allies.

The SDSU consists of a team including the Lead and senior advisers tasked to support the rollout of the strategy. Read more about the SDSU

What is the YAP?

The Youth Accountability Panel (YAP) is an independent advisory group of young people. It's composed of nine selected panelists under 28 years old from different regions and backgrounds.

The YAP's mandate is to hold the SheDecides movement to account for implementing the SheDecides Youth Engagement Strategy.

The YAP:

  • provides strategic guidance
  • directs the SheDecides Support Unit on ways to strengthen engagement and support young people within the movement
  • reviews proposals relating to youth engagement
  • proposes young people that could join as SheDecides Champions
  • strengthens collaboration with youth activists and networks
  • provides leadership and input into SheDecides strategy documents
  • develops innovative ideas to amplify youth voices and demands both within and outside the SheDecides movement.

Read more about the YAP here

What are Spark Grants and who can apply?

SheDecides Spark Grants were small grants made to young feminist groups, collectives, movements or coalitions working on bodily autonomy. Spark Grants ranged from USD 5,000 to USD 20,000 per project. SheDecides no longer offers Spark Grants and applications are closed.