Gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women will not be possible without the realisation of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
SRHR services are critical for women and girls to have healthy lives, to address violence and power relations in their lives, to be free to participate in social, economic and political life, and to freely make decisions governing their bodies. Barriers in access to services and information, especially for women and girls living in poverty, impact on their ability to exercise free choice and participate meaningfully across social, economic and political life. Sexual and reproductive health services and information about sexuality are crucial to ensure the fulfillment of the right of sexual self-determination for everyone, without discrimination on the basis of sexual expression, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. For gender equality to be achieved, all women and girls must have universal access to quality services, information and education regarding SRHR.
The development of the Gender Action Plan (GAP III) is an unique opportunity for the EU to continue promoting gender equality in EU external policies and fight to the fulfillment of SRHR globally. How can the GAP support the health and safety of women and girls? Here are our recommendations for EU policy makers which take into account the devastating impact of COVID-19 on access to care and treatment.
Photo credit: IPPF_Isabel Corthier_Mozambique