Mark the Day! May 28 2016

May 28, International Day of Action for Women’s Health
Our Health, Our Rights, Our Lives!

For over 30 years, women’s rights advocates and allies have mobilized all over the world on May 28(1), the International Day of Action for Women’s Health. This year, WGNRR encourages its members, partners and allies worldwide to organize actions in their communities and advocate for women ’s(2) comprehensive health and wellbeing, particularly their unmet sexual and reproductive rights.

With the recent adoption of Agenda 2030(3), 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.

We not only need commitment but meaningful implementation from governments to address the diverse nature of women’s sexual and reproductive health issues, and uphold our rights to decide freely upon all aspects of our body, our sexuality and our lives, free form coercion, discrimination and violence. While Agenda 2030 includes commendable commitments, there is a continued need for action at grassroots and community levels to draw attention to women and girls’ unmet SRHR, including their access to safe and legal abortion services, access to a range of voluntary contraceptives, and access to comprehensive sexuality education, among many others.

When states fail to fully recognize sexual and reproductive rights, they not only compromise women’s health: they both tolerate and endorse institutional and structural violence towards women and girls, abusing their human rights and perpetuating their exclusion. As such, May 28 is a great opportunity to undertake community actions and remind world leaders that Women’s Health Matters, and that through Agenda 2030 governments must ensure a comprehensive, inclusive, and rights-based approach to women’s and girls’ health, accounting for the full spectrum of our sexual and reproductive health issues, needs, and rights.

Mobilize, Speak Out, and Take Action – visit www.may28.org for past years’ materials and ideas of what to do in your communities!


[1] May 28th is a Day of Action recognized internationally wherein any organisation or individual can mobilise their communities around their own priority topic best suiting the local context. Any organisation working to advance women’s health rights is welcome to launch May 28th activities, in the aim of ensuring women’s health and well-being worldwide, particularly in terms of their SRHR.

[2] While we use the term ‘woman/women’ we do so with a critical reflexivity that recognizes the nuances and right to people’s unique sexual and gender identities and expressions.  We also recognize that ‘women’ are not a monolithic group and that they have diverse identities that vary due to their social location and the socio-economic, political, and multicultural contexts in which their lives are embedded.

[3] Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015).