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SheDecides statement on the UK Government’s cuts to Official Development Assistance and the impact on Her Right to Decide

7th June 2021

The cuts to the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) will have lifechanging consequences for millions of women and girls though the reduction in and closure of sexual and reproductive health and rights programmes.

It will mean entire communities are cut off from information, advice, resources and services about their sexual health and rights. Generations of women and girls will be less informed about their bodies and the right they have to decide about it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already stretched national health services to their limits around the world. This is the time for global leaders – governments and organisations - to step up not scale back. When we hear rhetoric about the goal to make tangible, lasting and transformative impact on women and girls’ lives, it is an incomprehensible reality to make short-term cuts that will have such long-lasting consequences.

Wherever we are in the world, we must ensure that the restrictions that are placed on women and girls’ bodies don’t go unchallenged. We must commit to supporting women and girls to make decisions about their lives and how they live them. And we must demand that women and girls are at the helm to determine their own futures.

The evidence is clear: when we protect her right to decide about her body, life and future, we see a world which is better, stronger and safer. We are at a moment in time where we can choose to be on the right side of progress toward this goal. We need everyone to heed that call to Stand Up and Speak Out and take bold action to ensure those who seek to restrict her right to decide don’t win. Cutting essential funding is not the answer, scaling back on commitments is not leadership, we must strive to do more, and advance bodily autonomy. De-prioritising Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at this critical time doesn’t just risk progress on gender equality. It risks the life of each and every woman and girl that is not reached with the information and tools that help her make the decisions only she should make.

Together we can commit to do better so that SheDecides.