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Why women’s needs must be part of the conversation at Rio

June 25th, 2012 |

Thanks to Jenny Goldie for sending me the article below. It is interesting, and I think good, to see Michael Brune (executive director, Sierra Club) join Suzanne Ehlers (CEO, Population Action Intrenational) as co-author of this piece, originally published in Grist. See: http://grist.org/population/why-womens-needs-must-be-part-of-the-conversation-at-rio/

Why women’s needs must be part of the conversation at Rio

By Suzanne Ehlers and Michael Brune

The outcome document for this week’s Rio+20 summit is 49 pages long. Some 23,917 words.

Women were mentioned in less than 0.01 percent of the text. And only two of the 283 sections addressed women’s needs for family planning.

At first, this might not seem like a big deal. It’s easy to think of Rio as a purely environmental conference, dealing with issues related to sustainable development and a green economy. It’s easy to say that Rio is not about “women’s issues.”

Well, we have some news for you: You can’t have sustainable development without women. Despite the best efforts of women leaders in government and civil society, strong statements on access to contraception and reproductive health services are still in doubt. Of the seven priority areas of discussion at the summit, none included a focus on women’s health and empowerment.

The stakes at Rio are huge. Time is running out to develop plans for economic growth that reduce poverty without harming our environment. But there is no path to a sustainable future that doesn’t include women. Leave them out, neglect their needs, and risk failure.

Right now, more than 200 million women in developing countries want the right to plan their families, but lack contraception. Meeting their needs would not only improve their lives, but would help them respond to the effects of climate change, practice sustainability, and participate more fully in the economy and their communities.

 

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