UNFPA Releases 2005 Report on Gender Equality and Poverty Links
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has released its 2005 report, highlighting the critical link between achieving gender equality and eradicating poverty. Entitled The Promise of Equality: Gender Equity, Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals, the report analyzes the current status of women and girls, particularly in developing areas, and suggests a “road map” of practical policies to improve the quality of life of women and girls, a necessary step to putting an end to poverty worldwide.
Speaking at the London launch of the report, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Obaid declared, “We cannot make poverty history until we stop violence against women and girls. . . until women enjoy their full social, cultural, economic and political rights.” A central focus of the report is reproductive health and rights, which emphasizes the importance of available, reliable contraceptives, preventable dangers that occur during pregnancy and labor, and protection from sexually transmitted diseases. According to the UNFPA, reproductive health problems are responsible for the loss of “more than 250 million years of productive life” worldwide. The UNFPA contends that “failure to [invest in women and young people] may entrench poverty for generations to come.” As reported in the summer 2003 issue of Ms., global reproductive health care is under funded by $7 billion each year.
When women suffer reproductive health problems, said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) at the Washington, DC report launch, “they lose any chance for their creativity to contribute to their country’s progress.”
The UNFPA is voluntarily funded by 166 countries, but the US is not among them. For four years in a row, the Bush administration has withheld $34 million in funding for UNFPA allocated by Congress, money which would comprise 12.5 percent of the UNFPA’s annual budget. According to the UNFPA, this money would help prevent 2 million unwanted pregnancies, 4,700 maternal deaths and 77,000 infant deaths annually.
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SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .