Shocking to find this article in The Lancet. Shocking for this issue to raise its ugly head in the the 21st century. Beware of the backlash folks. LB
25 years of progress in strengthening the rights of women to equitable access to health services are now under threat. At the UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS, held in New York last month, those determined to stop progress for women achieved notable victories. In a recent newsletter forwarded to members of Family Watch International, a network dedicated to conservative causes (such as fighting abortion), lobbyists proclaimed success in “removing many harmful provisions” and replacing these with stigmatising propaganda.
And they largely succeeded in their mission. The UN buckled. Conservatives hailed their victory in removing all references to comprehensive sexuality education. Their success was such that in the literature they distributed after the UN meeting, they were able to stigmatise those living with AIDS as “active agents in spreading the disease”.
Thankfully, some countries are fighting to challenge this thinking. The US Government, for example, issued guidance last month on requirements for women, girls, and gender equality in their Global Health Initiative programmes. Ten key elements are set out, including participation of women and girls in health programmes, targeting of gender-based violence, empowering girls through education, promoting policies and laws that improve gender equality and health status, and addressing the economic, social, legal, and cultural barriers to progress for women.