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  • Archive Resource

    Advocating For Abortion Access: Lessons And Challenges, IDS Bulletin, 39.3

    This article reflects on the lessons learnt about strategies for increasing access to abortion from an 11 country comparative policy analysis known as the Johannesburg Initiative. It reflects on the value of learning and sharing strategic thinking while remembering that opportunities for litigation, policy change, shifts in programming, or even changing public opinion are often place and time specific, so that what leads to victory in one place cannot necessarily be repeated in another. The task is to build the evidence, the legal and health system capacity, the engagement with the public and policymakers to be able to take advantage of windows of opportunity as they arise. The article also suggests that while many gains have been made in winning a broader base of support for the idea of sexual and reproductive rights internationally, there is an urgent need to reinvigorate this movement, particularly through greater leadership, organisational and strategic engagement by activists from developing countries. …

  • Archive Resource

    Unsafe Abortion: A Development Issue, IDS Bulletin 39.3

    Abortion has become an ever more controversial issue, provoking strong reactions both ‘for’ and ‘against’. Language used in disputes over whether or not women should have access to safe and legal abortion indicates just how polarised debates have become: pro-choice versus pro-life; pro-abortion versus anti-choice. As the anti-abortion agenda has become coupled with other conservative agendas, such as ‘pro-abstinence’, ‘pro-chastity’ and ‘anti-contraception’, an increasingly assertive movement has evolved. The extension of these conservative forces to parts of the world where thousands of women die every year because they were unable to access safe abortion and protect themselves from HIV infection, has turned this polarized dispute into an urgent development issue. …

  • Archive Resource

    What Is Happening To Donor Support For Women's Rights? Contestations, Issue 4

    Human rights, including women’s rights are dropping off the donor agenda. Recent years have seen a marked shift in official development discourse, with less emphasis on a rights-based approach and more on an efficiency approach to gender equality, exemplified by Nike Foundation’s ‘Girl Effect’ theme of stopping poverty by investing in girls – an initiative that ignores the social, historical and structural factors which contribute to inequality while simultaneously ignoring the voices of the people it seeks to help. Removing the realization of rights, including women’s rights, from the donor agenda is part of a wider tendency to define development in terms of measurable outcomes or instruments – immunizations, bednets, numbers of children going to school, quotas for women in parliament. As a result of the shift to the political right in many OECD governments, these demands for reporting against quantifiable achievements as a measure of impact is having an effect on all the organisations that they are funding. …