the story


SheDecides was launched at the start of 2017 as a movement to support the fundamental rights of girls and women to decide freely and for themselves about their sexual lives, including whether, when, with whom and how many children they have. SheDecides began with two words, then a one day conference, and has rapidly evolved into a growing global movement which is guided by the vision in the SheDecides manifesto: A new normal where girls and women decide about their bodies, their lives, their futures. Without question.


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the spark

SheDecides was created as an urgent response to US President Donald Trump’s reinstatement and dramatic expansion of the Global Gag Rule – also known as the Mexico City Policy – in January 2017. The rule prevents NGOs outside the US from receiving money from the US government if they provide safe abortions or information about abortion and has devastating effects on women, girls and their communities around the world.

This attack on women’s human rights prompted then Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and International Development, Lilianne Ploumen, along with her counterparts in the governments of Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, to launch SheDecides as a global initiative to defend those rights.  They were immediately joined by other governments, organisations and individuals. SheDecides became the rallying call for leaders and citizens alike to stand up as a matter of urgency to protect the rights, health, safety and livelihoods of millions of girls and women around the world.

On 2 March 2017, the governments of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden organised the first SheDecides conference in Brussels.  

More than 50 governments attended the conference, among 450 participants including youth leaders, parliamentarians and representatives from UN agencies, NGOs, private foundations and the private sector. This gathering enabled global leaders to raise their voices in support of girls’ and women’s rights and pledged their commitment to ensure that SheDecides. The outpouring of support included €181 million of new pledges and a new generation of champions. 

Download the SheDecides Global Gag Rule fact sheet here. 

the evolution

In just one year, SheDecides has become a powerful global political movement with community support. It is backed by over 50,000 individuals, 300 organisations and 36 major champions – one third of them Ministers – from across the world.

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SheDecides Day 2018


On 2 March 2018, Champions, Friends, political leaders, community leaders and professionals across the world came together to mark the first anniversary of the SheDecides movement. 

From a gathering of slam poetry performers and speakers in India to a city takeover by young people in Kenya, from cutting a SheDecides cake in Pakistan, to public opinion leaders and media representatives congregating in Russia, “SheDecides” was the rallying cry for citizens all over the world. 

The flagship event for the first ever SheDecides Day was held in Pretoria, South Africa, hosted by SheDecides leading champion South Africa’s Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi together with the Danish government, represented by SheDecides Champion Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs. 

Events to celebrate SheDecides Day were also organised in Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Namibia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, Uganda, the UK and the US. 

On SheDecides Day the world stood up, spoke out. Yes, it’s obvious, SheDecides. But it’s not just about one day. The real work is just beginning.

From today, we fight against the fear. We right the wrongs. We make laws and policies just. We stand up, speak out; change the rules; unlock resources. We turn all the noise of thousands of great campaigns into a clear and simple signal: SheDecides! We create the change we want to see. Together, we have the strength, and the numbers to co-create a world where everyday, SheDecides.

Read the full wrap report here.

Media release: The world puts its weight behind the rights of young women and adolescent girls: SheDecides Day 2018