Alexander De Croo appeals for more feminism among male colleagues worldwide

London Summit on Family Planning

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo today participates in the London Summit on Family Planning. During his speech, he made a remarkable appeal for more feminism among his male colleagues worldwide. Minister De Croo also announced additional contributions for the protection of girls and women in humanitarian crisis situations. Belgium also commits to digital technology in order to better map access to family planning in low-income countries.
 
Women’s rights, gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights and health are important focal points of international development policy. Earlier this year, Minister De Croo organized the international conference, “She Decides”, in which more than 50 countries and organisations participated and committed 181 million euros to initiatives that invest in family planning and contraceptives.
 
Particular attention to girls and women in humanitarian crises
In order to live up to its commitment to women’s rights, and particularly to sexual and reproductive rights and health, Belgium will, over the next four years, make general contributions to the UN Population Fund, UNFPA (36 million), UN Women (16 million) and UNAIDS (12 million). In addition, our country calls for more attention to the protection of vulnerable girls and women in humanitarian crisis situations. In London, Minister De Croo therefore announced that Belgium will contribute an additional 5 million euros to the Central Emergency Response Fund of the UN Humanitarian Affairs Office, OCHA. Thus, the total Belgian contribution to the CERF this year amounts to 25 million euros.
 
Alexander De Croo said: “Because of protracted conflicts, climate change and natural disasters, we are living the worst humanitarian crises since the Second World War. More people than ever need shelter and humanitarian aid. Girls and women are often the most vulnerable victims, exposed to exploitation and gender-based violence. We need to do more to protect them.”
 
Harness data for family planning
Alexander De Croo also announced that Belgium will finance the development of a digital platform to map access to family planning in low-income countries. The platform will bring together public-sector partners, tech start-ups and the academic sphere and aim to combine health data, research data and big data such as satellite imagery, mobile phone and social media data. In London, Belgium additionally signed up to the Global Adolescent Data Commitment, aiming for a better use of data in order to give young people better access to family planning and initiatives to improve their sexual and reproductive rights and health.
 
Alexander De Croo said: “I am a great advocate of harnessing digitalization for development. It is often said that resources are scarce. Therefore, it is important to be smart, to cooperate and to make use of the opportunities of the digital revolution. If we do this, opportunities are unlimited, to give girls and women better access to family planning as well.”
 
An appeal for feminism
Finally, during the London Summit, Alexander De Croo also made a remarkable appeal to his male colleagues in governments worldwide. “Come out as a feminist. There is nothing glorious or grand about denying women the opportunity to decide over their own bodies. Stand for gender equality and invest in sexual and reproductive rights and health.”