Seventy years ago, with the founding of the United Nations, all nations reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.
The tragic deaths and injuries of women following sterilisation in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh have sparked global media coverage and public concern and outrage.
The Programme of Action adopted at the landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) included chapters that defined concrete actions covering some 44 dimensions of population and development, including the need to provide for women and girls during times of conflict, the urgency of investments in young people’s capabilities, and the importance of women’s political participation and representation.
For most of human history, reproductive rights essentially meant men and women accepting the number, timing and spacing of their children, as well as possible childlessness. All this changed radically in the second half of the 20th century with the introduction of new medical technologies aimed at both preventing and assisting human reproduction.
Pregnant at 15, Samantha Yakubu* is in a fix. The 16-year-old boy she claims was responsible for her pregnancy has refused to accept her version of events, insisting that he was “not the only one who slept with her”.
Barbara Kemigisa used to call herself an “HIV/AIDS campaigner”. These days she would rather be known as an “HIV/AIDS family planning campaigner”.
Beatrice Njeri had just come home from her job as a janitor at a primary school in Nairobi. It was August 2009.
In the rush to save babies from HIV infection and treat their mothers, experts warn that a key element of HIV prevention is being neglected in Africa – contraceptives for HIV positive women.
As the United Nations continues negotiations on a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for its post-2015 development agenda, population experts are hoping reproductive health will be given significant recognition in the final line-up of the goals later this year.
What does gorilla conservation have in common with the provision of contraceptives to women? How does rural-urban migration contribute to global warming? What does city planning in Kenya have to do with coastal erosion in the Philippines?
On Thursday, the international community recognises World Population Day, a time of assessment, discussion and projections for the future that necessarily gives great weight to the rights of women and girls and particularly their sexual and reproductive health.
“If I am thirsty and want a bottle of Coca-Cola I can get it, no matter where in the world I am. Why can’t I get contraceptives or sexual heathcare?” asked Carlos Jimmy Macazana Quispe, a youth representative from Peru currently in Kuala Lumpur for the third edition of the Women Deliver global conference on the "health and well-being of women and girls."
Every three years since 2007, a global advocacy organisation called Women Deliver
has convened an international conference to talk about issues relating to the health and well-being of girls and women.
Victoria J. married in 2009 at age 14, and became pregnant shortly after. “I started labour in the morning on a Friday …. The nurse kept checking and saying I would deliver safely. On Monday she said I was weak.
A 25-year-old mother of five hailing from Senegal’s eastern Tambacounda province believes that contraceptives damage the womb and cause health problems in the long term, such as a rise in blood pressure and chronic headaches.