The International Day of Women’s Health is marked every year on 28 May since the year 1987. The day aims to draw attention to issues related to women’s health and overall well-being.
The objective of celebrating this day is also to draw attention to the sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR) of females. Years of patriarchy had led to women being treated as second-class citizens whose health and life don’t matter as much as men. With time, women started claiming their rights and demanding equality, Women’s Health Day is to remind people that women’s health also matters. Year after year, women, girls, advocates, and allies have continued to take action and stand up for sexual and reproductive rights for what they are: an indivisible and inalienable part of our human rights.
The day first came into existence in 1987 during a reunion of the members of Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) in Costa Rica. Soon after, the South African government also recognised the day.
For over 30 years, women’s rights advocates and allies in the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) movement worldwide have been commemorated in diverse ways. According to may28.org, Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network (LACWHN) and Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) have maintained the campaign through yearly collaborative Calls for Action, each year focusing on a particular topic related to women’s health. The range of topics throughout the years included:
– Access to Quality Health Care
– Feminisation of Poverty
– Access to Safe and Legal Abortion
– Government Accountability in Prioritizing Health Markets
– Health Sector Reform and Women’s Health
– Women and HIV/AIDS
– International Trade Agreements and Women’s Access to Health
– VAW as a Global Health Emergency
– Young People’s SRHR
– Access to Contraceptives
According to may28.org, this year, activists call on everyone to #ResistAndPersist amid crises and global uncertainty and to continue to assert that #WomensHealthMatters and #SRHRisEssential. In the context of the post-pandemic recovery, women activists continue to hold governments accountable for the gendered impacts of the pandemic that remain unaddressed to date. Some of these impacts include loss of livelihood, increased unpaid care burdens on women and girls, heightened risks of gender-based violence, and barriers to accessing essential sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion and post-abortion care.
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