The United Nations released a groundbreaking new report today highlighting substantial, yet unequal and uneven, progress in global health, rights, and development. Fewer women are dying in childbirth than ever before, HIV infection rates have declined, and more girls are receiving an education. Research has proven that when girls are educated, families are healthier and countries are more economically prosperous.
Despite this correlation and the monumental impacts of girls and women on global development, gender inequality, gender-based violence, and the marginalization of under-represented groups continue to serve as tremendous obstacles to further progress. In particular, individuals with disabilities, those from indigenous groups, and those who are LGBT have faced persistent discrimination.
“We cannot afford to wait another 20 years to address the inequalities plaguing our collective well-being,” said UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin. “The time to act is now. Development gains should not be limited to the fortunate; they should reach all populations.”
The report will serve as a jumping-off point for key discussions on the future development framework. More than 200 recommendations are presented, aiming to further reduce maternal deaths, to end all forms of violence against girls and women, and to end gender-based discrimination. The report also calls for greater access to contraceptive services and to sexuality education for young people.
“We must do our part to protect adolescent girls’ right to access sexual and reproductive health services,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “The report provides compelling evidence that sexual and reproductive health and rights are fundamental to achieving individual well-being, lower population growth, and sustained economic growth. To ensure women have a stake in their future, governments must enforce the rights of adolescent girls.”
To read the report, click here.
Flickr photo via Diganta Talukdar