This list just scratches the surface of this big ole wrap up we’ve been working on at the International Women’s Health Coalition. For all the details, including info about the next steps for all of these wins (because any gain in sexual health and reproductive rights shouldn’t be taken for granted) – click here. If you want to read away from your computer screen, you have the option of downloading a word or PDF doc too.
1. New U.S. Administration offers hope for women and girls
The election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States provides an opportunity to uphold human rights, promote health for all, and change the future of millions. Womenâ€™s health and rights advocates in every corner of the world expressed excitement and hopefulness.
2. A new “Mexico City policy” leads the way on comprehensive sexuality education
Prior to the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City in August, health and education ministers from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean pledged to invest in comprehensive sexuality education and increase access to health services to strengthen the regionâ€™s HIV/AIDS response. The resulting Mexico City Declaration on Sex Education in Latin America and the Caribbean was unanimously endorsed.
3. U.S. citizens turn back attempts to restrict abortion access
In November, U.S. voters overwhelmingly rejected ballot measures to restrict access to safe abortion in South Dakota, Colorado, and California. In April, the Council of Europe called for all 47 member countries to make abortion safe and legal.
4. Indian government puts the power of prevention in women’s hands
This year, Indiaâ€™s National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) will provide sex workers in four states with about 1.5 million female condoms, which is the only woman-initiated HIV prevention technology currently available.
5. Clinton Global Initiative prioritizes adolescent girls
At the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in September, longtime IWHC partner Bene Madunagu, head of the Girlâ€™s Power Initiative (GPI) in Nigeria, spoke to the need for comprehensive sexuality education programs for the 1.5 billion people in the world today between the ages of 10 and 25.
6. Women’s advocates secure advances in Ecuadorian Constitution
After a year of negotiations, Ecuadorâ€™s Constitution now says that young people must receive sexuality education and that the State has an obligation to provide sexual and reproductive health services to its people.
7. Colombia’s high court rules on the side of science – and women’s rights
In June, the highest administrative court in Colombia ruled that the sexual and reproductive health services provider Profamilia can continue to import and distribute emergency contraception (EC)â€”in accordance with womenâ€™s right to access a full range of safe and effective contraceptive methods.
8. Connecticut, Colombia, and others stand strong for sexual rights
This year, Connecticut joined Massachusetts in legally recognizing same-sex marriages. Internationally, a Colombian court extended pension benefits to same-sex partners, acknowledging that to exclude them would violate the principles of non-discrimination and human dignity.
9. U.S. states prioritize youth health over ideology
In 2008, the number of U.S. states refusing to participate in the federal governmentâ€™s abstinence-only-until marriage education program (Title V) reached 25, as state governments recognize what research and evaluations have repeatedly shown: abstinence-only programs are ineffective.
10. Muslim women in the United Kingdom granted equal rights in marriage
Muslim leaders in the United Kingdom succeeded in creating a new marriage contract under Shariaâ€™h law that gives husbands and wives equal rights, after four years of negotiations. The new contract no longer permits men to practice polygamy and grants women the right to initiate divorce.