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Denise Dunning Unlocks Girl Power Through Let Girls Lead

By: Stacy Teicher Khadaroo; Originally posted by The Christian Science Monitor

To help girls stay in school, women and girls in Malawi are taking a stand against child marriages. So far they have persuaded leaders in 22 villages to penalize men who try to marry a woman under age 21. One possible penalty? Taking away some of the man's goats or chickens.

It's the kind of strategy that probably wouldn't have occurred to a US-based nonprofit. But in countries where girls and women bear the brunt of poverty, Let Girls Lead, an Oakland, Calif.-based initiative founded by Denise Dunning, helps them amplify their voices and broaden their hopes, turning small victories into large-scale changes. Read more...

Girls: The World’s Greatest Return on Investment

By Dr. Denise Dunning; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists

My mom is from Argentina, and we often spent Christmas holidays there while I was growing up. When I was 12, I was riding on a train with my parents to spend Christmas Eve with family friends living outside of Buenos Aires. The mood on the train was festive – everyone was dressed up and many carried holiday gifts. At a station about 20 minutes outside the city, I saw a teenage girl board the far end of the train. The girl, only a couple years older than me, was carrying a baby and dragging a toddler along behind her. They were ragged and very poor – their faces were streaked with dirt and their clothes were torn. Read more...

CFR Launches Interactive Guide on Child Marriage

Originally posted by Council on Foreign Relations

A new interactive guide from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) examines the threat that child marriage poses both to the prosperity and stability of the countries in which it is prevalent and to U.S. development and foreign policy interests. "Child marriage is linked to poor health, curtailed education, violence, and instability, and perpetuates an intergenerational cycle of poverty that is difficult to break, as the InfoGuide shows," said CFR Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy Rachel B. Vogelstein, formerly director of policy and senior adviser on global women's issues at the U.S. State Department. "Its effects harm not only girls but entire families, communities, and economies—and U.S. interests around the world." Read more...

World Bank: Poverty is the Defining Moral Issue of our Time

World Bank President Jim Young Kim spoke at George Washington University last week on the eve of the World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings. He discussed the World Bank’s recently released strategy on ending global poverty. Kim particularly noted the importance of working with countries emerging from conflict, affected by conflict, or in a persistent state of fragility as pivotal steps towards developing peace and security worldwide, and highlighted the need for continued investments in girls and women. Read more...

Global Citizen Festival Calls for Women’s Equality

By: Janna Oberdorf, Women Deliver

On Saturday, September 28th, more than 60,000 people will come together at a musical festival on the Great Lawn in Central Park, New York City, to focus on one goal – to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. The Global Citizen Festival, which will feature musical performances by John Mayer, Alicia Keys, Kings of Leon, and Stevie Wonder, gives “Global Citizens” the opportunity to join a movement of people who together are creating a world without extreme poverty. By taking action on globalcitizen.org, citizens from around the world can earn points to enter a chance to win passes to the festival.

The focus of the Festival this year will not only be on global poverty, but on accelerating progress on the issues of health, education, women’s equality, and global partnerships. Coinciding with the UN General Assembly, the Festival serves as an important platform for citizens to come together and raise their voices for change in a moment when critical leaders are gathered together. Read more...

UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel Report is a Bold and Inspired Step Toward A Better World

United Nations Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin issued the following statement today on the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel’s report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda:

“The United Nations Foundation welcomes the report of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda – a particularly significant and bold contribution to the development of a new framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals. Read more...

Global Leaders Call for Accelerated Progress on Family Planning at Women Deliver 2013

Melinda Gates, Babatunde Osotimehin and others highlight progress in expanding contraceptive access

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 29 May 2013 – On the second day of Women Deliver 2013, the largest conference on girls and women of the decade, global leaders announced progress and new commitments toward expanding contraceptive access for women in developing countries. They also outlined plans for sustaining this momentum in the years to come. Read more...

Contraception and Gamified Advocacy

By: Jill Sheffield, Women Deliver and Matti Navellou, Global Poverty Project; Originally posted on Huffington Post

It's time to modernize advocacy efforts to empower girls and women.

222 million women currently lack access to modern contraception. That's 222 million women who can't plan their fertility, and 222 million women who can't plan their lives.

As notable policymakers, government leaders, civil society representatives and corporate leaders come together this week to discuss the global health and empowerment of girls and women at the 3rd Women Deliver Global Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - now is the time to rethink effective advocacy in this area. Read more...

Fistula’s Youngest Victims

By: Kate Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director (Programme) of United Nations Population Fund; Originally posted on Huffington Post

In my role at the United Nations Population Fund, I have the privilege to travel to urban, rural and remote locations to see the range of efforts being made so that every woman might give birth safely and in dignity, supported by midwives or other skilled attendants. But in many countries, a safe labor and delivery for mother and child is still a lottery -- a roll of the dice. When services are not available, when skilled birth attendants are not in reach, when information is not provided or distance or poverty or discrimination or isolation means a pregnant woman is without access to support, the consequences can be grave, indeed. Read more...

Men, Step Up on Family Planning

By: Babatunde Osotimehin, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund; Originally posted on CNN Opinion

Our failure to give women in certain parts of the world the ability to decide the timing and number of their children is deeply damaging -- not just for the women themselves but for societies, too. Lifting the obstacles is not something that can be tackled half-heartedly.

Modern family planning programs were introduced widely in the developed world decades ago. Providing voluntary family planning is one of the most cost-effective ways of improving health. Yet, over 200 million women, overwhelmingly in the poorest countries, who want access to modern family planning still can't get this help. Read more...

The Power of Conditional Cash Transfers for Girls and Women

By: Svetha Janumpalli, New Incentives

New Incentives is one of the Women Deliver 25 finalists.

Manali is thirteen years old. She’d like to be a doctor when she grows up and loves science. She lives with her older brother and mother, and has access to a school.  They struggle to live on less than $1 a day. Manali’s dad abandoned the family and her mom has trouble earning enough money to support the three of them. Will Manali ever have the chance to pursue her dream?  Read more...

UNICEF: “Addressing Inequalities Is Not a Choice - It’s a Moral and Practical Necessity”

By: Shannon O'Shea and Richard Morgan; Originally posted on UNICEF.org

In his opening remarks at The Leadership Meeting on Addressing Inequalities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, held 18–19 February in Copenhagen, Denmark, Executive Director Anthony Lake spoke of the growing inequalities that are an impediment to sustainable and equitable growth.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 21 February 2013 – “[W]e should be asking not only what growth will do for equity…but also what equity will do for growth.” Read more...

Nepal: Chaupadi Culture and Violence Against Women

By: Allyn Gaestel; Originally posted on Pulitzer Center

Rabina Kumari Nepali clambered up the embankment, grasping strands of dried grass to hoist herself. She looked sheepishly over at me, as I walked up the pathway two feet to her left. “I can’t walk on the path,” she said. She gave wide berth to the front yard as she led us to a small hut. Across from the traditional two-story house, the squat mud-brick shelter sat on the edge of the stable yard crowded with buffalo. The wide, black animals stamped down slimy pools of excrement, hay and garbage; chickens clucked and foraged. Read more...

The Guardian Announces Development Award Winners

Last week, winners were announced for this year’s The Guardian's Development Achievement Award and the Development Journalism Competition, supported by Marie Stopes International. Dr. Kshama Metre, winner of the Achievement Award, Nele Mailin Obermueller, winner of the professional journalism category, and Lucy-Anne Mizen, winner of the amateur journalism category, were honored at an awards ceremony held at the Royal Academy of Art in London. Read more...

Young People Have the Power to Change the World

By: Babatunde Osotimehin; Originally posted on The Atlantic

... despite half of the world's youth living on less than two dollars a day.

A social media revolution is unfolding before our eyes, forever changing the way we connect. I see this whenever I travel; the young boys of Lagos preoccupied with their cell-phones; a young girl tweeting from a health-care clinic in Bogota; a young Liberian nurse taking notes on an iPad. I also see how my own children connect with friends on Facebook. Read more...

Additional Investments in Family Planning Would Save Developing Nations More Than $11 Billion a Year

Access to family planning is an essential human right that unlocks unprecedented rewards for economic development, says new UNFPA report

  • 222 million women in developing countries have an unmet need for family planning
  • Additional $4.1 billion in funding is needed to address current needs and those of the growing youth population

LONDON, 14 November 2012—Making voluntary family planning available to everyone in developing countries would reduce costs for maternal and newborn health care by $11.3 billion annually, according to The State of World Population 2012, published today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. Read more...

Op-Ed: A Girls’ Education - A Challenge of Global Proportions

By: Kay Bailey Hutchinson; Originally posted on San Antonio Express

Kay Bailey Hutchison is the senior U.S. senator from Texas.

Gunmen stormed a school bus earlier this month and shot a 14-year-old girl in the head. Her crime? Getting an education. This seems almost inconceivable to those of us blessed to live in America, but in some areas of the globe, girls must risk their lives to get a basic education. Malala Yousafzai became a prominent voice for girls' education in Pakistan after the Taliban seized control of her native Swat - once a tourist destination renowned for its scenery, culture and open-mindedness - and forced an end to education for women and girls. Read more...

The Critical Role of Women in Sustainable Development

By: Jill Sheffield, President, Women Deliver and Robert Engleman, President, Worldwatch Institute

Jill Sheffield and Robert Engelman will discuss the links between investing in women and achieving sustainability goals in “Women’s Health: A Missing Sustainability Issue?” on Friday, October 26 at the BSR Conference 2012.

In June 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, convened more than 100 heads of state to begin development of Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), which would reduce poverty while preserving the environment. Unfortunately, the conference missed a historic opportunity to affirm the critical link between investing in women and achieving sustainability goals. Read more...

Educating Girls Like Chrissie Can Save a Nation

By: Joyce Banda; Originally posted on CNN

Editor's note: Joyce Banda assumed the presidency of Malawi in April and is a member of the Aspen Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health.

When I was young, one of my best friends lived in my grandmother's village. I saw Chrissie every weekend as we made our way through childhood -- she in the village school and I in the town school. We finally came together as students in secondary school. Sadly, Chrissie studied with me for only one term, as her parents could not afford the school fee of $6. She returned to her village, married early and had more than a half-dozen children. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Securing Land Rights for Women’s Empowerment

By Yousra Yusuf, Women Deliver

Women operate the majority of small farms and contribute more than 75% of all agricultural work worldwide, yet few of them own the land they cultivate and depend upon to feed their families. Secure land and property rights support economic growth, reduce poverty and provide opportunities for empowerment. Land ownership also provides women with economic access to market institutions and social access to non-market institutions, such as household and community relations. Read more...

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