Last week the UN released its latest estimates on global maternal deaths, just two years after the last figure. From 1990 to 2010, they found, the number of women dying from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes worldwide dropped from 543,000 to 287,000, a near-fifty percent reduction in fatalities.
Weekly global roundup: Who will be 2012′s 100 most powerful Arab women? Slut-shaming and victim-blaming persist in India; Liberia is slow to reconcile decades of sexual violence; the UN Commission on the Status of Women is happening now; Female Pakistand director wins country’s first Academy Award.
Who bears the brunt of the increasingly steep costs of “global weirding” as the world’s weather goes haywire? Women and their children. And who may be the key to stopping global warming, and to helping communities around the world adapt to the damage that has already been done? Yes, women too.
Poor quality maternity care, abuse by health workers, and health systems that are unaccountable to pregnant women and mothers all can subvert efforts brimming over with resources and political will.
A campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation has taken off in Senegal. What if, with the incredibly small sums of money needed by the United Nations campaign to fund these strategies across a continent, we could end FGM within the next ten to 15 years? Both UNICEF and UNFPA work to end FGM, though the GOP-led House of Representatives is seeking to eliminate funding for both.
Currently, more than 215 million women around the world want access to quality reproductive health care but don’t have it. Global investment in international reproductive health and voluntary family planning is one of the best ways to save maternal and infant lives, and build sustainable communities. But on a recent trip to Ethiopia, I saw firsthand how limited financial resources, inadequate systems and supply chains, and poor coordination often keep contraceptives from getting into the hands of those who desperately want and need them.
The involvement of women and girls, sex workers, persons who use drugs, men who have sex with men (MSM), and young people is crucial to the achieving the goal of zero new HIV infections by 2015.
On Tuesday (12-21-10), the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly in favor of restoring reference to “sexual orientation” in a high-profile resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The reference to sexual orientation had been removed by an earlier amendment at the committee level by governments opposed to ensuring protection for individuals targeted because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
This Monday, 20th December, the United Nations General Assembly will vote on whether to include protection for LGBT people in a crucial resolution on extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings. Our colleagues at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission are asking for your help to ensure sexual orientation is not stripped from the resolution.
Researchers at the World Health Organization have recently documented a substantial decrease in the numbers of unsafe abortion deaths, but the incidence of unsafe abortion itself has not decreased. Anti-abortion laws in developing countries cause grave harm and endanger women’s lives and health. As long as these antiquated laws remain in place, unsafe abortion and its resulting maternal mortality and morbidity will continue.