My name is Tikhala Itaye and I am thrilled to have been appointed to serve the SheDecides movement as Chair, with Lilianne Ploumen MP as Vice-Chair. We are committed to creating a world where only SheDecides about her body, her life, and her future. Without question.
I am honoured that the politicians and other global leaders who are responsible for the SheDecides movement have appointed me, a 28-year-old young leader from Malawi. Being young, African and a woman in a global leadership role is a unique privilege and a welcome opportunity to challenge the global status quo.
The SheDecides Manifesto paints a picture of a world I want to see. A world where all women have the freedom to choose sexual partners, a life partner and whether or not to have children. This should be simple. These are her basic human rights that everyone has to respect and promote.
We will only be able to get to a world that is better, stronger and safer when every girl and young woman can freely decide what they want to do with their lives.
Around the world, it’s clear to see that we are taking steps in the right direction. Ireland’s decision to repeal the eight was a bold, progressive move. However, many countries around the globe are still playing catch-up and denying women decisions about their bodies. I’m referring not only to the vote in Argentina next week [13 June] where we hope women will be allowed to choose not to not to continue pregnancies, but also to women in Mauritania and Egypt who do not have the same rights as men in marriage or after divorce. The list goes on.
I am proud and excited to work with Lilianne Ploumen MP, the former Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, whose brave action at the start of 2017 led to this movement being created. Lilianne has continued to lend her enthusiasm and intellect to putting the voices and rights of girls and women at the forefront of the global agenda.
SheDecides is unapologetic about its commitment to every girl and woman having comprehensive sexual education, the information and skills to avoid HIV and other diseases, to resist violence, and having access to safe abortion. Whatever she needs to decide for herself about her body.
These are just some of the reasons I am such a believer in the SheDecides movement, and why I am asking thousands more people and organisations to join us. Friends, I urge you to continue to take action and advance the new normal – one simple action is to encourage 10 of your friends or colleagues to join us by signing the Manifesto.
By taking the first step of signing SheDecides Manifesto, we are saying together we CAN unite and advance the rights for every girl and women. Together, we create the world that is better, stronger, safer. But only if. And only when. SheDecides.
Yours in power and solidarity,
Chair of the SheDecides Movement; Co-Founder of Her Liberty