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No equality without sexual and reproductive health and rights

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Media Release

As New Zealand celebrates the milestone of 125 years of Women’s Suffrage, Family Planning says sexual and reproductive health and rights must be at the centre of discussions about gender equality.

“The sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls is too often side-lined from important debates about policy on women’s rights. It is wrongly dismissed as being separate to discussions on women’s economic and political progress. This could not be further from the truth – it is at the heart of women’s lives.”

For too long these discussions have ignored sexual and reproductive health and rights. This is a mistake because the right to high quality, accessible sexual and reproductive health is critical to gender equality.

Family Planning Chief Executive Jackie Edmond says world-wide studies and research have shown the inextricable link between sexual health accessibility and contraception and abortion access and gender equality.

“Poor sexual and reproductive health and rights are both a cause and consequence of gender inequality,” she says.

“If we are to realise the full range of human rights, if we’re to participate equally in society - including in education, work and leadership opportunities – we must be able to decide if and when to have a child. We must be able to choose our partners freely, we must have healthy relationships. It is absolutely vital that we can positively express our gender identity and sexuality and that everyone has access to confidential, sexual and reproductive health services.”

 “This is a job for the whole country, for politicians, policy-makers, and for the population as a whole.  We must all work together to bring sexual and reproductive health and rights back into the forefront of gender equality conversations,” Ms Edmond says.

We can do this by recognising sexual and reproductive health and rights as central to achieving gender equality.

 And we can ensure efforts to realise gender equality prioritise the needs and interests of women and gender diverse communities who experience multiple forms of discrimination.



Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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