CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF ADOLESCENCE (CSA)

Are we on the Right Path to Achieving Gender Equality?

International Women’s Day

 

In the spirit of commemorating International Women’s Day, we stand on the shoulders of those who fought for the freedom and rights we enjoy today. Acknowledging their boldness, we deeply reflect on the remarkable progress in the ongoing struggle for gender equality.

Historically, women have faced significant challenges and restrictions regarding reproductive rights. The recognition and protection of reproductive rights for women have evolved, and there have been periods in history when women did not enjoy the same level of autonomy and rights over their reproductive health as they do today.

What are the limitations women have faced in accessing Sexual Reproductive Health Services?

 

Some of the limitations women have faced include access to contraception, constraining women’s ability to plan and control their reproductive choices. In the pre-legalization era, women often turned to unsafe and illegal abortions, risking their lives due to the lack of legal options. Additionally, inadequate sex education left many women uninformed about their reproductive health and family planning options. Not to forget the forced sterilization that was imposed on women, particularly those considered undesirable, as part of eugenic practices, violating their reproductive autonomy.

There was discrimination in healthcare settings that further exacerbated the situation, with some women undergoing medical procedures without informed consent. Maternal mortality rates were adversely affected by limited access to quality prenatal care and safe childbirth practices. Furthermore, societal norms and cultural expectations imposed constraints on women’s reproductive choices, subjecting them to judgment and stigma in matters of family planning and reproductive health.

Today and every day, we acknowledge the milestone of how far we have made it in the fight for gender equality. Despite efforts and progress, there is a pressing need for increased investment in the battle for gender equality. The key stakeholders should invest in the foundations that empower women to navigate their destinies with autonomy and agency.

Promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) is integral to advancing gender equality. This can be done by addressing historical disparities and empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their reproductive lives. Access to SRH information and services fosters autonomy among women, enabling them to make choices aligned with their personal and reproductive rights. Comprehensive SRH education not only raises awareness about reproductive rights, gender-based violence, and safe sexual practices but also equips individuals to challenge prevailing gender norms and discriminatory practices.

What can you do to help?

 

Ensuring accessible and quality healthcare services, including maternal and reproductive healthcare, contributes to women’soverall health and well-being, enhancing their participation in education and employment. By reducing gender-based violence and enabling economic empowerment through family planning, SRH initiatives actively contribute to dismantling gender inequalities.

Some of the initiatives that can be employed include implementing comprehensive sex education, ensuring accessible healthcare services, advocating for legal reforms, engaging communities in open conversations, empowering marginalized groups, fostering partnerships for policy changes, and leveraging media for accurate information dissemination.

Our focus centers on critical areas of investment contributing to dismantling societal norms perpetuating violence and discrimination. Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) emerges as a cornerstone, providing women and girls with the knowledge and autonomy they need over their bodies. It is an investment that lays the foundation for informed choices, actively reshaping societal norms.

What are we doing to help?

 

As an organization committed to advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and contributing to the broader goal of gender equality, we are dedicated to implementing key actions to advance gender equality. We commit to designing, implementing, and supporting comprehensive sex education programs, especially among adolescents and young people, that challenge stereotypes, foster healthy relationships, and empower individuals with knowledge about reproductive health and gender equality.

Additionally, we pledge to continue advocating for accessible, affordable, quality healthcare services free from discrimination. Our commitment extends to research and Legal Advocacy, engaging in efforts to support and promote laws that protect reproductive rights, prevent gender-based violence, and ensure equal opportunities.

We are enthusiastically open to collaborations and partnerships with like-minded organizations, advocates, and stakeholders who share our commitment to advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) to achieve gender equality. Together, we can amplify our impact, pool resources, and foster innovative solutions that address the multifaceted challenges faced by individuals, particularly women, in realizing their reproductive rights.

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