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International Women's Day 2020 - Women's Empowerment Principles

This year on March 8th, International Women's Day, hera is proud to be a signatory to the Women's Empowerment Principles, an initiative from UN Women and the UN Global Compact. The endeavor provides a platform and seven Principles for actions that advance and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. As a rights-based organisation, gender equality and women's empowerment has always been central to our work. Sometimes this has been frustrating as progress has been slow, but we are encouraged to see initiatives such as the Women's Empowerment Principles and delighted to be part of a global movement building momentum towards real change.

The 2020 UN theme for International Women's day is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”. This year marks 10 years since the establishment of UN Women, the 20th anniversary of the UN security council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

hera began supporting United Nations programmes as a contractor in 1990, and since then we have conducted 94 evaluations with UN agencies. These experiences have strengthened our commitment to the United Nations system and have provided us with a deeper understanding of how the UN system works. In that time we have also developed extensive experience working in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Gender, Women’s Empowerment and Violence against Women and Girls.

Recent work includes our external evaluation on behalf of UN Turkey of the Women and Girls Safe Spaces (WGSS) project, an initiative that seeks to provide safe spaces where women and girls (primarily vulnerable refugees-migrants and the host population) can receive social support, access safe and non-stigmatising multi-sectorial sexual and reproductive health-sexual and gender-based violence (SRH-SGBV) response services, and receive information on issues relating to women’s rights, health, and services (including sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and sexual/gender-based violence services). In 2019 we also carried out research on what determines women’s ability to decide on their SRHR and the relationship between this and other aspects of their lives (SDG 5.6.1), on behalf of UNFPA. We carried out an External Evaluation of the Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP). For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland, hera appraised the Strengthening Prevention and Response to Gender-Based Violence programme in Kenya, which aims to improve women's and girls' rights.

The list goes on and the work continues, and throughout it all, we see that there is a serious need for global systemic change to improve the outlook for women and girls. As a business, we are committed to supporting the Women’s Empowerment Principles and our Global Compact and SDG commitments. As a long-standing rights-based organisation we will continue to call for gender equity and will safeguard women’s rights and human rights.