The Women Deliver conference (www.womendeliver.org), is running June 7-9 2010 and the GAB team is present! It is a global meeting on maternal and reproductive health and the advancement of women and girls. Tune in today, tomorrow, and Wednesday for live updates directly from the conference floor.
Challenges to Meeting the Unmet Need for Contraception
The question that this afternoon’s panel sought to answer was that, statistically speaking, if so many women did not want to have an unplanned pregnancy, why were almost the same amount not using contraception? Dr Akin Bankole, Director of International Research of the Guttmacher Institute approached the microphone first to list the various obstacles involved: women do not use contraception because they do not believe the method is safe and are often worried about side affects. Access is also a key issue–many are not able to acquire affordable and safe contraception. Infrequent sex was another reason given by women who filled in the survey–if they hardly went to bed with their partner, what was the point of going on contraceptives? Finally, being opposed to the idea of contraception in general (whether for religious reasons or otherwise) was the fourth reason listed.
To provide solutions for the reasons he listed above, Bankole stressed the need for women to have as many different contraceptive options as possible in order to match their individual needs. He also called for the continuous improvement of contraceptive technology and that health and side-effects need to be addressed to these women so that they are able to disentangle fact from fiction.
Carmen Barroso, Director of Western Hemisphere Region of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), added that “young women feel a lack of entitlement to education and health services” and that because there is such a strong resistence to recognize young women’s human rights, there are 2.5 million unsafe abortions among adolescents.
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), spoke of the power of advocacy groups and implored activists to build a global advocacy movement–sharing knowledge on a global scale is the key mandate that Oxford’s Global Voices hopes to fixate.
“Every woman in this country deserves free access to every contraceptive option of her choice.” – Cecile Richards
Proud to be Canadian?
While walking past the Speaker’s Corner podium (which is a small stage where anyone can go up behind a microphone to express his or her views on a particular topic), a woman* who was just finishing up her speech on the upcoming G8 conference heckled me for being Canadian. Admittedly, it was in jest, though it says a lot about how people now view the once progressive Canada. With that said, Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation of Canada, will be stopping by for the lunch talk tomorrow so stay tuned for the report on that. Should be interesting.
*when I talked to her afterward (to find out why she was picking on me) she introduced herself as one of the contributors of Half the Sky (chapter 8 I believe). I thought that was pretty neat.
Quotes from the floor
There’s often so much going on at this conference that all I can do is to write down a quick snippet that seems to encapsulate the message of the wide range of sessions.
So here are a few of those:
Education is transformative.
Men and boys may or may not be part of the problem, but they are certainly part of the solution.
The policies of the law are gendered.
Where we can see results, we should invest in scaling up.
If one woman dies of preventable causes, then it is one too much.
Progress is led by momentum.
Where will be in 2015? Nowhere if we don’t have political will.
There isn’t a magical solution, we already know what we need to do (on making contraception accessible).
If the potential of women is fully developed, then everybody benefits.
Every individual has the right to plan their families.
Photos from the floor
(all photos via Women Deliver/Samuel Hurd)