Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights
CARE understands sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as integral to gender equality, promoting one’s agency and rights over their body and health, and reducing poverty. A person’s ability (or lack of ability) to exercise their reproductive rights is deeply intertwined with gender norms and power relations. It has widespread consequences on the ability of individuals – particularly women, girls and people whose sexual orientation and/or gender identity do not follow societal norms – to make decisions over their own bodies, health and lives.
Gendered socialization, taboos and prevention of education and information around sexuality and health expose people to riskier behaviors related to SRHR. This alongside unequal power relationships – often in terms of age and gender - aim to control people’s sexuality lead toward exposure to health risks, constraints on accessing healthcare, and unintended pregnancies that constrain young people’s opportunities to obtain an education. This affects different people in distinct ways: from young mothers who may face chronic health problems related to early and frequent childbirth; to younger people, unmarried individuals, those from the LGBTQI+ community and sex workers who face barriers and stigma in accessing SRH services and products; to men and boys who are socialized against seeking healthcare. The impact ripples more broadly on development and reconstruction efforts, given additional strains on family resources and opportunities for economic growth, due to care work and health needs.