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2014 Gates Letter Highlights Women’s Empowerment and Family Planning

The 2014 Annual Letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation effectively highlights common myths about global aid and development, and what areas need to be prioritized to see real progress for the poor and marginalized. In particular, increasing women’s empowerment and their access to contraception are discussed as key interventions that lead to measurable change and a more equitable, sustainable world. Read more...

A Teen Girl’s Secret to Finding Real Power? Fix Something That’s Broken

By: Denise Restauri; Originally posted on Forbes

Elba Graciela Velásquez Hernández is a 16-year-old indigenous girl activist from Guatemala. The oldest of six children and proud daughter of Dario and Olivia, Elba is from Concepción Chiquirichapa, a small Maya Mam community in the country’s Western Highlands. She plans on studying law and becoming a lawyer and journalist. Her dream for the future is a world with better opportunities for adolescent girls, one where girls become respected leaders in their communities. Elba is a leader in Let Girls Lead’s girls’ empowerment program and a star of the upcoming short film ¡PODER!, which tells the story of how she and her friends convinced their town to stop discriminating against girls and start supporting girls’ education, health, and empowerment. The word poder has a double meaning, both “power” and “ability.” Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Guatemalan Girls Advocate for Change

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver

Girls are powerful agents for change. The global health community has proven time and time again that when girls are healthy, educated and safe, they can move mountains. The Adolescent Girls and Leadership Initiative (AGALI) has demonstrated that girl-centered leadership and advocacy programs work for girls, and for their families and communities. Leveraging these results, AGALI is launching Let Girls Lead, a new film and participatory media initiative that amplifies the power of girls to create their own solutions, tell their own stories, and lead social change around the world. Read more...

Women’s Equality Day: Mobilizing the Women of the World

By: Saundra Pelletier, WomanCare Global; Originally posted on Huffington Post

What does investing in women and in their ability to advocate for themselves mean for the world? In Caribou, Maine, where I'm from, girls had two choices when they were growing up - who they would marry and how many children they would have. There were many "invisible women" who lacked access to resources, powerful female role models and, above all, choice. My mother encouraged me to advocate for myself and for those who felt invisible. As the CEO of WomanCare Global, a non-profit women's health company focused on delivering high-quality healthcare products, I believe that empowering women by ensuring their reproductive choice is critical for women who simply want to provide a better quality of life for their children and ultimately, themselves. On a global scale, an investment in female empowerment ensures healthier, wealthier and better educated communities. Read more...

 

Let Girls Lead

By: Denise Dunning, AGALI; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists

Like most girls in war-torn Liberia, 19 year old Oretha Yeagan has lived through more than her share of poverty and violence, dropping out of school in sixth grade when her mother couldn’t pay her school fees. But Oretha was lucky – she went to live in a safe home in Monrovia run by THINK, a Liberia-based NGO focusing on the rights and wellbeing of women and girls. There, she learned tailoring, finished school and now has plans to continue studying and become a computer analyst. Read more...

Girl-centred advocacy could protect 600 million girls from violence

By: Denise Raquel Dunning, AGALI; Originally posted in Guardian's Global Development Professionals Network

At the end of May, 4,500 political leaders and practitioners from 149 countries convened in Malaysia at the Women Deliver conference, which highlighted adolescent girls as the key to advancing the post-2015 development agenda.

Policymakers attending Women Deliver stressed the need to invest in girl-centred advocacy to improve girls' lives and achieve global development goals: "Girls need to be at the centre of the global development agenda. We need both stronger laws to protect girls, and greater political commitment to effective implementation," said the Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Daughters of Sex Workers Pave a New Path Ahead

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

Sixteen-year old Aparna Bhola may be young, but she is also a confident, knowledgable teacher to the teenage girls that gather for her sex education class. She is a member of Kranti, an organization based in Nepal and India that provides women rescued from prostitution and their daughters with education and new opportunities. Her mother, Malti, was a sex worker, and often struggled to access medical treatment and better opportunities in the face of violence and discrimination. Malti’s story is not uncommon—in 2009, it was estimated that 3 million women are trafficked through India every year. Read more...

Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield: What Women’s Empowerment Means to Me

By: Jill Sheffield, Women Deliver President: Originally posted on BSR

As part of BSR’s celebration of International Women’s Day during the month of March, we asked BSR partners to contribute a guest blog on their experience with women’s empowerment through their lives and work.

My journey as a women’s health advocate began when I worked in the family planning/reproductive health outpatient clinic of Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. I was 27 at the time, and I met a young Kenyan mother, my exact age, who had already been pregnant 11 times but had only six living children. She came to the clinic for contraceptives but was legally barred from obtaining them without her husband’s permission. Read more...

 

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