Population Matters

Call for focus on women’s health

Call for focus on women’s health

WGNRR March 8 statement

Re-situating women’s health: advocating for a holistic approach to and inclusion of SRHR in the post-2015 development agenda

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8th 2014, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) urgently calls for the international community to holistically address women’s[1] unmet health needs, and recognize sexual and reproductive rights as human rights.

For decades, women’s rights activists have advocated and fought for the positioning of women’s health and sexual and reproductive rights as a top priority in sustainable development strategies and programmes. While considerable gains have been made, over the past few years it has become increasingly apparent that a worrisome complacency has developed in relation to women’s health. Donors, governments, media and the general public alike seem to consider women’s health as an issue that has been given its deserved attention and “lip service,” with other development issues perceived to be pressing and new now getting more of the spotlight. Yet, as advocates and activists in the field know, there remains so much work to be done in terms of fully realizing women’s health and wellbeing in its most holistic sense, where it is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, but is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.”[2] In light of the current Post-2015 processes taking place, there is an urgent need to undertake collective efforts and ensure that women’s health is given its due attention among the new set of development goals.

We firmly believe that when states undermine women and girls’ health through the denial of sexual and reproductive rights, they both tolerate and endorse institutional violence towards women and girls, abusing their human rights and perpetuating their marginalization and social exclusion. In turn, the denial of SRHR impedes women and girls from fully contributing to inclusive sustainable development, as well as sharing equitably in its outcomes.In light of these realities, we call on the international community to recognize the realization of women’s health as an imperative for human rights and sustainable development, and ensure the holistic inclusion and protection of SRHR and women’s health within the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

WGNRR statement

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