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Launch of the What Women Want campaign

Approximately 300,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth every year and greater numbers still lack access to effective family planning and quality reproductive care. For adolescent girls ages 15 to 19 years old, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death.

Maintaining the current momentum is not enough to meet the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for maternal mortality reduction, let alone bring an end to all preventable maternal deaths and ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health for women and girls. In fact, recent gains in progress have started to plateau in some countries and slide backward in others. Transforming this picture begins with women and girls. When women and girls are involved in identifying the barriers and solutions to quality health care, progress accelerates.

That’s why, through the launch of the What Women Want campaign today April 11, 2018 on the International Maternal Health and Rights Day, health and social organizations are setting out to query 1 million women and girls (aged 15 to 19) worldwide—from capital cities to rural villages—about their top priority for quality maternal and reproductive healthcare.

The What Women Want campaign aims to grow the global movement for quality healthcare for women and girls and at the same time, it will help governments, health professionals, private providers, and civil society organizations to better understand what is most important to women and girls when it comes to their healthcare, and to push for change within countries and communities. The two-year campaign will collect responses throughout 2018 and key findings will be analyzed, aggregated and shared throughout 2019, using key global and national moments to involve and galvanize as many people as possible in making change for women and girls.

Based on Hamara Swasthya, Hamari Awaz (Our Health, Our Voices), a grassroots campaign organized by 100+ members of White Ribbon Alliance India that mobilized over 150,000 women in 2017, What Women Want aims to:

  1. Educate and empower individuals about the importance of quality, equity and dignity in women’s and girls’ healthcare;
  2. Support women and girls to demand access to high-quality and dignified care and;
  3. Place women’s and girls’ self-articulated needs at the center of health policies, programs and accountability.

The findings will be aggregated for a global picture of what women and girls’ want and disaggregated by country. Findings will be distilled into global and national advocacy agendas that reflect the top healthcare “asks”, including recommendations for improving quality, equity and dignity for health. The campaign is exploring its’ ability to provide disaggregated results at the sub-national level to inform localized action as much as possible.