May 26, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 28 – International Day of Action for Women’s Health – On this day, women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) organizations and communities raise awareness of the critical, intersecting issues that threaten SRHR and justice. Activists hold governments and global institutions accountable and demand actions to ensure holistic, inclusive, and human rights-based approaches to the health of women and girls in all their diversity.
Since 1987, women’s rights activists have commemorated May 28 as the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, as a means to speak out on SRHR issues faced by women and girls all over the world. Activists and allies take action and speak up for the right to health, bodily autonomy, and reproductive justice for what they are: inalienable, indivisible components of the human rights of women and girls in all their diversity. Countless actions are undertaken yearly, thousands of campaigners worldwide mobilize, and millions are reached through various initiatives.
The 2023 Call to Action highlighted that an attack on SRHR anywhere attacks all rights everywhere and asserts that addressing critical issues is a matter of globally concerted efforts, multisectoral and intersectional collaboration, and seeking accountability on a global scale.
“For over 35 years, the challenges obstructing the full realization of women’s rights, health, and well-being remain varied, often neglected, and unaddressed, and a disturbing paradigm has persisted,” said Marevic Parcon of the Philippine-based Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR).
The call to action cited how the drivers of anti-rights and anti-choice agendas are emboldened and growing tenaciously as more rollbacks on SRHR and justice are introduced. Each attack sends a chilling effect from one corner of the world to the next, causing harm and undermining human rights and freedoms everywhere else.
Among the issues cited was the Anti-LGBTI+ Bill in Uganda. Hivos – South Africa shares how it may cascade around the continent; “within the East African region, this bill or similar versions of it is being replicated in other countries,” says Tinoashira Chikuni, Program Officer at Hivos.
Another was the anti-choice groups in the post-Roe United States, rallying to pass different forms of abortion restriction. May 28 campaign partners express concern over how these may threaten the health and lives of people needing abortions, especially those without the financial capacity to travel to areas with safe abortion provisions.
“Despite the attacks on our rights, we keep advancing SRHR. We persist in the face of regressions. Today, we are reminded of the gains won by diverse social movements worldwide. The progress in health and rights is the result of our collective actions and mobilizations from the local communities to the global levels. And alongside celebrations are strong measures to protect these gains and persist against attacks and regressions,” added Marevic Parcon.
At the forefront of the movement are young people, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, people of color, migrant workers, impoverished communities, and indigenous people, among many other advocates of intersecting identities. Their persistence has won foundational and landmark milestones for SRHR and justice.
These include the decriminalization of abortion and expansion of access to safe abortion methods. Many states have legalized same-sex marriage and granted full adoption rights to same-sex couples. Health systems are transforming to be more inclusive and responsive of the healthcare needs of trans people and gender non-conforming individuals. These positive developments serve as guiding posts as many others fight against the systemic repressions of health and rights.May 28 demonstrates how contexts, progress, and challenges differ. But for so long as there are violations of SRHR and denial of justice somewhere in the world, our voices, actions, and demands are toward the same: uphold women’s health and rights now! Advance SRHR and persist in the face of regressions!
Campaign and Communications Officer, WGNRRcommunications@wgnrr.org | +639959625692