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SheDecides Day 2019: More attention for the freedom of choice of women

Saturday 2 March is SheDecides Day 2019. That day, organisations, individuals and politicians from all over the world will ask attention for women’s freedom of choice to decide for themselves whether, when, and with whom they want children. This remains an urgent topic, as 214 million women around the world still don't have access to the contraceptives they want. A concept that to many Dutch women is quite inconceivable. That is why SheDecides Day signals the start of a public campaign, in which Rutgers calls attention to the position of women in countries where availability of contraception and safe abortion care is not self-evident. An online campaign - centred around stories from women in other countries - is launched, in which Dutch women are invited to reflect on their freedom of choice.

SheDecides campaign in the Netherlands

Just a few months ago, contraceptive pills in the Netherlands threatened to run out, and suddenly contraception seemed to be not as easily available as we all had thought. Immediately, Dutch women showed their mutual solidarity and exchanged contraceptive pills to help each other out. Rutgers will now ask Dutch women to shift their solidarity to women in countries where contraception and safe abortion are not so readily available. The campaign will link up all these women. Women will reflect on their own freedom of choice through messages on social media. Rutgers will also share stories from SheDecides women worldwide, who are committed to their own right to decide. This connection between Dutch women and their international counterparts will literally come to life during the Women's March on Saturday 9 March in Amsterdam, when women who live far away from the Netherlands, are given a voice. Their messages will be expressed on the banners and be displayed during the march.

Dutch feminists in action

Feminist and friend of Rutgers, Justine van de Beek, started to think about her own freedom of choice, when she realised how easily she can get the pill in the Netherlands. Are Dutch women taking their right to decide for themselves whether to have children or not, for granted? As a result, Justine feels even more concerned with women in other countries, where contraceptives are not available at all and where there is a lack of information. She shares her story on the new SheDecides.nl website. In addition, Naomi Felesita and Alexander Spoor discuss the freedom of choice of women worldwide with Dutch women in their podcast episodes.

In an interview with SheDecides initiator in the Netherlands, Lilianne Ploumen, makes a personal appeal: "You can be of great significance. Continue to speak out about the vital right to decide yourself! I hope that women in the Netherlands feel that it is okay to say 'No' or'Yes' whenever they want. I also hope that when having said 'Yes', they will protect themselves well. If you are considering an abortion or if you have had an abortion: do not be ashamed. You are in a difficult situation, so go to your family doctor or an abortion clinic and discuss it. They are there for you. And do not forget: you are the one who decides."

Will you join us?

Do you agree it's important that all girls and women can decide about their bodies and their lives? Then speak out. Download the poster on www.shedecides.nl, complete the sentence and share a photo of yourself on social media. Or join the Women's March with SheDecides in Amsterdam on 9 March: sign up for more information via SheDecides@rutgers.nl.

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