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Silent Support is Not Enough, Speakers Say

By Joanne Omang

Political decision-makers will not invest in women’s health needs until their constituents insist on it, participants at the Women Deliver 2010 were reminded today.

In small breakout discussions and plenary sessions, speaker after speaker said “only squeaky wheels get any grease,” as one observer summed up.

Opponents of women’s reproductive rights “have created a visible and vocal constituency that makes politicians afraid to act on our concerns,” noted IPAS executive vice president Anu Kumar in a session on dealing with unsafe abortion. “Vocal and visible leaders in a vocal and visible constituency are critical aspects of moving forward.”  more...

Women and Power

source: The Huffington Post

By Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

As Prime Minister of my country for nine years and the first woman to lead the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), I believe that achieving gender equality is not only morally right, but also catalytic to development as a whole, creating political, economic, and social opportunities for women which benefit individuals, communities, countries, and the world.

This strong belief underpins my contribution at the Women Deliver event in Washington, DC during a discussion on women and power with an impressive panel of powerful women, including the creator of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington; former Chilean Prime Minister Michelle Bachelet; actress Ashley Judd; and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to Barack Obama for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.

Women Deliver was launched in 2007, and works globally to focus attention on fulfilling what is called "Millennium Development Goal #5." This goal calls for a reduction in maternal mortality and universal access to reproductive health globally. more...

The Lancet Devotes Entire Themed Issue to Women Deliver

Large numbers of the public remain unaware of the health issues facing women and children. Women and girls make up 60% of the world’s poorest and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate. Yet with education and empowerment, they can lead healthy lives and lift themselves and their families out of poverty. To devise a plan to make women and children’s health more visible, we must listen harder to voices from those countries where most maternal and child death take place. Too often we ignore these voices. A themed issue of The Lancet covers a range of global issues on maternal, child, and newborn health.

Click here to read the entire issue and articles

Annie Lennox Appointed as International UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador

In her new role as International UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, Ms Lennox will be in Washington D.C. with Mr Sidibé, from the 7-9 of June to participate in the Women Deliver 2010 conference and 2010 Global Business Coalition conference. She will use these events to advocate for a global movement to focus on the HIV-specific needs of women and girls as well as to empower women and girls so that they can better protect themselves from HIV.

Originally posted at UNAIDS.

Geneva, 2 June 2010 – The world renowned Scottish singer songwriter and women’s activist Annie Lennox has been named as International Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). With an award winning career spanning several decades, Ms. Lennox is one of the world’s most outstanding musical voices. Now, she renews her commitment to speak out for women and girls affected by the HIV epidemic.

A New Role for Africans in Global Maternal Health

By Dr. Fred Sai, co-host of Women Deliver 2010 and former advisor to the Ghanaian government on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. You can follow the live stream of the Women Deliver 2010 conference from June 7th to 9th at www.womendeliver.org/webcast.

Originally posted at ONE blog.

This March, the Lancet released new statistics that revealed an unprecedented drop in the number of women who die every year during pregnancy and childbirth. The study found that from 1980 to 2008, maternal deaths globally have fallen from 500,000 each year to 340,000. Having spent some 40 years working on women and children’s health in Ghana and across Africa, I welcomed this progress. But as the world celebrated, I also couldn’t help but wonder, “Where is Africa?”

A Message from Sarah Brown, Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance

By: Sarah Brown, Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance

As you meet in Washington DC this week, there are some very encouraging signs of progress on maternal health which we all want to improve further. The issue is on the international political agenda as never before; new global figures suggest maternal mortality rates are coming down in some places, and we have seen in recent years how the movement for change is rapidly growing around the world. There are today many thousands of White Ribbon Alliance members now in 150 countries around the world uniting to press for change and holding leaders to account for their promises.

Collecting Stories of Mothers and Babies Saved

At the Women Deliver 2010 conference, White Ribbon Alliance along with UNFPA will be debuting a multimedia exhibition called, "Stories of Mothers Saved." To celebrate the exhibit, they are hosting a countdown to Women Deliver with blog posts from people all over the world who have contributed to their multimedia exhibition. These blog posts include, Francois Zoungrana from Burkina Faso, Jameel Aldrbashi from Palestine, Smita Maniar from India, and Ahsan Mehboob from Pakistan.

Restrictive Abortion Laws Account for Maternal Deaths

New York – Increased contraceptive use has led to fewer abortions worldwide, but deaths from unsafe abortion remain a severe problem, killing 70,000 women a year, according to a major global survey from the Guttmacher Institute.

Thousands of Indian Women Dying in Childbirth

Lucknow, India - Tens of thousands of Indian women and girls are dying during pregnancy and childbirth, despite government programs guaranteeing free obstetric health care, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a newly released report.

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