The Netherlands Mission in Geneva SheDecides Day event

Posted by Maria Codina on March 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm

On the second of March, it was one year after the launch of She Decides by Lilianne Ploumen. Therefore the Dutch mission hosted an event to celebrate International She Decides Day in Geneva.

What is She Decides?

She Decides was launched as a response to the reinstatement and expansion of the Global Gag Rule in January 2017. The Global Gag Rule prevents NGOs outside the US from receiving money from the US government if they provide family planning programs. These programs offer a broad range of services: sexual education, birth control, maternal care and safe abortion for women who are forced to undergo the procedure. Since the day She Decides was launched, it has evolved very quickly into a global, political movement with community support. Currently 40 000 people have signed the manifesto since the beginning. All regions and continents of the world are represented. 36 global champions, again from all over the world, are involved; from of ministers, youth leaders, to heads of NGOs.

But, if she decides, can she follow up on her decision? Do women have the access to the healthcare and medicines they need?

Even though She Decides was launched to advocate for sexual health and reproductive rights (SRHR), in our event light was also shed on access to medicines and care for women.

Men and women differ from each other anatomically, and also in how they process medicines. Therefore and in general, it is important to always include women in drug research. This is not always done accordingly since women tend to be a more difficult group than (young and healthy) men due to hormonal changes, for instance during menstruation and pregnancy. Within the medical world there is still a lot to win by bridging existing gender (information) gap in health.

We also discussed specific medicines and care for women: ‘better access to medicines for SRHR’. How come we are still taking one pill a day since 40 years as a method of family planning? R&D in medicine and care for women can use a boost? When looking at SRHR, family planning is crucial to women’s health and it contributes to empowerment, and is a key factor in reducing poverty. Different groups of women, however, don’t have equal access to these required health products and medicines. Think of the sigle mother, or rural women, or women living with hiv/aids facing stigma and discrimination. There are large health differences within countries, which are related to income and social economic status and access to contraceptives and safe abortion as last resort.

It is important to keep the She Decides movement going to fight these health inequities and provide proper care for women all around the world. We need to continue filling the funding gap, because no woman or girl can be left behind if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Let this year be a renewal of our commitment to enable women to decide themselves all over the world.

What can you concretely do?

Sign the manifesto here:

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