Rights And Wrong – Standing Up For The Rights Of Women and Girls

The fundamental human rights we enjoy today have been won over many years. These rights are held up by international agreements and largely depend on our leaders working together for the protection of these rights. However, recently we have seen it only takes a few nations failing in this duty to turn back the clock on many of the hard-won human rights we are accustomed to in this modern world. 

The idea of losing fundamental human rights seems farfetched as we sit in our comfortable first world seats. But, some of the most basic human rights are being lost for the most vulnerable in our world. This loss should concern us all. How can we sit quietly when the rights of the most vulnerable can be lost so easily?

In this post we want to highlight the loss of the basic right of choice for a woman or girl over matters concerning their body and their reproductive health. The rights we as women have over our bodies were hard-won rights that women over the centuries fought for. These are rights we cannot lose. And, we cannot stay quiet when these rights are being taken away from any woman or girl, but especially those who are most vulnerable.

The world can be a very difficult place for women in a developing country. The UN estimates that only 52 percent of women in developing nations are free to make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care. These women live in a world where the basic decisions about their sexual health are made by others. In these most difficult places for women, you can find some of the most dedicated organisations working tirelessly to provide access to sexual healthcare, education and support. Unfortunately, this task has been made increasingly difficult for many agencies over the last year. 

The most basic sexual and reproductive rights of women internationally are being threatened by the US gag order, otherwise known as the Mexico City Policy. This policy requires NGOs to certify that they will not perform or promote abortions anywhere in the world as a condition of receiving US family planning funds. This policy has been in place since 1985 but has been dramatically expanded in 2017 to include any recipient of US global aid funding. This aid, worth close to USD$8 Billion annually, is now only available to agencies and NGOs who promise to exclude abortion education or services from their programs. This expanded gag order has a massive impact on NGOs working with the most vulnerable women and girls in developing nations. 

The expanded global gag order also forbids any funded organisation from working in partnership with or referring women to any other organisation which provides abortion services or information. With one signature the US gag order has blocked funding any NGO offering a woman a choice about her reproductive system. This one signature impacts the healthcare provided to pregnant women, leaving them without a choice. The consequences of this decision are real; more unintended pregnancies for women who are struggling in poverty, higher maternal mortality rates and a surge in unsafe abortions. How is this fair on these women? 

The NGOs who have dedicated their work to helping these women and girls are now faced with a tough choice. They can choose to reject US funding and reduce the scale of their programs, or they can deny women access to the sexual healthcare they need.  Both options mean that access to health services and information is now out of the reach of marginalised women living in poor and rural areas in developing nations. 

We strongly believe all women and girls have a right over their own body. No one else has the right to make such important decisions on behalf of another person. Taking away a woman’s right to choose is wrong. Removing access to education and resources needed to keep women and girls healthy and safe is wrong.  Yet, this is not only happening in developing nations in Africa and South Asia, it is also happening in some of the most modern nations too. The recent abortion ban passed in Alabama threatens the lives and health of women there. The ban excludes the option of abortion even in cases of rape or incest and threatens to imprison any health professional trying to help women access an abortion. Alabama is being joined by the states of Georgia, Ohio and Mississippi making abortion illegal within their borders. It is appalling that in 2019 the basic rights of a woman over her own body are being criminalised. 

We worry about the future of global women’s rights when a decision made by an international leader can directly threaten the health, dignity and well-being of women and girls everywhere. 

We envision a world where women and girls have a voice and a choice. And, we stand together with others, joining our voice to the growing outrage at this dismantling of women’s human rights. 

What can we do?

Get Informed

Find out more about the international gag order and the impact it is having. Read real stories of women affected by this decision. 

International Center for Research on Women

PAI Global Gag Order Information

Support 

Find and support NGOs who have rejected US funding and continue to provide sexual health and reproductive services to all women and girls. 

International Planned Parenthood Federation

Maria Stopes International

Join 

Add your voice to the growing outrage by joining a campaign and finding out how to make the noise a little louder: 

International Women’s Health Coalition

Global Fund for Women

High-End Luxury in the World’s First Vegan Hotel Suite

One of the main drivers behind the creation of the ILNI brand was the desire to offer a luxury vegan handbag. We are excited to see other high-end brands bringing luxury vegan options to the market. In particular, we were excited to see the world’s first vegan hotel suite open this year at the Hilton London Bankside.  

This week we wanted to dive into the luxurious details of the products used in this fantastic new vegan hotel suite design.

The entire suite was designed by Bompas & Parr who are experts at creating multi-sensory experience design. Their brief was to design a 5-star hotel suite that used completely vegan materials. What they designed was a gorgeous suite that is elegant, beautiful and kind to our planet. 

The first challenge in this creation was to find alternatives to the usual leather, wool and feathers. The alternatives needed to be of a high-end standard that was fitting for a discerning guest wanting an authentic vegan hotel experience without any compromise in quality. 

The designers sourced materials from top designers and artisans using vegan-friendly products to furnish the entire suite using only plant-based materials. This result is a perfect example of how luxury and kindness can combine to create a high-end ethical alternative. 

Every detail in this suite has been thought of and a high-end vegan alternative found. It begins upon arrival with guests being greeted at a unique check-in desk upholstered in Piñatex leather alternative produced by Ananas Anam, from the cellulose fibres found in waste pineapple leaves. Guests are then given a room keycard made from the same material. 

Entering the suite, should you not know the concept was vegan, you may not even notice, as the room is furnished in a luxury style you would expect to find in any 5-star hotel. The best part is that this room has been designed with an added touch of kindness in the details.

The furnishings are made with Sebastian Cox Mushroom Mycelium that looks and feels like suede. Each piece is grown in a laboratory of biofacture in south east London and are entirely natural, lightweight, incredibly strong and completely compostable.

The wooden flooring is covered with 100% renewable and sustainable bamboo produced by Moso Bamboo. The carpets throughout the suite are made from woven cotton instead of the usual wool. 

The sofa, chairs and many other surfaces have been covered with the sustainable pineapple leaves leather alternative, Piñatex. Which has also been used for cushion covers and the fabulous headboard on the queen sized bed. 

When it is time to sleep, guests can choose from a range of organic plant-based pillow options. The usual feather stuffing has been replaced with a choice of fillings; organic buckwheat, millet seeds or bamboo fibres.

In the bathroom is a beautiful range of all vegan-friendly Prija ginseng products including Shampoo with Eruca Sativa, Hand Cream with Macadamia Oil and a tonifying Body Cream with Centella Asiatica Extract and Avocado oil. These exotic products are all provided in easily recycled packaging. 

The suite’s desk comes stocked with stationary notepads, pens and pencils from vegan-friendly brands that contain no traces of animal products in the paper or ink. 

The mini bar is stocked with locally-sourced vegan treats such as Moju cold-pressed juices, Graze protein power, fruit, nut snacks, Ombar Chocolates and Deliciously Ella energy balls in many different flavours. 

But the luxury details don’t stop there. The culinary team at Hilton have also redesigned the in-room menu to offer a huge range of vegan breakfast options such as grilled Portobello mushroom, avocado, Quorn and quinoa. Lunch and dinner options include cucumber salad, cauliflower steak and five-bean dhal. 

This suite is the first of its kind and showcases high-end luxury vegan options so perfectly. Lily Carver, a designer at Bompas & Parr notes that passionate consumers are already driving a growing demand for vegan products, accessories and furniture. She predicts we will see more vegan options being applied to architectural design, travel and business in the future as consumers seek products that reduce our carbon footprints and offer cruelty-free materials and processes. 

We applaud the Hilton for expanding into luxury vegan products and services, and for finding ethical and kind alternatives without compromising on quality. 

Kindness inspires kindness