Transforming Global Spaces – Women Deliver

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How We Work

Transforming Global Spaces

Global spaces are gatherings where advocates, decision-makers, experts, and others come together to tackle international issues and shape the future. These forums, meetings, and multilateral bodies are crucial for setting narratives, standards, commitments, and action plans. They act as key moments and catalysts that drive progress on important issues by fostering a sense of global community and shared purpose. This sense of unity is essential for addressing the complex and deep-rooted problems that underpin gender inequality.

Especially now, as threats to humanity mount — from assaults on bodily autonomy, to the climate crisis, to the rise of authoritarianism — global spaces are crucial for upholding and advancing gender equality worldwide. The way gender inequality intersects with global conflicts, health crises, and the climate crisis shows that security, health, environmental, gender, and rights issues cross all borders and need global solutions. Even national issues can benefit from international standards set through global forums. However, two major issues face global spaces:

  • Lack of Representation: Global spaces have traditionally been dominated by people from the global minority1 who don’t fully understand the complex challenges most adolescent girls and women face worldwide. To make these spaces effective, we need to rethink and influence their power structures. This means changing who is in the room, whose voices are heard, and how decisions are made.
  • Infiltration by Anti-Rights Actors: Global spaces are vital for promoting gender equality, but they are increasingly being infiltrated by anti-rights actors, making progress harder. If we don’t protect these spaces, they could be used to undermine progressive, rights-based agendas at regional, national, and community levels. This isn’t just about blocking progress locally; if anti-rights actors take over global spaces, they could set regressive standards that trickle down and negatively impact all other levels, ultimately harming girls and women worldwide.

Our definition of
ignored and
marginalized voices:

Those with first-hand experiences or who are closest to the challenges faced by girls and women worldwide — including young people, feminist advocates, and coalition leaders from the global majority — possess critically important expertise and lived experiences that should be central in global discussions. However, colonial power structures, along with those who hold power within these structures, have intentionally ignored and marginalized their voices and contributions.

“Women Deliver’s aim is for those who have been excluded from global spaces to become the architects of international norms and standards.”

 

Our ultimate goal is to shift power in global spaces. We harness our almost two decades of experience in building bridges between global decision-makers and gender equality advocates, so that traditionally ignored and marginalized voices have a direct influence on global goals and agendas that can change the course of an adolescent girl’s life. This must include giving our access to global spaces to historically ignored experts and voices, as well as stepping back our presence and lowering our voice to make room for others.

To protect and advance girls and women’s SRHR and bodily autonomy, there is an urgent need to overturn long-standing colonial power and defend global spaces from anti-rights actors. As internationally recognized leaders in convening, we are rethinking and redesigning global spaces by centering the participation of young and Emerging Leaders, and other ignored voices, particularly from systemically underrepresented communities.

In everything we do, we focus on working together with our allies, with those who have been traditionally ignored at the helm, to create a progressive agenda for change that safeguards past gains and advances visionary change on gender equality and SRHR.

1’Global majority’ refers to most of the population of the world who live in what is often referred to as ‘developing countries’ or ‘the Global South’ (see right). ‘Global minority’ refers to the smaller population of the world who live in wealthier nations, often described as ‘the West’ or ‘the Global North’. See Oxfam’s Inclusive Language Guide for additional information.

How We Work

We advance the health and rights of adolescent girls by creating spaces for collective action, championing and supporting youth advocacy, and convening likeminded organizations. In everything we do, we aim to shift power into the hands of those closest to and living the challenges that girls face.

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