‘Accelerate pace of women empowerment’

UNFPA PH launches ‘Here for her’ on International Women’s Day

Accelerate the pace of empowering women and girls to realize their rights and full potential to fight and stand up to issues and problems that lead to their suffering

That is the main call to action of the United Nations Population Fund in the Philippines (UNFPA) “Here for Her” campaign, with the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” launched March 8, the International Women’s Day.

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UNFPA intended to focus on women and girls suffering in crisis conditions in a conflict-ridden world.

According to studies, few people escape unhurt during a crisis. Women and girls, on the other hand, are particularly vulnerable since they are among the poorest, most disenfranchised, and least empowered members of their communities.

In 57 developing nations, over half of all women are denied the fundamental human right to bodily autonomy.

According to UNFPA report, in the last 5 years, 8,016 mothers died of complications from pregnancy or childbirth. In 2017, almost 1 in 4 (24%) married women (ages 15-49) experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their current or most recent husband. In 2017- 2019, 83,549 girls were married at age 18 and below (adolescent marriage is 6.35% of all registered marriages) In 2017, estimated 10.8% or around 2.9 million of all women of reproductive age (15-49 y/o) have unmet needs in Family Planning.

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And in time of these crises regardless of how a crisis arises — conflict, climate change, or COVID-19 – those least prepared to deal with it frequently bear the brunt of the consequences. In any crisis, women and girls’ needs — sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence-related services that are critical to their survival, health, and future – must not be pushed aside or overlooked. A more just, stable, and peaceful society is one in which their rights are honored.

As the United Nations’ sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) agency, UNFPA addressed these issues such as unmet need for family planning, preventable maternal deaths, and gender-based violence and harmful practices among women and young people, that can pave the way towards a better future for Filipina women, young people, and the country.

In order to promote the health and dignity of women and youth, they launched the said campaign aiming to achieve gender equality which is further challenged by climate change. This flagship campaign is launched to promote commitment to end preventable maternal deaths, end unintended pregnancies, and prevent gender-based violence and other harmful practices.

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In addition to this, during humanitarian emergencies, UNFPA also takes the lead in protecting women’s health and dignity by preventing and reacting to gender-based violence, addressing the distribution of emergency reproductive health kits, and guaranteeing safe childbirth. These efforts have been demonstrated in the aftermath of prior disasters, such as Super Typhoon Odette (Rai).

“Women and girls are effective and powerful leaders and change-makers for climate adaptation and mitigation. ” shared Dr. Leila Sajii Joudane, UNFPA Country Representative to the Philippines. “Climate change is not gender-neutral. It is a multiplier of existing inequalities and vulnerabilities. 

About the Author

Gina Costante is an editorial intern of SubSelfie.com and student of Broadcast Communication in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

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