Mission Statement - English


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As the world enters the third decade of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, women - especially the young and the poor - are increasingly affected. Because gender inequity fuels HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS fuels gender inequity, it is imperative that women and girls speak out, set priorities for action, and lead the global response to the crisis.

ATHENA was created to realize this imperative. The Network builds upon the work of individuals and entities who have been committed to this challenge for years, and intends to use coordinated, collective action to advance their efforts further. ATHENA members are working actively towards the realization of the Barcelona Bill of Rights, a guiding document for the Network that was first promulgated at the 2002 International AIDS Conference.

Network mission

The Network’s mission is to:

  • Advance the recognition, protection, and fulfillment of women’s and girls’ human rights, comprehensively and inclusively, as a fundamental component of policies and programs to address HIV/AIDS.
  • Improve the life quality and longevity of women and girls living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Ensure gender equity in HIV/AIDS-related research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care, and support.
  • Promote and facilitate the leadership of women and girls, especially those living with HIV/AIDS, in all aspects of HIV/AIDS-related policies, programs, and research.
  • Bridge the communities around the world that are addressing gender, human rights, sexual and reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS.

In advancing this mission, we aim to:

  • Address neglected or contentious human rights issues such as sexual and reproductive rights.
  • Link the global with the local in meaningful ways, for example, by linking and facilitating dialogue between actors operating in different regions, sectors, and realms.
  • Link research, policy, advocacy, and practice.
  • Share information and experiences.
  • Develop common agendas for joint advocacy, shared research, and collaborative training programs.
  • Develop and support the leadership capacity of women and girls, especially those living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Enable individuals and organizations to be agents of change, including through provision of support to activists and advocates for women living with and at-risk for HIV/AIDS.

Network values

Values on which the Network’s actions and activities
will be based include:
  • Respect for internationally-recognized human rights
  • Commitment to achieving gender equity
  • Commitment to democracy that includes shared leadership and distribution of power
  • Commitment to geographic and gender diversity and maintaining an active consciousness about diversity that facilitates the inclusion of multiple voices, multiple cultures, and multiple vulnerabilities.

Guiding principles for Network actions and activities

In striving to achieve our mission and express the values we have endorsed above, our work will be guided by the following principles:

  • Indivisibility and intersectionality of issues and identities
  • Independence to address sensitive and contentious issues
  • Inclusion of grassroots and indigenous groups
  • Involvement of youth and the importance of intergenerational dialogue
  • Selection of actions based on their potential impact
  • Effective, clear, and consistent communication
  • Strong documentation and dissemination of Network actions
  • Accountability through transparency, good governance, and inclusion
  • Commitment to contribute actively to shared Network activities
  • Linking and enhancing work being done by Network members
  • Acknowledging one another's work in joint projects and within the context of Network activities
  • Expression of cultural awareness in documents and activities undertaken by the Network