right here right now at the csw
The Commission on the Status of Women is taking place right now from 12-23 March in New York. CHOICE will also be present as part of the Right Here Right Now program to advocate for sexual and reproductive rights for young women and girls in rural areas.
Young women and girls living in rural areas, diverse in their identities and situations, are united in many of the issues they face. Around the world young rural women and girls remain particularly vulnerable to violence, stigma and discrimination. Right Here Right Now spent two months conducting online and in-person consultations with young rural women and girls in eight countries, capturing the realities of four regions, as respondents expressed their thoughts on and personal experiences of attaining their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
Young rural women and girls face significant barriers in accessing the essential sexual and reproductive health services and commodities they need. Barriers are formed by various factors, such as: long distance from the health facilities, lack of preferred and high costs of service, poorly trained medical staff, confidentiality issues, long waiting hours, work and family obligations and the constant fear of stigmatization and discrimination. These barriers are strongest for young rural women and girls when obtaining safe abortion services, even in areas where legislative barriers are absent. Due to access issues and a strong fear of stigmatisation, many women resort to seeking unsafe abortion services despite being knowledgeable of the risk affiliated with this action, which can contribute to maternal mortality. Many young rural women and girls have no awareness of their fundamental SRHR. This is caused by lack of access to evidence- and human rights-based comprehensive sexuality information, even as it relates to good menstrual hygiene. Absent is often also the availability of full range of contraceptives and the ability to choose their preferred choice of contraceptive method and counseling, as a result they are unable to make informed choices and decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
The results are devastating; young rural women who cannot access comprehensive information and inclusive services, experience higher rates of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, early and forced marriage, and maternal mortality from complications during childbirth or from unsafe abortions.
Download the full Right Here Right Now position paper.
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