Every year on March 8, Marie Stopes International (MSI) joins the global community to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD). IWD marks the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women around the world.
In honor of IWD’s 2017 theme, #BeBoldForChange, MSI-US is honoring the nearly 50 governments and philanthropists who came together at the She Decides conference last week following the US administration’s decision to re-impose the Mexico City Policy.
The meeting was convened in Brussels, where together, more than $190 million was pledged, sending a bold message that the fundamental right of women and girls to make decisions about their own lives must be respected.
Pledges included $20 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $50m from an anonymous U.S. donor and two that will directly fund Marie Stopes International’s work:
- $10 million from the founder of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Sir Chris Hohn
- $4 million from the Canadian government.
Speaking at the conference, Marie Stopes International’s chief executive Simon Cooke said:
"We are incredibly grateful for the generosity and leadership of all the governments involved in She Decides and would like to thank them for stepping up and helping to protect vital services for the world’s most vulnerable women and girls.
"The lives and health of millions of women hangs in the balance as a result of the Mexico City Policy, but this conference and the commitments made gives us hope that their rights, including access to safe and legal abortion, will remain high on the international agenda.”
He added: "Refusal to acknowledge abortion does not mean it’s not there. At Marie Stopes International we refuse to look away."
We commend Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, for initiating this bold response to the Mexico City Policy, and all the attendees of the She Decides conference.
We are incredibly grateful to the Government of Canada and Sir Chris Hohn for their support, and for championing the rights of women to have children by choice, not chance.
Photo by UNFPA