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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...

Saundra Pelletier Announced as Keynote Speaker at Harvard School of Public Health

For Immediate Release: March 24, 2014

San Diego, CA – Saundra Pelletier, WomanCare Global’s (WCG) Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Women Deliver Board, has been announced as the Keynote Speaker at Harvard School of Public Health Women in Leadership Student Organization’s “2014 Women in Leadership Conference.” The conference will provide the opportunity for students and alumnae to participate in discussions relating to the role of women in leadership positions in public health.

Ms. Pelletier has dedicated her life and career to empowering women, and she has been a major force in bringing attention to the need for women globally to access reproductive health supplies. She has grown WomanCare Global’s reach to over 100 countries while also serving as the CEO of Evofem Inc., a privately held biotechnology company that develops innovative prescription and consumer products.

“I’ve focused my career on empowering women and girls and I am grateful to Harvard School of Public Health for creating a forum that allows us to explore critical issues in women’s health,” said Saundra Pelletier. Read more...

Youth-Led Project in Bangladesh Wins Online Voting Competition

Women Deliver is pleased to announce the “Social Rising for Dowry and Early Marriage Prevention” project by S M Shaikat from Bangladesh as the winner of the C-Exchange Seed Grant competition. After almost 1,500 people voted, S M Shaikat will receive an additional US$500 to implement his project to monitor and prevent early marriage and dowry violence. This competition was held with the support of the Women Deliver C-Exchange, a Women Deliver-led private sector forum that includes Johnson & Johnson, WomanCare Global, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, GE, HRA Pharma Foundation, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, and Merck (known as MSD outside the United States). Read more...

Young #WomenInspire us to #InvestInGirls

By Lindsay Menard-Freeman; Originally posted on Huffington Post

March is an exciting time to celebrate girls and women. Women's History Month commemorates the pioneers of women's rights and equality, past and present. International Women's Day encourages us all to continue the fight for women's rights around the world. And this week, the United Nations 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women revives our commitments to build a better future for girls and women everywhere.

This March, however, also marks a particularly critical time for women's health and rights: For the first time in over a decade, we have an opportunity to shape a brand new global development agenda. The 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) generated unprecedented political will and funding for girls' and women's health and rights. Unfortunately though, the MDGs are quickly coming to an end just when we are beginning to gain momentum. Read more...

‘PODER’: A Story of Girls Overcoming

By Denise Dunning; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Denise Dunning is the Founder and Executive Director of Let Girls Lead and Champions for Change

Girls around the world rarely have the opportunity to tell their stories and speak their truth to a global audience. That reality is about to change with the global film premiere of 'PODER,' a compelling short documentary about girls' power to transform their own lives, families, communities and the world.

'PODER' is the engaging story of Elba and Emelin, two indigenous Guatemalan girls who overcame poverty and discrimination to transform a community of over 26,000 people, and their nation of 14 million. Unlike many documentaries that depict girls as powerless victims, 'PODER' captures girls as leaders and powerful agents of change. Read more...

Global Leaders Call for Greater Investments in Girls and Women

As world leaders congregate in New York for the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, policymakers, advocates, and experts convened a high-level event to focus on the need for greater global investment in reproductive health, education, and equality for girls and women.

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark delivered opening remarks at the event, “Invest in Girls and Women: Everybody Wins,” co-hosted by Women Deliver, The Permanent Mission of Denmark to the UN, Plan International, the Nike Foundation, and the UN Foundation. The event was in support of Every Woman Every Child, an initiative launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that aims to drastically improve the health of women and children around the world. Read more...

This International Women’s Day, Invest in Our Future

By: Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver; originally posted on Devex

Throughout the last three decades, I’ve dedicated my life’s work to improving the health and well-being of girls and women. I have tremendous gratitude for the trailblazers who made this possible — those around the globe who spoke up for the health and rights of girls and women even when it was unpopular or dangerous to do so. They have made possible all the progress we’ve seen, and inspire me to keep striving for more.

On this International Women’s Day, I want to look ahead to the future and celebrate the young men and women, many of whom weren’t even born when I began my journey, who are not only picking up the torch to advocate for women’s rights, but are carrying it with new fervor, passion and creative thinking. Read more...

Progress for Some Means Our Work is Far From Over

The United Nations released a groundbreaking new report today highlighting substantial, yet unequal and uneven, progress in global health, rights, and development. Fewer women are dying in childbirth than ever before, HIV infection rates have declined, and more girls are receiving an education. Research has proven that when girls are educated, families are healthier and countries are more economically prosperous.

Despite this correlation and the monumental impacts of girls and women on global development, gender inequality, gender-based violence, and the marginalization of under-represented groups continue to serve as tremendous obstacles to further progress. In particular, individuals with disabilities, those from indigenous groups, and those who are LGBT have faced persistent discrimination. Read more...

Development is Being Derailed by Ignoring Equality, Rights and Women’s Health, UN Cautions

Originally posted by UNFPA

New UN report says development gains from the past 20 years cannot be sustained unless governments tackle the inequalities that hurt the poorest and most marginalized

  • The number of people living in extreme poverty in developing countries has fallen dramatically from 47 per cent in 1990 to 22 per cent in 2010
  • But many of the estimated 1 billion people living in the 50-60 poorest countries will stagnate as the rest of the world gets richer

UNITED NATIONS, New York — A new report finds that growing inequalities will undo significant gains in health and longevity made over the past 20 years. To sustain these gains, the United Nations ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Report argues that governments must pass and enforce laws to protect the poorest and most marginalized, including adolescent girls and women affected by violence as well as rural populations. Read more...

Saundra Pelletier Talks about WomanCare Global’s New Product at the World Economic Forum

In January, 2,500 global leaders, key decision-makers, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and youth from around the world gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. The theme of this year’s meeting was The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business. Key issues included innovative ways to optimize funding for health programmes in developing and middle-income countries, closing the gender gap, and shaping global policy through advocacy. Read more...

Today is a Significant Day in Mali

By: Molly Melching; Originally posted on Thomson Reuters Foundation

Today, on the UN-recognized International Day promoting the abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC), these 14 neighborhoods have decided that they will no longer support the practices of female genital cutting and child/forced marriage. This public declaration marks a major change in community norms.  It will be a reference point people will use for generations to come marking the moment when they, as a collective group, agreed to protect the health and human rights of their daughters. Government ministers, traditional and religious leaders, hundreds of people from Yirimadio neighborhoods, project donors, Tostan International staff and Tostan’s implementing NGO partner, Muso, have all gathered at the Yirimadio community stadium to witness this celebratory event. Read more...

Press Release: Financing the Future of Global Health

Political leaders join experts on health and finance to call for innovation in sustainable funding

DAVOS, Switzerland, 24 January 2014 – Finding innovative ways to optimize funding for health programmes in developing and middle-income countries will be key to their development and economic growth, according to global health experts and political leaders meeting in Davos on the side lines of the World Economic Forum. At a private dinner on Thursday night convened by the Center for Global Health and Diplomacy and its partners, a diverse group of health and finance experts, donors and corporate partners discussed how they could work together to advance new financing mechanisms to optimize the return on investments in health. Read more...

Jill Sheffield and Katja Iversen in New Issue of GHD Magazine

The winter issue of the Center for Global Health and Diplomacy (GHD) Magazine is now available, and includes a special feature on the future of women and girls. In this section, which begins on page 36, articles focus on a range of topics including the future of development for girls and women; child marriage; child abuse; gender-based violence; mobile technology as an advocacy tool; and crowdfunding as a mechnism to save women's lives. Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield and incoming CEO Katja Iversen authored a piece on page 38 entitled A Dream of Progress for Girls and Women, which takes a forward look at the new development framework, and at how investing in girls and women is an investment in a better future for all. Read more...

World Economic Forum Event on Investing in Girls

This week, approximately 2,500 global leaders, key decision-makers, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and youth from around the globe have gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Over the next few days, participants will discuss this year’s theme, The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business. The meeting presents a tremendous opportunity to shape global policy through advocacy events, such as the United Nations Secretary-General's MDG Advocacy Group event Scaling Up Success: Investing in Girls’ Empowerment for MDG Acceleration. Read more...

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...

Katja Iversen to Join Women Deliver as Chief Executive Officer

New York City -- Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of girls and women, is pleased to announce that Katja Iversen, Chief of Strategic Communication and Public Advocacy with UNICEF, will be joining Women Deliver as Chief Executive Officer starting in March 2014.

“We are thrilled and honored to have Katja Iversen join Women Deliver,” said Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver. “Katja has a heart that beats for sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights, and we are honored to have her support and expertise moving forward.” Read more...

The Countdown to Trust Women 2013 Has Begun!

By: The Trust Women Team

Trust Women is more than just a conference. It is an influential international gathering with one goal: action. Women’s rights campaigners and leaders in the fields of law, finance, business, technology and government will come together in London on 3-4 December to forge strategic commitments to advance women’s rights. On the agenda: Fighting human trafficking; tackling slavery in the supply chain; prosecuting violence against women;  access to healthcare; the Arab Spring’s impact on women. 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: Empowering Girls, Period

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

In Kenya, young women aged 15-24 are four times more likely to contract HIV then young men their age. Education has the power to turn these statistics around. Research by The Global Campaign for Education suggests that if children receive comprehensive primary education, around 700,000 cases of HIV in young adults could be prevented each year. Yet many young girls in Kenya have been forced to miss school while menstruating, often because they aren’t able to afford hygienic sanitary pads. Since 2008, Huru International has been working to change this. Read more...

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