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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...

Jill Sheffield To Speak at the 8th Annual Family of Woman Film Festival

On February 24th, Women Deliver Founder & President, Jill Sheffield will be a featured speaker at the Family of Woman Film Festival’s Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture on the Health and Dignity of Women. The festival was founded by Peggy Elliot Goldwyn in 2008 to bring attention to the issues confronting women and girls around the world – issues that are at the heart of Women Deliver’s mission. Read more...

Ending Child Marriage in Malawi: A Roadmap to Sustainable Change

By: Emily Teistworth, Director of Programs, Let Girls Lead; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Malawi outlawed child marriage last week. Following more than five years of undaunted advocacy by Malawian girls, their allies and civil society leaders, the country's Parliament tabled and passed the "Marriage, Divorce, and Family Relations Bill," increasing the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years. This legal victory is a huge step forward for girls' and women's rights globally. The fact that it has been a painfully slow step merely serves to underscore its vital importance. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: 2015, a New Year, New Resolutions, Important Remembrances

By: Melissa Hattab, Women Deliver

As we enter the New Year with good intentions, new resolutions, and re-commitments to issues that matter to us, we must resolve to keep in our collective memory the girls and women who have been lost in an effort to silence or end their human rights activism.

We at Women Deliver bring to your attention the powerful tribute to Feminists and Women Human Rights Defenders who have passed away created by the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) as part of the 16 Days Campaign Against Gender Based Violence (November 25 – December 10, 2014). Read more...

Measuring Progress, Planning for Success: A Look Back at 2014

2014 was, in many ways, a good year for those advocating for the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women. We saw continued momentum to ensure girls and women are prioritized in the post-2015 agenda, and an inclusion of human rights and involvement of young people included in the report on the Sustainable Development Goals. However, we also saw opponents chipping away on sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world, and it is clear that there is still much work to be done.

In May 2016, we will have an opportunity to further develop our strategies to face the challenges that remain for girls and women around the world at the Women Deliver 2016 Conference in Copenhagen. As we plan for the future, let us take a moment reflect on the many accomplishments and hard work that’s occurred over the past twelve months: Read more...

The Gift That Keeps Giving and Benefits Us All

By: Jill Sheffield and Katja Iversen, Women Deliver

The holidays are upon us, and with that an opportune time to reflect on what we have, what we want, what has happened over the past year, and what will come in the next.

2014 was, in many ways, a good year for those advocating for the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women. We saw more women gaining access to contraception, a continued momentum to ensure girls and women are prioritized in the post-2015 agenda, and an inclusion of human rights and involvement of young people included in the Secretary General’s draft synthesis report on the Sustainable Development Goals. However, we also saw conservative forces chipping away on sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world, and it is clear that there is still much work to be done. Read more...

Women Deliver Responds to UN Secretary-General Report on Next Development Agenda

Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon released his synthesis report on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the road ahead for development efforts in the post-2015 era. We, at Women Deliver, welcome this report and its call to action to leave no one behind.

We are pleased to see that human rights and health for all people – regardless of gender, age or nationality – will form the foundation of the next development agenda. And we are particularly encouraged that the report specifically recognizes the critical importance of improving women’s health and rights – as well as the rights and involvement of young people, who are rightly called the “torch bearers of the next sustainable development agenda through 2030.” Read more...

Raising Youth Voices to Stop Child Marriage and Dowry in Bangladesh

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: SM Shaikat, SERAC-Bangladesh

The title of my project - “Jagoroni” - means rising. This rising is to prevent two major disparities and human rights violations in Bangladesh society - child marriage and dowry. The plan was to engage youth to lead this rising, and Women Deliver’s C Exchange Youth Initiative became our opportunity to start.

I wanted to train young people so they could become change agents in their communities and, as a group, these volunteers were named as “Jagori,” meaning wakeful. The project was aimed to develop a watchdog group of young people that will be on the lookout for dowry violence and child marriage issues in Mymensingh, the district that has the highest rate of dowry cases in Bangladesh. Read more...

Ramping Up Production: Providing Contraception to Millions More Girls and Women in Africa and Asia

By: Katja Iversen, CEO, Women Deliver

Last week I saw a good example of what it means to “walk the talk” - taking commitments made in big meetings and turning them into action that will potentially benefit millions of girls and women around the world. I participated in the unveiling of a new state-of-the-art production plant in Oss, Netherlands, that will provide 10 million contraceptive implants annually destined for use in developing countries in Asia and Africa. Read more...

Working Hard to Get the World We Want: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights After 2015

By: Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver

Imagine a world where no woman dies giving life, where unwanted pregnancies are a thing of the past, where every girl is able to attend school and receive a quality education, and where everybody – including girls and women – can exercise their rights and have the opportunity to fulfill their potential. That world is within reach, and the time to fight for it is now.

For those who care about maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights – whether advocates, activists, private sector representatives, or policy-makers – we’re approaching a very crucial time in a process that will affect girls and women around the world for decades to come. It’s time to take a deep breath, and to come together for a next-to-final push through this last mile. Read more...

Q&A with Katja Iversen About Her Vision for the Future

In this Q&A, Women Deliver’s new CEO Katja Iversen shares her motivations for becoming an advocate for girls’ and women’s health and rights; discusses lessons she has learned in her career; offers advice for emerging advocates; and describes her vision for the future for girls and women around the world.

Q: What first inspired you to become a maternal and reproductive health advocate?

I’m proud to say it was my grandmother. Back in the 1930s she – in her own quiet and behind-the-scenes way – fought fiercely for girls’ and women’s reproductive rights in Denmark, where I am from. At the time, only married women could get access to modern contraceptives.  She and my granddad lived together without being married, and she worked seven days a week to get him through college, so getting pregnant just wasn’t an option. Even when she got married and had kids, she kept up the fight for all women’s reproductive rights – because it was just the right thing to do. Read more...

The Power of Peer-Education in Preventing HIV/AIDS among Female Sex Workers

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Chukwudera Bridget Okeke, Concern Women International Development Initiative (Nigeria)

My project in Nigeria’s Benue State aims to make real change in the lives of female sex workers (FSW) and their clients by enhancing their knowledge of HIV/AIDS and empowering them to negotiate safer sex with their clients. In Benue State, female workers account for just 1% of the population but make up 23% of new HIV infections. I strongly believe that knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights, including HIV/AIDS, among female sex workers will go a long way in creating positive behavior change and, in turn, will reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. Read more...

Adolescent and Youth Motherhood: What Do Comprehensive SRH Policies Look Like?

These seed grants were funded by Johnson & Johnson and WomanCare Global via the Women Deliver C Exchange Youth Initiative.

By: Cecilia Garcia Ruiz, Espolea (Mexico)

 

Advocating for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people entails much more than giving visibility to what happens when rights are restrained or denied. This endeavor requires a deep understanding of the specific needs that young people have in this regard - usually linked to individual and collective diversities - as well as of the different barriers we might encounter along the way. 

The family planning strategies implemented around the world in the last couple of decades have proven their effectiveness but not necessarily amongst the youngest population. The State of World Population1 released in 2013, revels a startling reality: 7.3 million births occur among girls under 18 every year in developing countries. Among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes a number of middle-income countries, Mexico has the highest birth rate (64.2 per 1,000 births) among adolescents between 15 and 192. Read more...

45 Percent Fewer Women Die Giving Life—More Would Survive If They Counted

Women Deliver welcomes two new studies that highlight reductions in maternal mortality and the causes behind those deaths, but calls for further improvements in overall data collection for girls and women

6 May 2014 – The number of women dying due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth has declined by 45 percent, from 523,000 in 1990 to an estimated 289,000 in 2013, according to a new study, Trends in Maternal Mortality Estimates 1990-2013, released today by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), The World Bank and the United Nations Population Division.

The progress is noteworthy, but the decline is less than what is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75 percent between 1990 and 2015. 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...

Press Release: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are Crucial to Ending Poverty

Originally posted by IPPF

United Nations, New York: A new report launched today reveals that sexual and reproductive health and rights are still nowhere near high enough up on the UN’s list of priorities. The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) “Sexual and reproductive health and rights: a crucial agenda for the post-2015 framework” report, unveiled on the first day of the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), argues if Member States and the UN fail to prioritize women and girls, or sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), then the next development framework cannot hope to end poverty. Read more...

International Women’s Day: Give Yourself the Chance to Be Extraordinary

By Saundra Pelletier; Originally posted by Huffington Post

Saundra Pelletier is the CEO of WomanCare Global, an international nonprofit organization that improves the lives of women by providing access to quality, affordable women’s healthcare products through a sustainable supply chain.

As I think about International Women's Day on March 8th, it reminds me that throughout my life I have been groomed by a series of extraordinary women who have always encouraged me to be an advocate for women who need a louder voice. I grew up in Caribou, Maine, a small town distinguished only because it is the Northern-most city in the United States. Women in this farming community were told they had only two important choices in life: whom they would marry and how many children they would bear. My mother felt oppressed by this mentality, so when I was 5 years old she told me, "Domestic skills won't get you out of Caribou, so you leave those to me and I'll teach you what's really important."

Instead of dusting and cooking, my household tasks included balancing the checkbook, educating my younger brother and organizing family activities. My mother's reluctance to raise another Betty Crocker became blatantly obvious when I started kindergarten and she sent me to school with a briefcase instead of a lunchbox. According to her, school was not about what your lunch looked like, it was about progress. Read more...

Women Deliver Young Leader Esther Agbarakwe Nominated for Award

Esther Agbarakwe, one of the 2010 Women Deliver Young Leaders and a speaker at the 2013 Women Deliver global conference has been nominated for the Vlisco Women’s Month Award for her outstanding work as an exceptional climate change policy expert and advocate for the rights of women and girls in Nigeria.The Vlisco Women’s Month Awards celebrate inspiring women in West and Central Africa annually during the month of March. This year’s theme is Dare to Dream: A tribute to women who have faith and courage to realize their dreams.Read more...

Former Women Deliver Co-Chair Appointed to Tanzania Cabinet

This week, the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, announced the appointment of Saada Mkuya as Finance Minister and Asha-rose Migiro as Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs. These appointments of two women to powerful government positions are seen as part of an ongoing effort to promote gender equality within Tanzania. Migiro was named Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006, making her the first woman in Tanzania to hold this position. Read more...

The Most Inspiring Women and Girls I Met This Year

By: Melinda Gates, Originally posted by Impatient Optimists

Nargis Shirazi, featured in the article below, is one of Women Deliver's 100 Young Leaders selected to attend the Women Deliver 2013 Conference.  
 
One of the things I love about my job is the women and girls I meet as I travel around the world and around the country — from high-ranking government officials to mothers in remote villages in northern India to high school teachers in the Bronx. I'm struck by the common goals and aspirations that they share. They want to create a better future for themselves, their children, and their families. They want to improve their own communities, and also aspire to create change at a national and global scale. Read more...

 

 

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