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).
Youth SRHR priorities at CSW62
We call on governments to prioritise sexual and reproductive health and rights of all young rural women and girls, and take the following four steps to ensure that their rights are protected and upheld:
1. Eliminate inequalities
2. Youth-friendly services
3. Comprehensive Sexuality Education
4. Meaningful Youth Participation
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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 our Right Here Right Now position paper here
‘Speak up, Speak Out’ event at CSW62
15th March 2018. Hosted by Right Here Right Now, & Women Deliver CHOICE for Youth & Sexuality, Dance4Life, the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network.
At CSW62 in New York, youth advocates from Right Here, Right Now! and Women Deliver put on an informal, interactive evening reception, full of storytelling and spoken word. Watch below to hear the stories that were told.
What is SRHR?
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) encompass all of the rights and issues surrounding a person’s sexual and reproductive life.
SRHR is closely linked with many internationally recognized human rights, such as the right to privacy, the right to education and information, the right to bodily integrity, the right to equality, freedom from violence and all forms of discrimination, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health.
Why is this important?
“1. We as young people have a fundamental right to decide on issues that concern us directly, as is guaranteed under Articles 12 and 13 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Therefore, it is imperative that we are meaningfully involved in the design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs that affect us.
2. We currently have the world’s largest population of young people. Girls and young women ages 15-24 are also the group most vulnerable to HIV infection.
3. The SRHR of young people are more important than ever, and the health and wellbeing of young people has immense implications for our future.”
What is CSW?
(Video by CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality and UN Women)
What can I do to help?
If you are at CSW, come speak to our youth advocates and their partner organisations.
What is Right Here Right Now?
Right Here Right Now (RHRN) is a five-year programme, with a global strategic partnership that is active in ten countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, including the Caribbean sub region. Our partnership envisions a world where all young people are able to access quality and youth-friendly health services, and are not afraid to openly express who they are and who they love. We believe that young people everywhere have the inalienable right to make their own choices, and lead happy and healthy lives. Right Here Right Now is being implemented globally by a consortium of eight organisations: Rutgers Netherlands, HIVOS, Dance4Life, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region, the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre of Women, the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. It is being coordinated by Rutgers Netherlands.