Women Now! 2016
A Pan-African Women's Summit on HIV, Sexual & Reproductive Health & Justice
13 - 15, July 2016 | Hilton Hotel, Durban, South Africa

About Women Now!

Women Now! 2016 will provide an opportunity to assess the content and execution of the International AIDS Conference 2016.  The Pan African Women’s Summit will provide an opportunity to assess the content and execution of the IAC for its meaningful inclusion of women’s and girls’ sexual & reproductive health and justice, especially women and girls of African descent, who bear the brunt of the HIV pandemic among women worldwide.  The summit will address critical areas of concern for women’s human rights, through an intersectional lens, including key issues of race, economic status, gender equality, women’s empowerment, gender-based trauma and violence, and sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice.

We need this meeting at this time because making women and girls, especially Black women and girls, a more focused priority in the multi-sectoral global response to HIV is at a critical juncture in the current advancement of prevention technology and advocacy. Our inability to have a global collective voice for the women who bear the brunt of the epidemic around the world will hinder the best chances we have to help women and girls reach the finish line on HIV the same time as men will.

Goal and Objectives

The primary goal of Women NOW! is to bring together a broad diversity of leaders and emerging leaders who are concerned about women's sexual health and development to influence the agenda at the International AIDS Conference (AIDS2016), and to impact institutional and community responses to HIV among Black Women around the world.

Our key objectives include:

  • Develop concrete strategies and recommendations to improve and increase the inclusion and prioritization of women and girls in the IAS and other global institutions that determine the research, treatment, care and prevention strategies for ending HIV; 
  • Expand the global women's sexual and reproductive justice communities' capacities to integrate, incorporate and articulate HIV as a critical component of the overall framework for women's human rights;
  • Highlight current research and analyses on factors and contexts of women’s vulnerability to HIV (basic clinical, socio-cultural, behavioural, economic and political inequality, trauma and gender-based violence) among a diverse group of expert participants;
  • Promote cross-disciplinary learning and collaboration among researchers, policymakers and practitioners working with women and at the intersection of HIV, trauma and gender-based violence to foster new partnerships and thinking on women’s vulnerability to HIV;   
  • Identify opportunities for innovative research, program and advocacy approaches;
  • Inform future funding, policy decisions and intervention strategies; and
  • Develop a series of papers on consensus issues emerging from the summit - proposed as a special-themed issue of a peer-review journal.

Outcomes

Ramp up a global coordinated response to the root causes for the disparate vulnerabilities of women and girls of African descent who are affected by the HIV pandemic worldwide.

Develop a global network of Black women and girls living with HIV, at risk for HIV and their allies to create a visible, vocal and vibrant force for leadership in advancing research, prevention, treatment, care, economic security and human rights advocacy on behalf of women of African descent.

A body of published works that contribute to the peer-reviewed, journalistic, investigative and/or social media platforms that drive the increased attention to resources, funding, services and policy needed to prioritize women of African descent as a global key population.

Establish a formal network to convene the Women Now! Summit to coincide with every bi-annual International AIDS Conference sponsored by the International AIDS Society; and to sustain a focused influence on women and girls, especially those of African descent in Africa and throughout the Diaspora, as a key population in the accelerated fight to end the HIV epidemic.

At the end of the day, WomenNOW! hopes to secure a new global commitment to solidarity on women’s issues, especially Black women’s and girls’ capacity and agency to overcome the sexual and reproductive justice challenges that exacerbate the impacts of HIV risk and transmission among women of African descent.