Our Health, Our Rights, Our Lives!

Women's Health Matters

May 28 is the International Day of Action for Women’s Health. May 28th has been commemorated by women ’s health advocates and their communities since 1987 and has been crucial in the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) movement building. May 28 provides a great opportunity to remind our government leaders that Women’s Health Matters.

With the recent adoption of Agenda 2030, governments have acknowledged gender equality and women’s empowerment as crucial to sustainable development, while reaffirming the outcomes from the ICPD Programme of Action and the Beijing Platform for Action. Central to women’s empowerment, however, is the respect, protection, and fulfilment of the human rights of women and girls in all their dimensions, including their sexual and reproductive rights, and acknowledging the actual needs of all women and girls in all their diversities!

About the Campaign

May 28, 2015 Recap

Examples of Institutional Violence

Denial of abortion

The denial of the right to access safe and legal abortion services

The systemic denial of women’s right to access safe and legal abortion services, and/or the criminalization of abortion is one of the most severe examples of institutional violence in regards of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Forced sterilization

Forced or coerced sterilizations

Forced and coerced sterilizations are grave violations of human rights and medical ethics and constitute acts of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, as recognized by Human Rights Bodies. Nevertheless, women across the globe have been forced or coerced by medical personnel to submit to permanent and irreversible sterilization procedures.


Obstetric violence

Obstetric violence is a specific type of violation of women’s rights, including the rights to equality, freedom from discrimination, information, integrity, health, and reproductive autonomy. It occurs both in public and private medical practice during health care related to pregnancy, childbirth, and post-partum and is a multi-factorial context of institutional and gender violence.

Denial of contraceptives

The denial of access to contraceptives including emergency contraception

Restrictions on access to contraceptives and abortion threaten women’s fundamental human rights to life, health and equality. Every woman has the right to decide when and if she wants to have a child. Denied access to contraception, emergency contraception and safe abortion services is a solid example of institutional violence.