GCWA: GCWA relaunched
Since 2004, the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA) has been a dynamic alliance of diverse stakeholders partnering to promote gender equality, health and rights for all women and girls. Nearly a decade later, commemorating International Women's Day, the GCWA was re-launched with renewed commitment. The relaunch took place on March 9 in New York as world leaders, women's rights advocates and members of United Nations family convened at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), to negotiate, advocate and share knowledge on the health and rights of women and girls. Amidst the CSW, which met under the priority theme; “the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”, the GCWA re-launch came as a much needed reminder that in a time of fiscal retraction and increased emphasis on "value for money", women and girls desperately need real mechanisms such as the GCWA to spearhead partnership, advocacy, shared learning and positive change.
"At a time when women’s voices seem to have dropped off the agenda, I believe the coalition is well placed to lead, promote and inspire a reenergized level of activism and give voice to the global issues affecting women and girls at risk of and living with HIV. Nothing for us without us!” (Rebecca Matheson – ICW Global, GCWA Advisory Group Member)
The relaunch of the GCWA was a historic moment bringing together change makers from networks of women living with HIV, reproductive health organizations, women's rights groups, the United Nations family and political leadership. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, General Secretary of the World YWCA and founding member of the GCWA, offered a time of reflection to examine the success of the GCWA and the women's movement over the past decade since its inception. Nyaradzayi also created an interactive space to examine the challenges that remain, to identify service gaps and policy needs that will fuel the work of the GCWA and its members going forward.
“Only through women’s full and equal participation in all areas of public and private life can we hope to achieve the sustainable, peaceful and just society promised in the United Nations Charter” United Nations Secretary, Bank Ki-moon
From the UNAIDS Secretariat, Dr. Mariangela Simao, UNAIDS Director, Rights, Gender and Community Mobilization and Dr. Jantine Jacobi, Chief of the Gender Equality and Diversity Division reaffirmed UNAIDS' commitment to creating a shared space for advocacy, keeping living realities of women and girls at the forefront and promoting gender equity whilst fostering safe and healthy lives for all women and girls. They were joined by Jennifer Gatsi of the Namibian Women's Health Network who gave the launch tangible examples of lived experiences of health and rights violations faced by women and power of advocacy to change the paradigm. Together with the voices of the array of women who joined to celebrate the relaunch, there were many others stories, examples of good practices and inspired words of congratulations. Together all shared in the relaunch - a rebirth and a testament to possibility.
The re reinvigorated GCWA signals an expansion of partnerships, redefined priorities and new vision. The amazing members of the GCWA helped make it successful by informing the GCWA on country realities, key issues and guiding the new Operational Charter. To learn more, please follow this link. Moving forward, the GCWA has convened an Advisory Group of extraordinary leaders from around the globe and across the spectrum that will support and guide the work of the GCWA. The Advisory Group reflects the diversity, skills and leadership that are core to the principles of the GCWA. Please follow this link to learn more about the advisory group and it's members.
"Together our voices can ring loud and help make real changes for all young people across the globe” (Helena Nangombe - Namibian Women's Health Network, GCWA Member)
The GCWA extends a warm thank to all that came to celebrate the relaunch and re-affirm their commitment to vision of the GCWA and its members. For those who were unable to be present, there are still so many ways to get involved. The GCWA membership is open to all international or civil society organizations committed to gender equality and the principles of the GCWA. New membership and new momentum are welcomed to build a better world for women and girls. To join, please follow this link. We look forward to partnering with you.