Stand #RightByHer on International Women’s Day

Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik/Reportage by Getty Images.

International Women’s Day is this Sunday, March 8th. Check out the IPPFAR Twitter today from 9:00 GMT/12:00 CET to 10:00 GMT/13:00 CET and join the conversation on IWD 2020.

This day celebrates the progress that has been made towards achieving a gender-equal world while at the same time protesting the barriers that are still in place. At Right By Her, we dream of a world where young people have access to the health care they need and can pursue and have a satisfying, pleasurable and safe sex life, free from coercion and violence, and where African women and girls can lead safe reproductive lives, free from harm and discrimination!

One in three African women experiences GVAW in their lifetime. This includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological abuse and violence, and economic abuse and exploitation. These can occur in different public and private settings, including in the family, in the community, in the workplace and in educational institutions, in formal and state institutions, and in situations of armed conflict and insecurity. We call for an end to the violence.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 4 in 10 women are married before the age of 18, and 1 in 4 African girls are pregnant before the age of 18. We must bring an end to the harmful practice of child marriage, in which ‘either one of the parties, or both, is or was a child under the age of 18 at the time of union’, and ensure that all young women have access to information on their SRHR. We call for free and full consent in the context of marriage, which cannot be supplemented with the addition of parental consent given on behalf of a child.

The State of African Women Report states that about 1 in 5 women in Africa who are married still have an unmet need for contraception. Until all women and men have control over their sexuality, we are still a long way from a gender-equal world. We must ensure that all young women have access to information on their SRHR. Even in countries with strong legal frameworks, legal barriers, combined with societal norms and taboos, intimidate young people out of seeking contraceptives and other SRH services. We must not let stigma create self-doubt!

Photo by Brian Otieno.

Did you know that states and governments have four obligations regarding sexual violence?

  • To prevent sexual violence;
  • To provide protection and support to victims of sexual violence;
  • To guarantee access to justice and to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of sexual violence; and
  • To provide effective remedies and reparations for victims of sexual violence.

On this International Women’s Day, we call on each person to reflect on what private or public contribution they can make to ensure a world where all women are safe and free, and we call on all African governments to harmonise national laws that enshrine the safety and well-being of women and girls, including ensuring that girls can stay in school and reach their full potential.

Join the conversation using the hashtags #RightByHer, #EachForEqual and #IWD2020.

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