Day of action for sexual and reproductive health rightsJon
FPA’s YAC is supporting the IPPF’s demand for a greater focus on SRHR in global policy decision-making.
This month we took part in a global day of action and helped launch IPPF’s #idecide campaign. Coinciding with a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health we were able to highlight the campaign to Parliamentarians and representatives from other sexual health organisations.
Luciana Berger, shadow minister for public health, Andrea Duncan, programme manager for the sexual health team at the Department of Health, and Dr Jacqueline Sharpe, the chairperson of the board for IPPF were all guest speakers, and we at YAC were very excited to hear from these influential women.
Luciana Berger showed her full support for the importance of prioritising sexual health and reiterated the Labour party’s pledge to make sex and relationships education compulsory in all schools. Giving an overview of the challenges that have faced services over the past year, she said economic difficulties did not excuse cuts to sexual health funding.
“If people are serious about equality and social justice then sexual health must be at the top of their agenda.”
Of course, the proof is in the pudding and we will have to see what the General Election next year brings.
Andrea Duncan’s explanation of how sexual health services are commissioned provided a much better understanding for YAC members, and she said there is much work to be developed from the results of the recent NATSAL (National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles) – the biggest study of its kind in the world.
She said the results would be used by the Department of Health to determine trends and areas of behaviour and attitudes that need to be addressed.
It was a privilege to hear from Dr Jacqueline Sharpe, who is the representative for the IPPF in the western hemisphere. She told us the moving story of a 13-year-old girl from Jamaica who became pregnant after being raped, and was forced into marriage by her family.
Angela’s story reminded us that, despite our own concerns about sexual health in the UK, not everyone has the opportunity to choose their life path, to choose their future and to have control over their own body. Of course her story is not uncommon and is a familiar situation to many girls around the world. But Jacqueline was clear that poverty cannot be reduced without the implementation of significant sexual and reproductive health programmes.
Through our part in IPPF’s day of action, we collected more than 50 signatures for the #idecide campaign. But it doesn’t stop here and YAC will continue to draw the attention of MPs and MEPs across the UK to this vital work.
We support IPPF in its aim to make a difference and make a stand for women and girls rights everywhere; to give women and girls the opportunity across the world to say decide what happens to my body’ and decide my future’.
We are looking forward to attending more IPPF events, in particular the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative Global Summit. From June 10 to 13, the event is co-chaired by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
We at YAC look forward to working with IPPF to raise awareness and make a difference in the world of sexual health.
FPA team intern and Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) member Verity Pooke reports back from a day of action for sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR).