|HERA: Health, Empowerment, Rights, and Accountability|
HERA is an international group of well known women's and human rights activists for which IWHC served as the secretariat. The group worked together to ensure implementation of the agreements reached at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994; the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW), held in Beijing in 1995; and the ICPD and Beijing five-year reviews, held at the United Nations in New York in 1999 and 2000. To this end, HERA created a set of action sheets in the 1990s that remain valuable tools for advocacy pertaining to sexual and reproductive rights and health.
The nine action sheets contained in each set of HERA Action Sheets (accessible here) define the central concepts of the agreements reached at the International Conference on Population and Development (1994) and the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995). They identify actions to be taken on such topics as gender equality and equity, women's empowerment, adolescents' sexual and reproductive rights and health, men's roles and responsibility for sexual and reproductive rights and health, safe abortion, and sexual and reproductive rights and health.
Today, many of HERA's members continue to work with government and international agencies to ensure that attention and resources are devoted to these issues. The group's original mission statment follows.
HERA Mission Statement
HERA is an international group of women's health activists working together world-wide to ensure implementation of the agreements reached at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994 and the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW) held in Beijing in 1995. Following our collaborative effort to help generate the Cairo and Beijing consensus, we decided to continue to work together to advocate, and help design and implement strategies to guarantee sexual and reproductive rights and health, within a broader context of human rights and sustainable development.
We share a vision of Health, Empowerment, and Rights, and promote policies, programmes and institutions that are Accountable to the people that they are intended to serve. As individuals, we are primarily concerned with ensuring that the ICPD and FWCW agreements are implemented in our own countries. As an international group we focus on the work of donors and international agencies.
HERA recognises that the economic and political empowerment of women is fundamental to the implementation of the ICPD and FWCW agreements, and that women's ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights and protect their health are essential to their empowerment. Women's organizations play crucial roles in women's empowerment, in building capacity for change, and in holding programmes and policies accountable to the people they serve at national and international levels.
In order for women to be able to secure reproductive and sexual rights and health, health systems and policies must be equitable, non-discriminatory, and strong enough to provide good quality of care. Such systems and policies require an enabling economic environment that values and prioritizes social investments in education and health.
HERA works to ensure that:
To achieve these goals, we undertake the following: