2012 Was a Year for Women and Girls: Will We See the Same Momentum in 2013?

2012 Was a Year for Women and Girls

This story was originally posted on The Huffington Post and also can be found at Women Deliver.

In March of this year, on International Women's Day, I asked, "Is 2012 the Year for Women and Girls?" Now, as we enter 2013, I find myself looking back on my call for stronger partnerships, more global coalitions and wondering, Are those enough?

2012 was a year for women. We saw tremendous renewal of the commitment by world leaders to ensure that countries and communities have the political support and financial resources needed to improve access to sexual and reproductive health. Many thanks are due to passionate champions such as Melinda Gates, Hillary Clinton, David Cameron, as well as Mary Robinson, Gro Bruntlandt, and countless international, national, and grassroots leaders.

I have witnessed with great admiration the breakthroughs in countries such as the Philippines, which just this month passed a bill ensuring the right of all its citizens to access family planning information and services regardless of economic status or other social disparities.

2012 gave all of us cause to celebrate with the news that globally, maternal mortality rates are beginning to decline, albeit more gradually than we would like to see. It is astounding that maternal mortality rates have decreased by almost 50% over the past 20 years. And that is not the only health indicator going in the right direction. 2012 also brought the confirmation that new worldwide HIV infections are down considerably. Indeed, we have made as much progress in halting new infections over the past two years as we did over the preceding decade!

And 2012 was most certainly a year for girls, and all young people. Repeatedly this year, we have seen the voices and needs of youth breaking through the tangle of competing priorities. In April, the UN Commission on Population and Development adopted a historic resolution on adolescents and youth at its 45th session held in New York. Building on this foundation, 2012 is likely to be remembered as a landmark year when the fundamental freedoms and rights of young people to decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their own sexual and reproductive health is finally recognized by the international community.

This achievement gained strength and affirmation again in June at the Rio+20 Conference, and most recently in Bali when young people from around the world gathered at the Global Youth Forum to discuss what they wanted on the international agenda for youth. The call was clear. Recommendations include access to safe, legal, accessible abortion for youth without judgment; non-discrimination and protection for LBGTQI and a clear call for sexual rights. Kudos to the incredible young people and advocates who made this happen!
 
But, as I reflect on 2012, I must admit that I believe we need something else if we want to see real progress. We need the kind of progress toward universal sexual and reproductive health and rights that will make the tragedy of Savita Halappanavar's death unimaginable, not just in Ireland, but in every country. As I reflect on all of this progress, I am still left wondering: will this momentum carry into 2013? Leadership at all levels stepped up -- from civil society to governments, global coalitions to individuals. But, as I reflect on 2012, I must admit that I believe we need something else if we want to see real progress. We need the kind of progress toward universal sexual and reproductive health and rights that will make the tragedy of Savita Halappanavar's death unimaginable, not just in Ireland, but in every country.

We may not be able to prevent the death of every single woman who dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, but we can and should be doing everything possible to ensure that women survive by ensuring access to family planning services and skilled care during pregnancy, and access to abortion services and post-abortion care.

We also need to garner support for funding interventions that will save lives, including funding for contraceptive services and education. It should be untenable for leaders in any country to cut funding for these life-saving interventions as a means to resolve budget deficits.

Taking on the challenge to further advance the progress we have made on sexual and reproductive health and rights will mean that we have to tackle the most difficult barriers: profound gender inequality, and a failure to understand that reproductive rights lie at the center of most development and human-rights obstacles. We cannot make progress as individuals or as a society if we cannot first and foremost make decisions about our own bodies.

So, let us take up that challenge. Let us celebrate that 2012 was a year for women and girls, be inspired by the courage of our global champions, of the youth who are advocating for themselves and making themselves part of the debate, of the unnamed women fighting for their rights in remote regions of the world each and every day. Let us also do what we can in our own ways to assert and protect the rights of all people to determine their own sexual and reproductive health. This year has instilled a renewed energy in me to take this effort to the next level. I hope it will inspire the same in you.

Focus Area: Advocacy

Purnima Mane

Purnima Mane is Pathfinder's President and Chief Executive Officer. She oversees more than 1,000 staff around the world, an annual budget exceeding $100 million, and sexual and reproductive health programs in more than 20 developing countries.

Leave a Comment

* Change

Comments

Doberman puppies for sale in georgia Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here. Canal Winchester
JOHN November 23, 2014
for leaders in any country to cut funding for these life-saving interventions as a means to resolve budget deficits. archive
archive November 23, 2014
which just this month passed a bill ensuring the right of all its citizens to access family planning information and services regardless of economic status or other social disparities. ure til mænd
ure til mænd November 23, 2014
I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work. visit http://www.cleaninghouselondon.org.uk/
sha November 23, 2014
martial arts Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here. Buy facebook fan page likes
JOHN November 22, 2014
Hello! I just wish to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice info you've got right here on this post. I will probably be coming back to your weblog for more soon. Karate
Ahsan November 22, 2014
Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include Robert McKee
alex November 22, 2014
The call was clear. Recommendations include access to safe, legal, accessible abortion for youth without judgment; non-discrimination and protection for LBGTQI and a clear call for sexual rights. Kudos to the incredible young people and advocates who made this happen! https://www.rebelmouse.com/heartburnnomorejeffmartin
https://www.rebelmouse.com/heartburnnomorejeffmartin November 22, 2014
This is a wonderful article, Given so much info in it, These type of articles keeps the users interest in the website, and keep on sharing more ... good luck. Screenwriting
alex November 22, 2014
Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include baju gamis syari
alex November 22, 2014
young people to decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their own sexual and reproductive health is finally recognized by the international community. http://rebelmouse.com/
http://rebelmouse.com/ November 22, 2014
This is a wonderful article, Given so much info in it, These type of articles keeps the users interest in the website, and keep on sharing more ... good luck. buy instagram followers
alex November 22, 2014
profound gender inequality, and a failure to understand that reproductive rights lie at the center of most development and human-rights obstacles. We cannot make progress as individuals or as a society if we cannot first and foremost make decisions about our own bodies. rebelmouse
rebelmouse November 22, 2014
I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. Thanks for posting this info.We are really grateful for your blog post. http://bloodpressuresolutionreviewkenburge.blogspot.com/2014/11/blood-pressure-solution-review.html
Name November 21, 2014
Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zXDziKdpFk&list=UU4F7htDMDMz3a1O-IlhUwvw
Ahsan November 20, 2014
The call was clear. Recommendations include access to safe, legal, accessible abortion for youth without judgment; non-discrimination and protection for LBGTQI and a clear call for sexual rights. Kudos to the incredible young people and advocates who made this happen! https://rebelmouse.com/truthfatburningfoodsreview/
https://rebelmouse.com/truthfatburningfoodsreview/ November 20, 2014
We also need to garner support for funding interventions that will save lives, including funding for contraceptive services and education. It should be untenable for leaders in any country to cut funding for these life-saving interventions as a means to resolve budget deficits. wood-fired pizza oven
wood-fired pizza oven November 20, 2014
We also need to garner support for funding interventions that will save lives, including funding for contraceptive services and education. It should be untenable for leaders in any country to cut funding for these life-saving interventions as a means to resolve budget deficits. san antonio pest control
san antonio pest control November 20, 2014
home interior design Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, Cleaning services Chicago lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here. recycle clothes
JOHN November 20, 2014
I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! kids karate abacoa
Ahsan November 19, 2014
Scroll to top