Leaders from the Center for Reproductive Rights participated in two sessions at the United Nations as it commemorated International Women’s Day on March 8 in New York.
At the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council, three statements were delivered in honor of the day and to recognize the global struggles of women and girls, condemn efforts to marginalize women, and call for gender equality.
Associate Director of Global Advocacy Paola Daher delivered the Center’s statement on behalf of 10 civil society organizations, highlighting the need to remain united and grow transnational solidarity in the face of the increasing backlash against women’s and girls’ rights. The statement honored women human rights defenders and activists in their fight for gender equality and called on States to respect and fulfill their commitment to this issue.
“It’s been over 100 years since the first International Women’s Day, yet women, girls, and people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics are still mobilizing around their right to make decisions over their own bodies; to live free of the harmful gender stereotypes patriarchy imposes on them; and to claim their right to gender equality,” said Daher, shown left.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk and Permanent Representative of Mexico Francisca E. Méndez Escobar also delivered statements.
“We’re witnessing a many-pronged effort to control women’s sexuality and choices about their own bodies by restricting and even criminalizing sexual and reproductive rights—particularly access to safe and legal termination of pregnancy,” Türk said in his statement. “Women’s rights are about the core of what it is to be human: respect for an individual’s freedom to make choices.”
UN Side Event: Technology and the Future of Gender Equality and SRHR
Also on March 8, the Center and Fòs Feminista hosted a side event to the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women titled “Unlocking the Future of Gender Equality and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Through Technology.” Moderated by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Spain, Nepal and Luxembourg, the event explored how emerging technologies can expand access to reproductive health information and services.
Jihan Jacob, the Center’s senior legal adviser for Asia, shown below, spoke on the panel, discussing the impacts of assisted reproductive technology in Asia. “These technological and medical advancements are relevant for the respect, protection, and fulfillment of SRHR, particularly on deciding if, when, and how often to have children,” Jacob said.