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Options' statement on UK’s new Women and Girls Strategy

9 March 2023

On 8 March, International Women’s Day, The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) published its first Women and Girls strategy that aims to tackle increasing threats to gender equality.

The strategy focuses on educating girls, empowering women and girls, championing their health and rights and ending gender-based violence.

Alongside the strategy, the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced funding for WISH Dividend—a new women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights programme, focused on sub-Saharan Africa. Reaching up to 10.4 million women, the programme will receive up to £200 million and is expected to prevent up to 30,600 maternal deaths, 3.4 million unsafe abortions and 9.5 million unintended pregnancies.

An Options spokesperson said:

“We welcome the UK government’s new strategy and commitment to putting women and girls at the heart of the UK’s international work.  

“We particularly welcome the commitment to more than 80% of FCDO’s bilateral aid programmes including a focus on gender equality by 2030, and on funding going directly to women’s organisations and feminist movements. 

“The clear focus on ending FGM and child marriage, and promoting sexual reproductive heath and rights is a positive step towards achieving gender equality and we are pleased to see the use of pro-choice language in the strategy. 

“We hope that with the commitments in the strategy will also come with the appropriate amount of funding for meaningful programme implementation. 

“Gender equality is a universal human right, and we won’t achieve universal health coverage, and other development goals, without it.”

“Now more than ever, we need bold and sustained global leadership and funding in order to meet these goals and ensure women and girls can access high-quality health services, no matter where they live and without financial burden.” 

Focus areas
Gender Equality Disability and Social Inclusion

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