On 18 January 2020, women and allies around the world will join the fourth annual march of Women’s March Global, a yearly event that brings together inspired, international change-makers committed to fighting for equality, justice, and human rights worldwide.
Next year’s event, March for Our Human Rights, will focus on bodily autonomy, which is the right to self-governance over one’s own body without coercion or external pressures. This includes abortion rights, sexual health and reproductive rights, sexual consent, period equality, family planning, medical treatments, and more.
Why are we Marching for Bodily Autonomy?
In the last year alone, women’s reproductive, sexual and human rights have experienced a massive rollback around the world. At a recent United Nations meeting, the United States joined 19 nations, including Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Russia, Iraq and Libya, in declaring that women have no international right to abortion. These 19 member states represent 1.3 billion people who have agreed to partner with the United States in its mission to restrict a woman’s access to safe and legal abortions.
These international attempts to subvert women’s human rights are what drives us and our local chapters and members to bring international attention to these pressing issues. The consequences of inaction are profound and can jeopardise the significant progress women have made in their push for civil rights and social equality.
Women’s March Global is committed to action-oriented solutions that will empower women to overcome systemic discrimination and advance their human rights.
GLOBAL NEWS: SRHR & Bodily Autonomy SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS (SRHR)
“Sexual and reproductive health is related to multiple human rights, including the right to life, the right to be free from torture, the right to health, the right to privacy, the right to education, and the prohibition of discrimination.” — OHCHR
At the UN General Assembly Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in September, 58 countries signed the Joint Statement on SRHR delivered by Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.
“Sexual and reproductive health and rights are a cornerstone of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Only by investing in sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, girls, adolescents and all vulnerable populations can we make UHC truly be universal.”
“I march for periods. I march for menstruators, including trans and nonbinary friends who may also experience menstruation. I march for sisterhood because our movement is stronger when we uplift each other.” — Nadya Okamoto, founder of PERIOD.
“Abortion is an essential part of women’s sexual and reproductive lives and is essential to women’s right to bodily autonomy…Every day somewhere, a woman is fighting for her life due to a botched abortion performed by someone who is not qualified.”
- Botlogile Tshireletso, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, speaking at the commemoration of International Safe Abortion Day, 28 September.
On 28 September, Community Action for the Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health in Burkina Faso hosted a panel on the theme -Let’s act: abortion is healthcare.
“Il ne s’agit pas de faire l’apologie de l’avortement mais plutôt de la protection de la vie de la femme”
Earlier this month, Belfast’s High Court ruled that Northern Ireland’s current abortion rules breach UK human rights law.
In September, Oaxaca became the second state in Mexico to legalise abortion. In the same month, people took to the streets in cities across the country to demand their right to safe and legal abortions.
In September, abortion was decriminalised in the state of New South Wales after 119 years. This was a direct result of the relentless advocacy and grassroots activism of Women’s March Sydney and many others.
WEAR YOUR SUPPORT FOR WOMEN’S HUMAN RIGHTS
Maya Hendler is the Programmes and Communications Associate at Women’s March Global.