Belgium in the lead for women’s rights during the European Development Days

Belgium takes an active role this week during the European Development Days, which will focus on the rights of girls and women. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo organizes together with the Be-cause Health platform a special session on the role that Europe must play on sexual and reproductive health and rights. He will also launch an international campaign which will focus on gender equality, women empowerment and women’s health.

Queen Mathilde will deliver on Tuesday morning, alongside other high level guests such as the Queen of Spain and the President of Burkina Faso, one of the opening speeches of the European Development Days. These are taking place on the Tour & Taxis site in Brussels. Our country will also be in the spotlight on two other occasions during the European Development Days: with the organisation of one of the special sessions on the role of Europe in strengthening sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and women (Wednesday 6/6, 9:30) and with the launch of the international #SheIsEqual campaign together with Global Citizen, Luxembourg, the Gates Foundation and Procter & Gamble (Tuesday 5/6, 18:00).

The role of Europe in sexual and reproductive rights

During the special session on Wednesday, our country will bring together experts and policymakers to discuss the role which Europe must play internationally in the field of sexual and reproductive rights and health. The organisation of this session follows on from the engagement taken by our country last year with She Decides. The strengthening of women’s rights is one of the top priorities of the Belgian development cooperation.

Girls in developing countries face a double discrimination today. In the first place, they have already less access to information on family planning because it is restricted to adults in many countries. In addition to that, they are more strongly impacted by the decision of the US to stop supporting financially a large number of initiatives and projects related to family planning.

Launch of an international campaign

Tuesday evening, the minister will launch the international campaign #SheIsEqual together with the NGO Global Citizen, the government of Luxembourg, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Procter & Gamble. The campaign, which will run until the end of this year, focusses on gender equality, women empowerment and women’s health. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and singer Axelle Red will perform during the event.

#SheIsEqual will focus amongst others on improving the sexual and reproductive health of women, tackling gender discrimination in regulations and promoting the economic empowerment of women.