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Eight men have been secretary-general since the UN's inception. It's time for a woman to take charge.
IWHC plays a key leadership role in mobilizing women and young people from around the world to participate in UN conferences and negotiations. We ensure that global policies, programs, and funding reflect the realities of local communities and meet the needs of women and girls.
IWHC works with government officials in the Administration and in Congress to ensure that U.S. foreign policies and investments meet the needs of women and girls in developing countries. Currently, we are helping to develop a comprehensive U.S. strategy to end child marriage and secure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world.
LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
Since 1986, IWHC has worked in close collaboration with activists and grassroots organizations throughout Latin America, including work with partners in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, and Argentina, as well as with regional networks. We have helped empower a new generation of young advocates who are now leaders in the global movement for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
IWHC has been active in Africa for nearly three decades. We have helped build and strengthen grassroots organizations in Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Swaziland. Regionally, we support feminist groups and young leaders to advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights at the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
ASIA AND MIDDLE EAST
IWHC works to advance sexual and reproductive rights and gender equality in Muslim societies by building the capacity of local organizations and regional networks. We support emerging feminist and youth leaders to become effective advocates for change within their own countries and at the United Nations.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Since 1983, IWHC has worked in collaboration with partner organizations throughout Asia, including in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines, as well as with regional networks. Our partners work within their own countries and at the United Nations to ensure that the international development agenda prioritizes the needs of women and young people.
Since 1998, IWHC has collaborated with regional networks based in Turkey, including Women for Women’s Human Rights and the Coalition on Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies. In 2001 and 2003, our partners won major reforms in Turkish laws on women’s rights, sexual autonomy, and bodily integrity. Today with IWHC support, feminists in Turkey and across the region have become progressive champions at UN negotiations.
Since 1999, IWHC has supported efforts to promote gender equality and strengthen comprehensive sexuality education in Pakistan. Our partner Aahung has reached thousands of girls and boys with essential life skills education, including information on human sexuality and preventing gender-based violence. Aahung also trains teachers and medical students.
IWHC has supported a number of organizations working to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in India. Our partners advocate for the rights of women and young people, promote comprehensive sexuality education and HIV/AIDS policy, ensure access to safe abortion services, and empower young leaders and champions for gender equality and human rights.
IWHC worked with government officials and civil society organizations to design Bangladesh's first national health and population strategy. During this five-year strategy (from 1998 to 2003), maternal mortality was reduced by 26 percent and infant mortality by 22 percent. IWHC also supported several research studies in Bangladesh, and in 2006 helped launch the Bangladesh Health Watch network.
Since 1988, IWHC has partnered with grassroots groups across Nigeria to ensure that adolescent girls get the information, skills, and care they need to make a healthy transition to adulthood. Our partners are strengthening sexuality education programs, challenging harmful gender norms, and empowering young people to advocate for their health and rights.
IWHC has been active in Cameroon since 1990. We support women and youth-led organizations working to empower women and girls and ensure access to sexual and reproductive health education and services. Currently, we support a number of efforts to prevent early and forced marriage and provide support to girls who have been forced to marry.
IWHC works in Kenya to ensure that adolescent girls, especially poor and marginalized girls, get the basic services and support they need to become healthy and empowered women. We also partner with advocates who are leading efforts to ensure women have access to safe, legal, and comprehensive abortion services.
IWHC has been active in Peru since 2002. Our local partners are a diverse group of advocates working to advance the sexual and reproductive rights and health of women and young people. We currently support efforts to reform the country's restrictive abortion laws and implement comprehensive sexuality education programs.
IWHC has worked in Brazil since 1986. We have helped build a number of feminist organizations in the country in that time. Today, our partners are implementing groundbreaking sexual and reproductive health and rights programs for adolescents, working to end the criminalization of abortion, and expanding access to reproductive health services by vulnerable populations.
IWHC has supported advocacy for abortion rights in Uruguay since 2002. In 2012, Uruguay revised its law to allow for abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy, with some restrictions. We currently support Mujer y Salud en Uruguay to expand access to safe and legal abortion and to block legislative attacks on reproductive rights.
Since 2003, IWHC has supported efforts to advance reproductive health and rights in Argentina. Current legislation criminalizes abortion except when performed to save the life of the woman, preserve her physical and mental health, and in cases of rape or incest. As a result, many women endure unsafe conditions that sometimes result in death or severe injuries.
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
IWHC supports women’s rights activists in Central and Eastern Europe to advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights during key regional and international negotiations. The Astra Network, our longtime regional partner, has become one of the strongest voices defending sexual and reproductive rights in the European Union.
The case of “Belén” in Argentina demonstrates how how public institutions regularly fail women in Argentina.
As the continent struggles to address the unprecedented Syrian refugee crisis, it must ensure that women’s human rights are at the core of its efforts.
We learned a lot of valuable lessons when we embarked upon a program evaluation of our It’s My Body program for school-age girls.
At the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women last month, governments missed the opportunity to to make concrete commitments to support the promises of the 2030 Agenda for women and girls.