Giving Compass' Take:
- A study by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed that many women still have limited rights when it comes to agency in their sexual and reproductive health, making a case for an increased effort toward women's empowerment.
- Only 55 percent of women said that they can freely say no to sex, make their own decisions about contraception, and have access to healthcare worldwide.
- Read more about women's health in the U.S. and abroad.
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Only about half the world's women can make their own decisions on sexual consent and health care, the United Nations said on Wednesday, warning such limited rights stand in the way of gender equality.
One in four women were not free to say no to sex, and a higher proportion were unable to make their own decisions about health care, according to a study by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) that found women's rights declining in some countries.
Achieving gender equality by 2030 was one of the Global Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 to tackle social ills like poverty and conflict.
"Women's ability to make decisions on reproductive health, contraceptive use, and sexual relations is pivotal to gender equality and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights," the UNFPA said in the report.
The UNFPA looked at women's access to health care and whether they could make their own decisions on contraception and say no to sex, said Emilie Filmer-Wilson, UNFPA human rights adviser.
Just 55% of women were able to say yes to all three questions, according to survey data collected from 57 countries, Filmer-Wilson said.
"If she can make those decisions in all three areas, that woman is seen as empowered," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
In one in 10 countries, women must be married to get maternity health care, and more than 25% of countries have age restrictions for access to contraception and require married women to get their husband's consent for an abortion, the research said.
"For the general public, I think it's a wake-up call," she said. "We've got more work to do in terms of women's empowerment.”
Read the full article about women empowerment by Ellen Wulfhorst at Global Citizen.