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The International Women’s Health Coalition and Better World Campaign Call on the Next U.S. Administration to Act on Behalf of Girls and Women Worldwide

March 12, 2008

March 12, 2008
Contact: Kelly Castagnaro, kcastagnaro@iwhc.org, 212-979-8500

The International Women’s Health Coalition and Better World Campaign Call on the Next U.S. Administration to Act on Behalf of Girls and Women Worldwide

Four-Point Agenda Would Regain U.S. Leadership on Women’s Health and Rights

New York, NY – To stop the needless death and suffering of girls and women worldwide and solve major global challenges such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic and entrenched poverty, the next U.S. President must take immediate action to protect women’s health and rights on day one of the new Administration.  

In a paper released today by the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) and the Better World Campaign (BWC), “A New Agenda for Girls’ and Women’s Health and Rights,” IWHC President Adrienne Germain outlines four concrete steps for action to reclaim the United States’ reputation as a leader on human rights, gender equity and health. 

“In the past eight years, our country’s failure to act has left millions of girls and women at risk of sexual violence, death during childbirth and HIV,” said Germain.  “The new Administration has the power to change this picture: If they don’t, we will never achieve an equitable, secure and prosperous world.” 

The publication is part of a series issued by the Better World Campaign called “Don’t Go It Alone: America’s Interest in International Cooperation,” a series of nine papers offering strategies and recommendations for enhancing international cooperation to address global challenges and advance U.S. interests. 

“The next Administration has a golden opportunity to promote and advance the rights and health of girls and women around the world,” said Deborah Derrick, Executive Director of BWC.  “By working through the United Nations and its agencies, the United States can help multiply its impact and improve its standing in the international community.”

To demonstrate global leadership and ensure the most effective U.S. foreign policy and foreign assistance, the next president must:

  • Protect the human rights of women at the United Nations and through work with other governments.  The next Administration should actively support strong national and intergovernmental commitments on human rights and use its diplomatic and foreign assistance resources to implement them.

  • Strengthen health systems by prioritizing U.S. investment in reproductive health services, including care during pregnancy and childbirth, access to contraceptives, and diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.

  • Overturn unjustified and counter-productive restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, including earmarks for abstinence-only education and “the global gag rule” which obstructs women’s access to safe abortion in poor countries.

  • Prioritize prevention interventions in U.S. global funding for HIV/AIDS in order to give girls and women the power to protect themselves against infection.  Prevention must include greatly increased investment in reproductive health services and wide access to comprehensive sexuality education that promotes gender equality and human rights. 

About IWHC
The International Women’s Health Coalition envisions a world where women are free from discrimination, sexual coercion and violence; where they make free and informed choices on sexuality and reproduction; and where health information and services are accessible to all.  To learn more, visit www.iwhc.org.

About BWC
The Better World Campaign works to strengthen the relationship between the United States and the United Nations through outreach, communications, and advocacy.  It encourages U.S. leadership to enhance the UN’s ability to carry out its invaluable international work on behalf of peace, progress, freedom, and justice.  In these efforts, BWC engages policy makers, the media, and the American public to increase awareness of and support for the United Nations. To learn more, visit www.betterworldcampaign.org.  

To read more ideas and recommendations about what the next U.S. President should do to restore international cooperation, visit www.ondayone.org, a new initiative to encourage participation and discussion about America’s role in the world.  Join the debate at OnDayOne.org.