Celebrate Solutions: Survivors of Gender Violence Turn Pain into Power at the Congo’s City of Joy

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern cityofjoy.jpg

Sometimes called the most dangerous place in the world for women, the Democratic Republic of Congo last month was the location of an extraordinary display of hope and courage by survivors of sexual violence. On Feb. 4, the doors opened to the City of Joy—a revolutionary community for survivors of sexual violence and rape that offers Congolese women shelter from war and a safe space to heal, rebuild, and reclaim their lives and communities. Read more...

Top Myths About Women Busted: “Women Can’t Lead”

By: Janna Oberdorf, Director of Communications and Outreach for Women Deliver, and Mariko Rasmussen, Communications Specialist

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. When we think about how far women have come in the past 50 years, let alone the last 100, we are amazed at the power of women to make a better future for themselves. But, our work isn’t over yet – we have to keep fighting and keep pushing to reach full gender equality and equity.

To both celebrate how far we’ve come, and the even greater potential for the future, CARE is chronicling the advances and struggles of women by releasing the “Top 10 Myths about Women.” For each myth, CARE will take a look back and honor a “myth-buster” who did something remarkable to dispel that particular piece of female folklore during the last 100 years. Each myth also will come with a second “myth-buster,” someone who is positioned to lead the way in disproving the myth in the future. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Driven to Deliver Maternal Care to Bolivia’s Hardest-to-Reach Women

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern
Nearly a decade after being launched, a program that sends mobile health units down some of Bolivia’s most remote roads is continuing to deliver much-needed basic reproductive and maternal health care to thousands of indigenous girls and women. Because most indigenous girls and women are unable to travel to cities to receive the reproductive care they need, the International Planned Parenthood Federation—Western Hemisphere and Bolivia-based Center for Investigative and Educational Services’ (CIES) Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic use these mobile health units to bring maternal health care to women who are the hardest to reach. Read more...

UN Women Celebrates Launch

bacheletunwomen.jpgOn 24 February 2011, the United Nations’ celebrated the historic launch of UN Women, its newest organization, with a full evening of remarks, music, and film in the United Nations General Assembly Hall. UN Women, formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, builds on a strong foundation by merging four previous UN agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW). Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Midwives Services Scheme, Nigeria

By: Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver  

nigerian_mother.jpgBordered by Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and the Gulf of Guinea, the West African country of Nigeria is the eighth most populous country in the world with a soaring maternal mortality rate.  As of 2008, the average maternal mortality rate was 840 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and up to 1,549 deaths per 100,000 live births in rural areas. These statistics gave the Nigerian government a stern wakeup call: too many women were dying during pregnancy and childbirth with a weak healthcare workforce to support them. In 2009, the Nigerian National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) took action to expand women’s access to skilled health care workers in rural and suburban regions with the Midwives Services Scheme (MSS). Read more...

Upcoming Publication: The State of the World’s Midwifery

The role of skilled birth attendants, in particular midwives and others with midwifery competencies, is widely acknowledged as being crucial to addressing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity, and to promoting women’s and children’s health. An upcoming publication entitled The State of the World’s Midwifery, from UNFPA and a coalition of partners, will take stock of recent analyses showing that both midwifery personnel and services are unequally distributed - both between and within countries.

An Interview with Mary Robinson: The Elders and Global Changemakers

In the January 2011 issue of Impact Magazine, former president of Ireland and human rights activist Mary Robinson is interviewed by Heather Kitt, a medical student and Global Changemaker. Click through to read an excerpt of the interview.

Giving Life, Saving Lives

By: Randy Hecht; originally posted on Healthymagination

In the United States, 24 in 100,000 women die in childbirth. But in developing countries, the number skyrockets: 1200 in 100,000 women in both Chad and Somalia; 1400 in 100,000 women in Afghanistan. Most of these deaths are preventable. Most of these mothers can be saved. Read more...

Put CEDAW on the US Agenda: The Call to US Senators

By Madeline Taskier, Partnership Coordinator at Women Deliver

Yesterday, a line wrapped around the Dirksen Senate Office hallway as women’s groups, members of the press, and lobbyists gathered to attend the CEDAW ratification hearing hosted by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) presided over the hearing as six witnesses took the podium and argued for the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). 

A Life Changing Birth Experience: My New Normal

Jessica Valenti shares her personal experience with birth complications and how it changed her life. Click through to read her full blog post.

By: Jessica Valenti, author and founder of; originally posted on her website 

As you may already know, I had a baby – a daughter named Layla Sorella Valenti-Golis. That’s the good (nay, wonderful!) news. The bad news is that she was born way too early; I developed severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome and had to deliver Layla when I was 29 weeks pregnant.

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) Awarded for Humanitarian Design

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) has been awarded the 2010 Curry Stone Design Prize for development of a locally produced and distributed sanitary pad that enhances women’s dignity and allows better access to education and occupation. In numerous developing countries, the stigma of menstruation is exacerbated by the lack of adequate, affordable sanitary devices, often keeping girls and women away from school and work for days or even weeks during a year. SHE’s goal is to tackle this taboo in a multi-faceted, “quilt-like” approach involving advocacy and education, as well as the promotion of a local business model based on the sustainably designed pad.

Maternal Mortality: A Report on Investing in Girls and Women

Women Deliver's president and CEO, Jill Sheffield, was interviewed for a report on investing in girls and women. The article asks the question: What will it take to reduce global maternal mortality? Answer: We need an international commitment to give women access to the services and care they need. Read the full report.

The Girl Effect: The Clock is Ticking tells the story of girls creating a ripple impact of social and economic change on their families, communities and nations. Launched a few years ago, this compelling video showed the world the power of investing in girls. Last week, at the Clinton Global Initiative, the Girl Effect launched a new video that builds on the original message, and discusses important issues like child marriage and early pregnancy for adolescent girls.

Key Leaders at UN MDG Summit Commit to Investing in Women

During the Sunday UNGASS official side event, “Accelerating Action on the MDGs,” delegates were encouraged to focus on commitments to the MDGs and the synergies enhanced by collaboration, networking and funding. Dr. Fred Sai, honorary co-chair of the Women Deliver 2010 conference asked the delegates to allocate “at least 30 seconds of their five minute speeches at the UNGASS to focus on your commitment to women.” Click through to read some highlights from the country statements...

Former Chilean President Bachelet to Head New UN Women’s Agency

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head United Nations Women (UN Women), a newly created entity to oversee all of the world body’s programs aimed at promoting women’s rights and full participation in global affairs.

Unmarried Young Indian Women Face Obstacles To Obtaining Early Abortions

A new study released by the Population Council, New Delhi shows that young, unmarried women in India encounter barriers to obtaining an abortion procedure early in their pregnancies.  The study took place in Jharkand and Bihar, surveying 549 unmarried women who had an abortion between 2007 and 2008.   Delayed recognition of pregnancy, lack of awareness that abortion is legal for unmarried women, and lack of support from partners were cited as factors that contributed to women accessing abortions later in their pregnancies. 

The researchers believe these findings emphasize the need for increased sex education programs for unmarried young women in a variety of forums.  Improved programs should work to bolster communication about sexual health between young women and their family members, especially their parents.  These programs should not only include information about reproductive physiology, but also information on access and legal rights to abortion. 

Women Deliver and Partners Plan to Urge UN Delegates to Accelerate Action on the MDGs

Driving forward the momentum gathered from a successful second global conference, Women Deliver is organizing a side event, “Accelerating Action on the MDGs: Delivering for Girls, Women and Babies”, for delegates to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). On Sunday, September 19th from 9:30-11:30am, a day before the Special Session begins, UN member country delegates, NGOs, corporations, donors, UN agencies, youth leaders and media will gather in New York City to discuss progress made on the Millennium Development Goals as well as concrete steps to be taken. Read more...

ICRW Releases 2nd Report in Girls Count Series, Girls Speak: A New Voice in Global Development

ICRW recently released 2nd report in the Girls Count series, “Girls Speak: A New Voice in Global Development,” shows that girls’ insights in development increase impact and effectiveness. The report draws together girls’ voices and makes them accessible to policymakers and program managers. The United Nations Foundation and the Nike Foundation funded the report. 

Statement from the First Ladies of Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Zanzibar

Hello. We are the first ladies of Ghana, Sierra Leone and Zanzibar and are honored to stand before you today. We believe that the first human right is the right to safe and healthy lives. Maternal mortality denies women prematurely that right and the rate of maternal deaths speaks loudly about the health status of a country. The problems women share recognize no borders. Read more...

Parliamentarians at Women Deliver 2010 Commit to Turning Dialogue Into Action

“The biggest enemy of women’s health and rights is political indifference”, Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver remarked during the opening plenary session. The Parliamentarians’ Forum on “Delivering Solutions, Delivering Resources, Delivering Leadership: The Role of Parliamentarians in advancing Maternal Health” was dedicated to prevent just that and discussed the way forward to achieve MDG 5 in the remaining five years from a Parliamentarians’ angle.

The Parliamentarians’ Forum culminated in a Parliamentarians’ Statement. Amongst others, Parliamentarians called for additional US $12 billion a year to be invested in women and girls and  to actively work towards the establishment of a global funding mechanism for family planning, mothers and children with other international donors. The statement urges Ministers to establish realistic and verifiable annual action plans for reaching individual MDG targets with a special emphasis on MDG 5 (a and b) to be presented at the UN High Level Meeting on the MDGs and commit to take a leading role in communicating the societal, economic, political and cultural benefits of investing in women and girls to key stakeholders. The full statement is attached.

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