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ONE YEAR ON AND FIGHTING FOR OUR FUTURES 

She Decides are two simple words. Simple words, yes – and brave words. One year ago today, politicians stood up and spoke out against unjust policies by one government that threated to cause massive harm and death, attacking the rights of girls and women everywhere. SheDecides is now a rallying cry – two simple words that fight for the rights and futures of women and girls all over the world. SheDecides is your movement – it exists because of the power, passion and perseverance you have demonstrated over this past year. Our special anniversary newsletter calls on all Friends of SheDecides to take action, to push for the future we want to see.

ONE YEAR ON: Unprecedented impact of Global Gag Rule emerges

SheDecides movement was sparked by the re-introduction and expansion of damaging policies, in particular the Global Gag Rule. The impact of the Global Gag Rule is starting to be felt at full force around the globe, and especially in Africa, a new Devex article has revealed. Featuring strong links to SheDecides, including coverage of the impact on MSI and IPPF, whose leaders — Simon Cooke and Alvaro Bermejo — serve as SheDecides Champions, the report uncovers some of the disturbing and growing impacts. Devex shows that this expanded policy affects the lives of women and girls in many countries, as organisations start to lose funding and others re-orient services away from women’s needs and rights. Devex also shows how the SheDecides movement has elicited a “broad global response,” with many donors “stepping up to the plate” to fill some funding gaps.

[Photo by: Sheena Ariyapala / U.K. Department for International Development / CC BY-NC-SA]
While the funding replacement has allowed for some services to remain open for a few organisations, John Lotspeich, Director of Partnerships and Resource Mobilization at MSI underpinned the importance of diversifying “how we fund ourselves…so as not to be vulnerable to another seismic funding shift like this.” And as Rosemary Gillespie, Interim Director General of IPPF says, “the human cost — people not being able to make choices about their lives — is beyond figures,” Read the article here
ONE YEAR ON: The Women's March
On 20 January 2018, thousands of women and men across the world returned to the streets for the anniversary of the Women’s March first held last year on the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. They poured out their anger and energy against a world where their rights are being disregarded. This year over 300,000 women marched in Los Angeles, 100,000 in New York, another 100,000 in London and several hundred thousand more around the world in cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The key message was clear: ‘Time is up’ they chanted, calling for women’s rights to be respected, with reproductive justice and the right to decide about our bodies firmly at the centre. It is amazing to watch the level of energy and determination and the birth of strong movements, and also to witness how these conversations are now taking place in mainstream media. Political leadership and social momentum are coming together like never before. Together we stand strong and create a world where SheDecides.
 

FIGHTING FOR OUR FUTURES: Champion Spotlight

Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and International Cooperation for the Netherlands

 "Raised a feminist, I will always remain a feminist."

The new Dutch minister for Foreign Trade and International Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, explains why she is so committed to SheDecides.  “I salute the leadership of my predecessor, Lilianne Ploumen, and other Champions who responded at the right moment in the right way. If you don’t have the choice to determine how you will live with your body, how many children you want, IF you want children, then you are fundamentally hampered…. Too many girls and women are placed in a position of limited choice… I was raised a feminist and will always remain a feminist.”

These rights are at the core of an equitable, fair society and they are essential for reaching the SDG’s. Minister Kaag says: “Of course the Dutch government will continue to finance SheDecides, but I want to stress that it is not just about money. It is awareness, it is politics and it is the politics of change that need to be sustained.  We need to galvanise this movement and make it strong.”  Read the full interview here.

 
Become a Friend of SheDecides. Sign the Manifesto

Becoming a Friend of SheDecides by signing the Manifesto places you at the heart of our goal— to promote, provide, protect and enhance the fundamental human rights of every girl and woman to decide. As a friend, you sign the manifesto to commit that you will bring your personal energy to this movement— your drive, your anger and your influence as an individual citizen. Together we stand up, speak out and drive change to create a new normal: where every girl and every woman can decide what happens to her body.

ONE YEAR ON: Unlocking Resources so SheDecides.

Today, exactly a year after SheDecides was founded by Dutch MP Lilianne Ploumen (at that time the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation), Dutch organisation Rutgers has awarded the public donations raised for SheDecides to health workers in Kenya.

In 2017, private individuals and small foundations donated 500,000 euro via the Rutgers crowdfunding portal. This money has now been allocated to the Reproductive Health Network Kenya. The network works towards reducing maternal mortality and morbidity caused by unsafe abortion. Thanks to this contribution, the organisation will help 25,000 girls and women annually for two years. Unlocking resources is essential to ensuring we create a world where SheDecides, without question. SheDecides calls on all Friends to Unlock the Resources needed, as well as to Change the Rules, and Stand Up, Speak Out.

Access the press release here

FIGHTING FOR OUR FUTURES: SheDecides Day, 2 March - a day of energy, anger and action
The first ever SheDecides Day happens on 2 March 2018. SheDecides Day is the perfect time to Stand Up and Speak Out. We have seen a great deal of progress this year. The ground is shifting, the narrative is changing – and we must continue to push, to inspire, to act, to grow the movement so all women and girls, every where can decide. Without question. We are calling on all Champions, Friends and Friends of Friends to Stand up, to Speak out, to Change the Rules, Unlock Resources and to take all the action needed to promote a ‘new normal’ where SheDecides – every day, everywhere. Resources and information to help you plan your events will available on the SheDecides website soon.

[Click image to watch video]
Already plans are forming for exciting events and gatherings in various locations around the globe: in Brussels, Delhi, Kolkota, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manila, Mumbai, Pretoria, Senegal, Washington DC, New York. In India, the first ever national SheDecides movement will launch with events taking place across the country to mark SheDecides Week: 1 – 8 March. SheDecides Day is a time to Stand Up, Speak Out and take action. Champions and Friends will come together to challenge anyone and anything that denies women and girls the basic human rights to make decisions about their bodies, that are theirs, and theirs alone to make.

SheDecides Champions – led by Minister Motsoaledi from South Africa, and Minister Tornaes from Denmark, are hosting a flagship event for SheDecides Day in Pretoria, South Africa on 1 March 2018, with support from UNFPA. The two Governments are committed to expanding and deepening the reach of SheDecides movement in the East and Southern Africa region. And they are focusing especially on bringing together youth leaders and Parliamentarians to grow the energy for sustainable change. As a political movement, with community support, Champions want to be sure that in this region the change makers, voters and legislators of the future come on board with the SheDecides vision.

The day after the flagship event – on 2 March - there will be a closed meeting for the SheDecides Global Champions. This will be just the second time the Champions have met to talk strategy, and to agree how the movement is governed.  All Global Champions have been invited to this closed door discussion. Some Ministers, who are hosting SheDecides events elsewhere, will be represented by an official from their support teams. Any other Champions who cannot attend may send a representative to observe discussions.
SheDecides is your movement – it exists because of the power, passion and perseverance you have demonstrated over this past year. SheDecides Day is an opportunity to highlight, leverage and catapult your activities to even greater heights to achieve further results for women and girls.

On 2 March 2017, at the SheDecides conference in Brussels, global leaders banded together to defend girls’ and women's’ rights to decide what they do with their bodies – and their lives. One year on, we invite everyone to organise, and get involved in a multitude of events of different sizes and formats. These will take place all over the world – in parliaments, conference halls, student unions, art galleries, private homes. Wherever people gather to affirm their continued passion for – and commitment to uphold – these fundamental rights of girls and women to decide about their bodies.
 
FIGHTING FOR OUR FUTURES: Win Female Condoms!
SheDecides … for pleasure: WIN a year’s worth of female condoms on SheDecides Day! The Female Health Company are giving away 12 months’ worth of FC2 female condoms to five lucky winners on 2 March 2018. Just answer the question: What does the female condom mean to you? Does it make you feel more empowered? Has it allowed you to get more intimate with your partner because it creates more pleasure? Did it help your community cut the risks of HIV, STIs and unintended pregnancies? Share your story through an essay, photojournal, poem, video or whatever you see fit – the more creative, the better! Mail them to Info@Fc2femalecondom.com by 23 February 2018. The five most inspiring stories will be announced on  2 March 2018, and all five will take home this amazing prize.

The Female Health Company were the first company in the world to make available the female condom – which is the only triple protection device that protects women and their sexual partners from HIV, STIs and unplanned pregnancies, ensuring a woman can decide to plan her life as she sees fit.
More info here.
 
More info about SheDecides here
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