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Opinion: Rape in Conflict: Speaking Out for What’s Right

By: Serra Sippel; Originally posted by Inter Press Service News Agency

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama delivered an impassioned speech marking the 50th Anniversary of the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama and the bloody attack on civil rights marchers by police.

President Obama issued what was tantamount to a call to action for Americans to speak out for what is right. He stated: “…Loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what’s right and shake up the status quo.” Read more...

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark Named Patron of Women Deliver 2016 Conference

New York, NY, 25 February 2015 – In May 2016, thousands of world influencers, advocates, activists, researchers, policymakers, young people, journalists, private sector leaders, and members of civil society will gather in Copenhagen, Denmark, to share ideas and strategize on how to make the world a better place for girls and women. Read more...

Girls and Women Must be at the Center of the Global Development Agenda

By: Katja Iversen, CEO, Women Deliver

I am an optimist. Some would say I am a naïve optimist. Others would say I am an impatient optimist. There may be some truth to this, but after more than a decade working in global health I can say with confidence that over the next ten years we will make significant and sustainable change to improve the lives of women and girls in the world’s poorest countries. It will happen gradually and require a strong global strategy, but it is possible. Just think about how much progress has been made over the last two decades: maternal deaths have dropped by almost half, contraceptive use has increased, more girls are in school, more women are in leadership positions, and women’s rights are more widely recognized. Read more...

Focus on the Finances of Sexual Health

By: Tewodros Melesse; Originally posted by Huffington Post

The snow-capped mountains of the Swiss skiing resort of Davos seem a million miles away from the small wooden shack in a slum in Pampanga, Philippines that Marites Garcia calls home.

Every day she sees her eight children and two grandchildren go without food. It breaks her heart but there's little she can do. She doesn't have an education or a job and neither does her husband. Read more...

The Road Map for the Post-2015 Negotiations

Originally posted by International Women's Health Coalition

H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland and H.E. Mr. Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, co-Facilitators for the Post-2015 Development negotiations have carried out a series of informal negotiations to discuss the modalities for next year’s intergovernmental process. Read more...

The Struggle for Our Dignity

By: Nebila Abdulmelik, Women Deliver Young Leader

As reports and videos emerged of women being stripped naked in public in both Kenya and Tanzania, activists and citizens of conscience began organizing around a campaign, #MyDressMyChoice which was also trending online. A protest was organized on November 17, in which hundreds of us took to the streets to protest the indignity and the violence that was faced by the women, as well as the affront to personal safety, security and choice. Read more...

For Girls, Success Starts with Safe Schools

By: Katja Iversen, Women Deliver; Originally posted by Thomson Reuters Foundation

When I think back to my schooldays, the memories are mostly bright and fond: learning, laughter, friends and play – and the occasional quarrel and teenage tension that come with being a child and growing up.

Most people remember their schooldays fondly, but for too many children the reality is very different. We see bullying; we see fighting; we see sexual assaults. Every year, millions of children, particularly girls, experience physical and/or sexual violence at or on their way to school. Sadly, it is most often teachers, peers, neighbors, and even friends who are the perpetrators. Read more...

The Universal Periodic Review: Tracking Progress on Human Rights

Last week, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group concluded their 20th session after reviewing the human rights records of 14 countries. Italy, El Salvador, The Gambia, Bolivia, Fiji, San Marino, Kazakhstan, Angola, Iran, Madagascar, Iraq, Slovenia, Egypt and Bosnia and Herzegovina were all examined through the lens of human rights issues including gender-based violence, child protection, migrants’ rights, and hate crimes and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. Strategic recommendations were also developed to improve the lives of all people in these countries, especially marginalized populations. Read more...

Pick Up the Pace and Mind the Gap

By: Katja Iversen and Whitney Sogol, Women Deliver; Originally posted by The Huffington Post

With the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) new release of the 9th edition of the Global Gender Gap Index, the world has more hard data than ever before to support the claim that investing in girls and women is a win for everyone. The Global Gender Gap Index analyzes whether women have the same opportunities as men in the arenas of health, education, economic participation and political empowerment, and discusses the implications of disparities for global development. Evidence from this year’s report is both reassuring and disconcerting. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Fighting Everyday Sexism for a Better Future for Girls

By: Lauren Himiak, Women Deliver

October 11th marked a significant day for girls around the world. International Day of the Girl Child, an annual event, calls attention to the most pressing issues facing girls today. This year’s focus, selected by UNICEF, focused on ending violence against girls. By highlighting the ways in which violence limits the choices and opportunities of girls, the internationally recognized observance engaged national governments with support from civil society, the private sector, media, young people, the United Nations, and men and women everywhere. Read more...

Grand Challenge: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development

By: Gary Darmstadt, Sarah Henry and Luca Passerini; Originally posted by Impatient Optimist

Over the last decade the Grand Challenges family of programs has fostered innovation and partnership to address some of the world’s most difficult global health and development challenges for the poor and marginalized.  This week, as part of an exciting evolution at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we are launching a new Grand Challenge to more effectively reach and empower the most vulnerable women and girls. Read more...

Gates Highlights Centrality of Girls and Women in Development

In an article today in Science, Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation writes on the need to recognize girls and women as central to development and to systemically address gender inequality. She also discusses the Gates Foundation’s current shortfalls around gender equality and women’s empowerment, and how those areas will be addressed through new initiatives in the coming year. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Educating Young Men to Address Commercial Sex Trafficking

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

To address the root cause of commercial sex trafficking and promote gender equality in the Asia Pacific region, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International (CATW)’s  Asia Pacific regional office (CATW-AP) is using gender and sexuality educational camps to engage young men on issues of gender equality and sexual exploitation. Read more...

Copenhagen Announced as the Official Location of the Women Deliver 2016 Global Conference

Denmark highlights commitment to girls and women with conference announcement and launch of a new gender framework

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 18 August 2014 – Today, with 500 days left until the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) deadline, advocacy organization Women Deliver and the Danish Minister for Trade and Development Corporation, Mogens Jensen, announced that the next Women Deliver global conference  will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May 2016. The announcement was made at the Invest in Girls and Women – Everybody Wins event held at the Danish Parliament, where Denmark’s new Strategic Framework for Gender Equality, Rights and Diversity was also launched.

“We are beyond thrilled that the Women Deliver 2016 Conference will be in Copenhagen,” said Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield. “The Danish government has played a key role in advancing girls’ and women’s health and rights and, with its support, this conference could catapult these issues to the forefront of the global development agenda and unify advocates from all around the world around one simple ask: Invest in girls and women – it pays.” Read more...

SRHR Beyond 2015: A Good Step Forward, But Still Some Way To Go

By: Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver

Last week proved to be an intense week of negotiations in the last of 13 meetings of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. Civil society organizations and countries who support sexual and reproductive health and rights, adolescent and youth issues, and gender equality fought long and hard to get targets included into the final report for the Secretary-General.

The good news is that we succeeded – somewhat – in getting these important issues included in the report that will serve as part of the foundation for the new global development framework for the next 15 years. Read more...

Sexual Violence, Security and the Role Gender Equality Has to Play in Tackling Rape

By: Tewodros Melesse; Originally posted by Huffington Post

Tewodros Melesse is the Director-General of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

In late July 2010, a woman brought her 10-year-old daughter, Sakina, into an emergency outreach clinic in Muzaffargarh, South Punjab, Pakistan. Floods had inundated that part of the country, and our Member Association -- the Family Planning Association of Pakistan (Rahnuma-FPAP) -- had deployed using boats and vans.

The girl had fallen, the mother said. But the examination that followed told a very different story. Bleeding from her genitals indicated she had been sexually assaulted. But the mother, terrified of the social stigma that might follow the girl for the rest of her life, was initially unwilling to confide in our clinic staff.

Eventually confidence was established and the real explanation emerged. Sakina immediately received treatment to prevent sexually transmitted infections, HIV and pregnancy, all of which are part of the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP). These are the services that we deploy into emergency situations where a humanitarian response is required. Rahmuna-FPAP psychologists trained in sexual and gender-based violence also provided counselling and support for Sakina. Read more...

Parliamentarians at #IPCI2014 Advocate for Rights of Women, Girls and Youth

Women Deliver welcomes the strong outcomes of the 6th International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI) held in Stockholm, Sweden on April 23rd-25th. This event that brough together parliamentarians from 125 countries served to reaffirm the strong consensus among global parliamentarians about the importance of positioning, population and development issues at the heart of the international development agenda.

A forward-looking and action-oriented  declaration called “Stockholm Statement of Commitment” was developed, under which parliamentarians unanimously advocated for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights, human rights, youth participation,  and gender equality. The statement builds upon the commitments from previous IPCI conferences in Ottawa, Strasburg, Bangkok, Addis Ababa and Istanbul. It also marks the 20th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the end of the original ICPD mandate. Read more...

CPD: Renewed Support for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Gender Equality, and Youth Participation

The week-long 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) ended on Saturday with governments calling for the promotion of gender equality, young people’s participation, and sexual and reproductive health in the next set of development goals. The Commission emphasized the need to advance these issues to achieve sustainable development.

The Commission, which met at UN headquarters in New York, assessed what progress has been made in the 20 years since the groundbreaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994. There, 179 governments agreed that women’s health and rights must be central to global development policies, programs, and funding. Read more...

Sexual and Reproductive Rights are Not ‘New’ Rights, Says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

United Nations, New York, 8 April 2014 – Although sometimes considered controversial, sexual and reproductive rights are not ‘new’ rights, but “are intrinsic to a range of internationally binding treaties.”

That was one of the messages in the keynote address by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, speaking at a side event, Celebrating Cairo and Going Beyond, organized by the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) on the occasion of the Commission on Population and Development. Read more...

CSW: Good News for Women’s Rights

Women Deliver welcomes the strong outcome of the 2014 UN Commission on the Status of Women, where a big battle was fought to prioritize gender equality and view women’s rights as human rights in the next development agenda.

After two weeks of tough negotiations between delegates, advocates praised the strong language around sexual and reproductive health in the outcome document. With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire at the end of next year, the Commission recognized that although the MDGs have advanced progress in some areas, the goals that focus on the health and well-being of girls and women, particularly surrounding maternal and sexual and reproductive health, have made the least the progress. Read more...

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