The May 28 International Day of Action for Women’s Health highlights the challenges faced by many women and girls in accessing their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Each year, we assert that #WomensHealthMatters and calls for immediate and sustainable actions. In 2020, we highlighted the increase in cases of neglect and denial of SRHR services and information at the onset of the pandemic. More than 50 actions took place worldwide, with hundreds of thousands of impressions on social media.
This year, WGNRR together with partners and members, will highlight how women and girls from the Global South are adversely affected by COVID-19. COVID-19 may have impacted all of us, but we are not all impacted equally. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated long-standing social and gender inequalities that are manifested in many forms across contexts and are operating at different, intersecting levels and infringes upon women’s rights, among them, women’s rights to life, health, bodily autonomy, equality, and non-discrimination, and freedom from violence.
Our aim this year is to highlight, promote, and support the many different ways activists and advocates are mobilizing to challenge inequalities and calls for accountability.
Share your country contexts, community initiatives, and efforts, and personal stories of the pandemic. Tell us about your planned campaign activities and we can share updates on the official May 28 website and WGNRR social media channels!
Make a stand.
Join us in calling on governments to uphold their existing commitments on gender equality and access to SRHR information and services. Together, we can amplify our voices by calling on governments and international organizations to:
- Ensure access to universal healthcare for all particularly women and girls by increasing public healthcare expenditure and strengthening public health infrastructure and community health systems and pandemic response mechanisms;
- Address inequities in the distribution of essential medicines and vaccines by supporting the approval of the TRIPS waiver proposal for vaccine distribution and emphasizing human rights over profit and property;
- Utilize an intersectional and gender-responsive approach to address the negative and lasting impact of the COVID-19 crisis on women, adolescents, and girls;
- Ensure emergency preparedness plans guarantee access to essential SRHR services, including comprehensive sexuality education provision and SGBV services and prevention;
- Empower marginalized communities to make informed decisions over their own health, and encourage health-seeking behaviors by ensuring people’s right to comprehensive healthcare including sexual and reproductive health services, information and education, GBV services, and mental health services. This includes self-care protocols and the use of telemedicine for SRHR;
- Remove barriers to maternal healthcare, including community prenatal and postnatal care, and sexual and reproductive health and rights, including adolescents’ SRHR;
- Protect women human rights defenders and ensure human rights are respected and promoted for all by focusing on safety and health rather than arrests and confinements;
- Ensure provision of aid and support calls for livable wages throughout quarantine periods. Social safety nets should be gender-responsive and facilitate women’s access to health; and
- Ensure a strong evidence base that fills research gaps on gender and SRHR is used to inform decisions, policies, and programs at all levels.
More than ever, we need to be alert, organize, mobilize, and take care of our communities. Let us use the spaces we have to open conversations, update each other on our challenges, make art and help each other imagine better!
- Organize solidarity teach-ins. Contribute to the campaign by organizing online and offline events to examine the health situation of women and girls and related issues such as gender justice and COVID-19, vaccine justice, healthcare privatization and impacts on women’s health, civil society innovations and community practices, and COVID-19 impacts on SRHR, GBV, and bodily autonomy.
- Create safe spaces for discussions about your experiences: Develop strategies to mobilize and organize locally to discuss how COVID-19 exacerbated unequal access to health, and to document the violations you have experienced.
- Occupy virtual spaces and platforms: Create Podcasts, organize a Twitter rally, be visible on Facebook. Use the hashtags #WomensHealthMatters #EndInequalityPandemic
- Utilize channels such as community radios to reach those who have no access to the internet and mobile technology.
- Be Creative! Organize online contests, animated videos, online concerts, etc.
- Hold virtual media forums and public meetings to raise awareness about the urgent need to address inequalities and ensure access SRHR to remain essential
Visit www.may28.org for more details.