news roundup (2017).
IPPF (the International Planned Parenthood Federation) announced the appointment of their next Director General – Dr Alvaro Bermejo. Alvaro is a tireless, committed champion for girls and women, a bold and brave advocate for human rights, who puts sexual and reproductive health and rights at the forefront of the global agenda. He has played a central role in SheDecides in his current role as Executive Director of the Survive and Thrive portfolio at CIFF, and we look forward to his continuing leadership as a SheDecides champion at IPPF. Massive congratulations to Dr Alvaro Bermejo! Read IPPF’s full statement here.
The Lancet recently published an editorial highlighting why girls and women must have agency over their bodies, including their sexual and reproductive rights. The editorial captures the heart and soul of why SheDecides exists as a movement – our energy, our anger and our unwillingness to sit down until all of the barriers facing girls and women are overcome, rules are changed and oppressive systems are dismantled. As the article says, the health community can ‘co-create sustained momentum to support each girl today to fulfil her full potential in life, free from objectification and fear. But only if we change the narrative to allow dreams of a future that are uniquely hers to decide’. Click here to read the full editorial.
Recently appointed UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem has launched the ‘State of the World’s Population’ report. The flagship report reveals the not so surprising link between economic inequality and reproductive justice, and correctly puts the rights of girls and women as central to global equality, development and social progress. As a way forward the report establishes 10 actions we need to take to guarantee a more equal world such as tearing down barriers like discriminatory laws, norms or service gaps which prevent adolescent girls and young women from accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services. Access the full report here and listen back to Natalia Kanem on The Today Programme here.
- India's Supreme Court has ruled that sex with a child bride is rape, striking down a legal clause which formerly permitted men to have sex with their underage wives. India's government says the practice of child marriage is "an obstacle to nearly every developmental goal: eradicating poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality; protecting children's lives; and improving women's health". SheDecides welcomes this landmark judgement and calls for the abolition of laws which stop women and girls everywhere from deciding. Let’s fight for laws that enable her decide whether, when and with whom to have sex, to fall in love, to have children. Read the full article here.
On the International Day of The Girl, SheDecides Founder and Champion, Minister Lilianne Ploumen called on world leaders to fight together to counter regressive laws on abortion and stand up for a world where SheDecides. She added that ‘This so-called “pro-life” policy will result in deaths on a massive scale. According to the World Health Organization, “deaths due to unsafe abortion remain close to 13 per cent of all maternal deaths”. Each decrease of $10 million in US funding would result in 250 more maternal deaths, the Guttmacher Institute predicts. Find the rest of the article in the Financial Times here.
On Wednesday, October 11, the world observed the International Day of the Girl Child, which has the mission “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”
In advance of this day, SheDecides Champion and youth leader from Uganda, Patrick Mwesigye hosted a SheDecides Open House in Kampala to spotlight how the energy of SheDecides can be used to broaden the sexual and reproductive health and rights and adolescent contraception debate among policy makers, legislators and CSO advocates in Uganda, plus how it can change the narrative and lead to real change for girls and women’s health.
The SheDecides event is organised by the Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) in partnership with the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Youth Affairs and the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association with support from FP2020.
- SheDecides welcomes the appointment of Dr Natalia Kanem as the new Executive Director of the UNFPA. Right now – possibly more than ever – we need bold, brave leadership on a global level to accelerate progress toward a new normal where #SheDecides, without question. We know from her moving contribution at the SheDecides Open House, and her support for our manifesto that Dr Kanem is personally and professionally committed to this vision. We have high hopes that she will commit to ensuring every woman has access to the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive rights and health, including safe abortion and comprehensive sexuality education, so that every girl and women, every where decides about her body, her life, her future. Congratulations, Dr Natalia Kanem – we look forward to working with you!
- Big week for global health! SheDecides congratulates the World Health Organisation's dynamic new Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom for his forward-sighted appointment of a remarkably talented and diverse cabinet. We welcome all, especially Princess Simelela and look forward to working with the team so #SheDecides. Read the full announcement here.
‘As a matter of urgency, France must make a financial effort to counteract the disastrous effects of the US Global Gag Rule, by participating in the SheDecides Initiative and Increasing Funding for UNFPA'. Co-lead of the SheDecides Support Unit Rebekka van Roemburg gave a speech at a colloquium organised by a group of sexual and reproductive health and rights organisations in France. As a result, an online petition has been set in motion calling on citizens to demand more investment in women and girls sexual rights. It calls for the ‘Massive funding of policies and projects which promote sexual and reproductive rights and health, the cornerstone of women's rights’. French citizens and civil society are storming social media demanding their Government to commit to the SheDecides initiative.
It was full house at the SheDecides Open House New York on Friday September 22nd as friends of the movement convened for an interactive evening of real talk about the global movement to create a world where every girl and woman can decide what to do with her body, her life and with her future. Without Question. Speakers included Genesis Luigi, Tikhala Itaye, Alejandra Cardenas, Halima Lila as MC plus a special performance by Sa-Roc.
In a speech delivered to the General Assembly, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid reaffirmed her country’s support for the SheDecides initiative and called on the UN to do more for women and girls' rights. ‘Estonia continues to support actions addressing gender-based violence and the reproductive health needs of the most vulnerable women and adolescent girls, for example via UNFPA in Ukraine 2017, and by supporting the #SheDecides initiative’. Full speech available here.
Lilianne Ploumen has been awarded the Aletta Jacobs Prize 2018 for her commitment to and successful endeavours for the rights of women and girls all over the world, including setting up SheDecides. Every other year, the University of Groningen awards the Aletta Jacobs Prize to a woman with an academic background who has contributed to women’s emancipation in the national or international arena. The prize was established in 1990 by Prof. Erik Bleumink, former president of the Board of the University. More here.
Georgia Arnold, SheDecides Torchbearer and Executive Director of MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation, and Robin Gorna, co-lead of the SheDecides Support Unit have been featured as ‘Experts to Watch’ on women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health. News Deeply Magazine highlighted their efforts at leading global sexual and reproductive rights policy with a focus on their roles in employing research, policy and interventions to advance the rights of women and girls worldwide. They feature alongside several others who are working tirelessly toward a world where every woman and girl can choose what to do with her body and her life without question. Find a link to the article here.
- 5th September, 2017 marks 6 months since the International Women's Day protest against the reinstatement and expansion of the Global Gag Rule. To mark this moment, and to raise our voices loud and clear that we are still fighting, SheDecides joined the #TrumpGlobalGag 'Tweetstorm'. Check out the highlights by heading to our Twitter account or by searching #TrumpGlobalGag and #SheDecides.
- In August alone, thanks to the tireless work of activists and lawyers, India has banned instant divorce; Jordan and Lebanon have ended "marry-your-rapist" laws; Chile has lifted its total abortion ban and Nepal has outlawed menstrual discrimination. A time to celebrate, but also a time to stay vigilant, to ensure that laws are upheld and progress continues so that #SheDecides, everywhere. Click here for the wrap.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has once again attacked the rights, health and livelihoods of young people. Abruptly cutting short grants to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, 80+ organisations won't be able to support teens who are most in need. SheDecides calls for these evidence based, life saving programmes to be expanded, not cut. Read more on The Hill.
- International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF), global service provider and leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, is directly affected by the Global Gag Rule. They released this policy briefing to assert their position on the Trump administration's expanded Global Gag Rule and outline what it means for service providers and, therefore, what it means for the livelihood of girls and women worldwide. This briefing is intended for advocates and professionals working within the sexual and reproductive health and rights and women's sectors.