#SheIsEqual: Belgium seeks to raise 500 million euros for women’s rights together with partners

Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo has launched, in partnership with Global Citizen, the international campaign #SheIsEqual. Their goal is to raise more than 500 million euros by the end of the year for gender equality, women's empowerment and women’s health. The Global Citizen campaign is supported by the governments of Belgium and Luxemburg, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Procter & Gamble.

Last year, Belgium was one of the architects of She Decides, the movement to increase resources for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and women. To date, more than EUR 450 million has already been raised. Minister De Croo now wants to continue to build on the basis of this approach, at the same time widening the focus. "We will not only focus on improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, but also on the economic empowerment of women, tackling gender discrimination in the law and improving access to education for girls," stated Minister De Croo.

Action against child marriages and in favor of the use of contraception
At the launch of #SheIsEqual, Minister De Croo pledged three million euros in Belgian support to UNFPA Supplies and a joint program of the UN Population Fund UNFPA and the UN Children's Fund UNICEF. The UNFPA/UNICEF program is aimed at fighting child marriage in countries such as Burkina Faso, Niger, Mozambique and Uganda. Girls who are forced to marry at a young age, see their chances of self-development destroyed.

UNFPA Supplies, a division of the UN Population Fund and the largest distributor of contraceptives throughout the world, will be able to purchase and distribute contraceptives with Belgian aid. Last year, UNFPA Supplies ensured that more than 12 million women in 46 countries had access to modern contraceptives and reproductive health services. Some 7.1 million unwanted pregnancies and 2.2 million unsafe abortions have been avoided.

20 million girls and women
The #SheIsEqual campaign will be led by Global Citizen and supported by the governments of Belgium and Luxembourg, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Procter & Gamble. The campaign will run for six months and will be concluded at the end of this year. The goal of raising more than EUR 500 million in commitment has set the bar pretty high for #SheIsEqual. But, in fact, this is essential as the campaign is intended to improve the lives of 20 million girls and women.

Global Citizens around the world are committed to building broad-sector support for women and girls, promoting policies aimed at improving health and reproductive rights, economic empowerment and ending gender discrimination. We are thrilled to launch the #SheIsEqual campaign in Brussels and are grateful to Deputy Prime Minister De Croo for his pledge tonight of €3 million on behalf of the Belgian government in support of women and girls," said Hugh Evans, CEO, Global Citizen.