As this wild year draws to a close, I can’t help but reflect on resilience, find strength in solutions, and feel fired up by the power of the people and partners Women Deliver works with across the globe.
The world as we know it is changing. While we have seen and helped fuel unprecedented progress for girls and women across the globe over the last decade – more girls in school, fewer women dying in pregnancy and childbirth, more women taking their rightful place in Parliaments and in the economy at large – we now face new and uncertain times, politically, socially, and economically.
Conservative forces are marching – in the US, in Europe, all around the world – and the battlegrounds will most likely include the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women. I won’t pretend it’s going to be easy. It won’t. It will be hard.
But girls and women are used to hard. And there is a lot of hope and inspiration to be found in the resilience we see each and every day, among girls and women who deal with political hardship, misogyny, poverty, and deep inequalities. They still get up in the morning, get dressed, and go out and fight for a better future – for themselves, their families, and communities. They don’t quit just because times are tough. Neither do we.
Women Deliver will build on our successes. We will continue to convene, communicate, and change hearts and minds. We will inspire new investments in girls’ and women’s health, rights, and wellbeing – including their sexual and reproductive health and rights. In a time like this, advocacy with a focus on facts and solutions is more important than ever.
We have a solid grounding to work from, with a vibrant community of partners from many sectors, covering many issues, at every level. The power of the people in the Women Deliver movement is a force for good, a force for change, a force to be reckoned with.
We see it every day in the Women Deliver Young Leaders in 100+ countries, who make change happen in their countries and communities. We see it in the Deliver for Good Campaign, which puts a gender lens to development and just keeps growing and growing. And we saw it at the Women Deliver Conference in May, where nearly 6,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, activists, journalists, and young people came together in the most energizing way. That conference – the world’s largest on the issues – wasn’t just an incredible moment in time; it was a fueling station, a scenery of solutions, and a powerful reminder that when the world invests in girls and women, everybody wins.
Women Deliver will move into 2017 the same way we have moved through 2016 and all years past. We won’t take a break, we will accelerate. We will speak up even louder and build bridges, where others build walls. We will continue to partner and bring together unlikely players in the increasingly important effort to power progress for girls and women.
No matter what dark times might be ahead of us, our future is in the hands of good people to make positive change. It’s time to scale up, not back. It’s time to step forward, not retreat. It’s time to invest in girls and women.
Onwards and upwards. Together.
Follow Katja Iversen on twitter: @Katja_Iversen.