“Women are mobilizing…”

Women are mobilizingWomen are mobilizing…   Women from across Civil Society and across the globe are mobilizing to thank UNAIDS for their investments in women and girls and to let them know that there is still so much to be done. We urgently need to have global leadership, partnership and accountability that includes women from grassroots upwards to shape, guide and influence the policies and interventions that impact our lives. We can not go backwards and must have systems in place that protect our gains and continue to move us forward.

Please find the sign-on letter below to UNAIDS.
Anyone who wishes to sign on can email kristenldegraaf <at> gmail.com  with your name, country and organization (if applicable) by 24 Feb. Please share widely. Thank you everyone!
Brightest Wishes,  Ebony Johnson

Women have spoken: #WhatWomenWant is renewed leadership, investment, and partnership

We are at an historic moment rich with opportunity, yet we are challenged with ambiguity, contradiction, and uncertainty that threaten to reverse the gains made in terms of our rights, our health, and our equality.  The connections we make, the work we undertake, the experiences we bring, the vision we shape, and the future we build together is more critical than ever to achieve a world where women in all our diversity and across our lifecycle lead and realize our dreams.   Achieving our rights and health, and living with dignity, depends on achieving justice, safety, and equality for all.

The most effective solutions for women and girls must include us, our voices, our visions, and our guidance.

These principles are at the very heart of women’s movements, the rising leadership of adolescent girls and young women, networks of women living with HIV, and AIDS activism that have ensured that the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS and the UNAIDS Strategy 2016-2021 are strong and bold on women’s rights, the empowerment of women and girls, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the elimination of gender-based violence.

Through the #WhatWomenWant campaign led by young women and catalyzed by the ATHENA Initiative, women from around the world demand to be meaningfully involved in change for all women and girls.  Using social media, the campaign is offering an innovative vehicle to amplify voices and meet young women where they are, is allowing young women to connect with each other, lead with lived expertise, bring their solutions to the table, and build across and between issues, regions, sectors, generations, and movements.

Time for UNAIDS to boldly step up

As we begin 2017, it is important that we as a global community of women acknowledge and commend UNAIDS for its attention and commitment to gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, and its focus on adolescent girls and young women.

UNAIDS has set an unprecedented standard of partnership and inclusion with civil society, including supporting the advocacy of adolescent girls and young women, networks of women living with HIV, and the women’s rights movement.  We have been included though the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board, the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA), and with the numerous consultative processes wherein community members sit at the UN table and contribute to the decisions that impact our lives.

Moreover, UNAIDS has been a champion of gender equality as the pioneer of the Agenda for Accelerated Country Action for Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV 2010-2014, a roadmap for action, coordination, and accountability across sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV.

Yet, despite the global commitments to women’s rights, our agency, and gender equality, we are challenged economically and politically and are struggling to stay afloat.  With this time of uncertainty and already diminished resources for women-led organizations and initiatives, we are deeply concerned with the looming questions regarding continued UN support for women’s rights and women’s civil society, including networks of women living with HIV, who support full freedom, rights, and dignity as bilateral funds become increasingly restricted and prohibitive of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Now more than ever we need a united and coordinated AIDS movement. The leadership UNAIDS has shown historically is now urgently needed at greater scale to ensure our progress is not lost, and that we continue to move forward.  In this time of rapid changes, with already limited resources for women’s organizations diminishing further and a global shift towards regression on women’s rights, we are understandably and deeply concerned about the future.

In this moment, we seek for UNAIDS now more than ever to partner with women’s civil society, women living with HIV, and community partners toward:

Renewed collaboration and joined up action by EVERYONE.  We need to bring together pockets of activity and investment, and consolidate advances and efforts across movements, sectors, and partners, so that we move forward even in this evolving political landscape.

Investment in women-led civil society, networks of women living with HIV, and community partners because we are the actors, entities, and networks that are the engines of change.  Together, we build movements, we mentor new leadership, we change social norms, we care for our communities, and we hold our governments to account.  We make change happen.

Women and young women in all our diversity must be in the lead, bringing our solutions forward.  The type of joined up leadership that will move us ahead is one where we reflect what we say: that young women and women need to be at the center and at the helm.  As we look to the horizon and re-commit ourselves to progress, we ask you UNAIDS to partner with us to build a platform for progress that starts from where women and girls are, what we need, what solutions we offer, and what we want.  Let’s together embed our shared work toward dignity, inclusion, health, justice, and equality in the fabric of communities, the heart of countries, and around the globe.

And with the rapid changes across the global health landscape, we ever more urgently seek this partnership as we need spaces within which we are able to coordinate and strategize and from which we launch joint advocacy and implement shared agendas so that the health, dignity, and rights of women and girls in all their diversity advances rather than rolls back.  Michel, we are calling on you and UNAIDS to be the bridge; to spearhead a global platform for leadership, coordination, accountability, and investment.  We need a platform that is founded on partnership, equity, and shared commitment to women and girls that fosters partnership and collaboration between the UN, women’s civil society, and the private sector, among others from a robust women’s rights foundation.

Michel, the need is great and the time is now.  We are counting on you.

With our very best regards,

Anyone who wishes to sign on can email kristenldegraaf <at> gmail.com
With your name, country and organization (if applicable)
“Women are mobilizing…”/