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Happy International Women’s Day – two steps forward, one step back?

March 8 is International Women’s Day and several global health organizations and advocates are celebrating the achievements of their women colleagues, but also raising concerns that women’s rights are under threat.

Dr Samantha Nutt, founder of the charity War Child Canada/USA, wrote passionately about the gains we’ve made in women’s rights but the risk that these are being stripped away, especially in developing countries.

Andrea Cornwall, in The Guardian, similarly argued that “for all their talk of empowerment, initiatives by development agencies and donors fail to tackle power imbalances, and do not allow women to realise their own hopes and dreams.”

Médecins Sans Frontières Canada is focusing its International Women’s Day activities this year on “the avoidable crisis” of maternal mortality.

Grand Challenges Canada at the Rotman Centre for Global Health in Toronto (an organization I am affiliated with) launched a beautiful display of women global health innovators they have recently funded.

A long list of stories, of hope and of caution for women’s rights, are noted on the global hub for sharing International Women’s Day news and resources.

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