She Decides conference

The She Decides conference took place in Brussels on 2 March 2017. Its aim was to raise funds and support for organisations that help women in developing countries with family planning. The US government has withdrawn its funding from these organisations because they also give women information about and access to safe abortion.

What is She Decides?

It is every woman’s right to decide for herself whether she wants children and if so, when. She Decides is an international initiative that is raising financial and political support for organisations working to consolidate this right by promoting sexual and reproductive health and family planning in developing countries worldwide.

Initiative launched by Lilianne Ploumen

The She Decides initiative was launched by Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, in response to the withdrawal of US grants from foreign organisations that give women in developing countries access to, or information about, safe abortion. The measure particularly hurts organisations that deal with all aspects of sexual and reproductive health and family planning. It will only increase the number of unintended pregnancies, abortions and maternal deaths.

She Decides calls on governments, private charities and funds, and individuals worldwide to support and fund the work of the affected organisations.

She Decides conference: organisers

Belgium has organised the She Decides conference jointly with the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. The conference was hosted by Alexander De Croo, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and minister for development cooperation. Participation in the conference was by invitation only. Participating countries were represented at ministerial level.

For more information, please email shedecides@diplobel.fed.be.

She Decides conference: goal

The conference aimed to raise political support and funding for the United Nations organisations and other non-governmental organisations working to give millions of women and girls in developing countries access to:

  • sex education;
  • birth control;
  • obstetric care;
  • HIV tests and treatment;
  • safe abortion.

These organisations also support governments’ efforts to provide good healthcare services, including mother and baby care.

Hearing what the organisations and women themselves have to say

At the conference, sexual health and family planning organisations talked about their work and women explained how important these organisations are for them.

She Decides conference: participants

A broad group of international parties declared their political and/or financial support for She Decides at the conference, including:

  • government ministers responsible for health, women’s rights and development cooperation;
  • civil society organisations;
  • private organisations;
  • companies.