May 28th is celebrated as the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, which marks 32 years of struggle, activism, and awareness for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Women, girls, allies, and advocates have spent years taking part in a number of campaigns for women's rights with regard to healthcare.
With the violation of women's health rights even in this age and time, we need more mobility within and beyond our communities to fight for what we deserve as basic human rights. The recent abortion ban in Alabama is a perfect example of how even today women don’t have the freedom to make decisions for themselves and their future. This ban is a clear attempt at curtailing women's rights to decide freely on their bodies and lives.
Such instances stress the importance of a movement against the oppressors and raising a generation that recognizes the vast expanse of women's health. The world needs to realize that women's health isn’t just limited to pregnancy and childbirth.
The inception of this day was in 1987, during the IV International Women’s Health Meeting held at Costa Rica. It was proposed that the day should symbolize SRHR issues faced by women across the globe. It has been a challenging task to bring recognition to sexual as well as reproduction rights, ensuring access to contraceptives and abortion. It was also used as the perfect platform to advocate the concept of sexuality, reproductive and sexual rights at the regional, national, and international levels. Introducing sexual education to youngsters and generating knowledge about safe sex was an integral part of the campaigns.
This is an opportunity to celebrate achievements in the field of women's health and bring the government authorities, official figures, and international agencies to commit to women's health and well-being.
Some of the key areas that need our attention to promote women health include:
- Right to safe and legal abortion
This is one of the most serious instances of violence against sexual and reproductive health and rights. The recent ban in Alabama reflects on the regressive move that doesn’t allow women to choose their future.
- Access to contraceptives
Restrictions on abortion and contraceptive act as a threat to the basic human rights of women. A woman should have the freedom to choose if and when she wants to bear a child. You cannot let others make that decision for her.
- Forced Sterilization
This is a serious violation of medical ethics and the right to equality. It is considered to be cruel, inhuman, and degrading. World over women has been forced to undergo permanent sterilization procedures.
We have come a long way in fighting for our rights and achieving freedom of choice with respect to our physical and mental wellness. But many parliamentary decisions across the world, in the recent past, have proved that a lot of work still needs to be done to generate awareness and expand the knowledge related to women health. International Women’s Health Day is a small step towards a better, brighter and a healthier future for our lady folks!