Representatives of almost 50 governments from all continents and hundreds of parliamentarians, international organisations and civil society participants gathered in Brussels to express their support for women’s rights during the She Decides conference. The Conference raised a total of €181 million for the ‘She Decides’ Global Fundraising Initiative that seeks to fill the funding gap for sexual and reproductive health and rights created by the Global Gag Rule. The Conference was co-organised by Alexander De Croo and his Dutch, Swedish and Danish colleagues.
‘She Decides’ seeks to unite everyone who shares the belief that women and girls should have the fundamental right to decide freely and for themselves whether, when and how many children they have. She Decides started in response to the U.S. President’s reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy or Global Gag Rule, banning financial support to foreign organisations that provide information about, or access to, safe abortion. The broad moral and political support expressed by all participants at the She Decides Conference is the start of a global partnership for women’s rights. The financial support from governments and private foundations will be instrumental in making these rights a reality for millions of women and girls around the world.
Only the beginning
“Today’s Brussels International Conference is a promising start for the global movement in favour of women’s rights that She Decides aims to be,” says Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation of Belgium . “When I launched the idea of meeting here in Brussels four weeks ago, I had never hoped so many would come to voice their support. The broad backing of She Decides will give millions of girls and women fighting their rights around the world a lift. And this is only the beginning.” The Minister took a clear stance saying that “the ideological decision of one country should not push millions of girls and women back into the dark ages”. The Minister and other panellists reminded the necessity of investing in SRHR to realise equality for women and girls and to eradicate poverty, the ultimate objective of the 2030 Agenda.
Future of She Decides
She Decides is not merely a crowdfunding initiative or International Conference but a global movement that will continue to rally political and financial support for women’s and girl’s sexual and reproductive health and rights against the background of rising populism, a misogynistic culture and the absence of American leadership in promoting women’s rights and family planning worldwide.