She Decides’ rallies support from more than 45 countries and raises 181 million euros

Brussels, March 2nd, 2017 – More than 45 government representatives of all continents and 400 parliamentarians and civil society participants gathered in Brussels today to express their support for women’s rights. They raised in total 181 million euros for the Global Fundraising Initiative ‘She Decides’. The Brussels International Conference was co-organized by Alexander De Croo, Lilianne Ploumen, Isabella Lövin and Ulla Tørnæs, Ministers for Development Cooperation of respectively Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.

The Brussels’ conference focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and in particular family planning, as the foundation for gender equality, women’s empowerment and economic development for both men and women, wherever and whoever they are.

Women from Pakistan, Colombia and Mali explained what it means not to have access to reproductive health care. The Ministers for Health of Chad and Ethiopia talked about the challenges in their countries. UN organizations, NGO’s and research institutes set out how their work impacts women’s lives and how it contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals which the world has agreed on for 2030.

First step
She Decides aims to bring about a movement that includes everyone who shares these beliefs and values. The broad moral and political support expressed by all participants today is the start of this global partnership for women’s rights.

The financial support from governments and private foundations and the contributions of the private sector will be instrumental in making these rights a reality for millions of women and girls around the world.

Uplifting millions of women
“Today’s Brussels International Conference is a promising start for the global movement in favor of women’s rights that She Decides aims to be,” said Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation of Belgium. “When I launched the idea of gathering in Brussels four weeks ago, I never had hoped so many would come to voice their support. The broad backing of She Decides will uplift millions of girls and women fighting their rights around the world. And this is only the beginning.”

“I am deeply moved by the support voiced by so many countries, organizations and individuals for She Decides. It is a very powerful signal to the rest of the world that the fundamental right of women and girls to decide over their own lives must be respected. We will accept nothing less and we will continue to fight to make this right a reality all over the world,” declared Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands.

”I warmly welcome the broad support for sexual and reproductive health and rights and the She Decides initiative that today’s conference shows”, says Ulla Tørnæs minister for development cooperation of Denmark. “Millions of the most vulnerable women in the world are at risk of losing access to contraception, information and health services. Therefore, the broad support shown today will change lives and lift the fight for women’s rights all over the world. When we invest in women, everybody wins. It is without a doubt that we cannot reach the Sustainable Development Goals without active participation of women. Therefore, investing in women’s rights is not only the right thing to do, it’s a rational thing to do”.

“No country can rise out of poverty if there is no access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. There can be no true democracy if women cannot enjoy full human rights”, said Isabella Lövin Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate. “Today is the beginning of a progressive alliance for women’s rights. We send a strong message that we must not back down on the progress made during the last decades.”


Joint Statement of Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden co-organizers Brussels International Conference ‘She Decides’

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