Substantive Equality and Reproductive Rights: A Briefing Paper on Aligning Development Goals with Human Rights Obligations

International human rights norms have recognized that reproductive rights are women’s rights, clarifying that violations of reproductive rights are primarily manifestations of discrimination, poverty, and violence. Where women’s rights to equality and non-discrimination are not fulfilled, women’s access to reproductive health services and decision-making about their reproductive lives is limited. In addition, where women are unable to access reproductive health services, the inequalities and discrimination women face are exacerbated by the differentiated impact that childbearing has on women’s health and lives, including education and employment. 

Over the next two years, states have an opportunity to address the root causes of gender inequality by ensuring that gender equality and reproductive rights are reflected in development programs. This briefing paper provides concrete recommendations to states about how they can integrate international human rights norms surrounding reproductive rights and gender equality specifically into the development framework that comes out of the Post-2015 Agenda.