International Day of Action for Women’s Health: Our Choices and Our Rights

By *Evdokia Romanova, YCSRR member from Russia

Today is the International Day of Action for Women’s Health and I want to take this opportunity to speak up about the importance of women having the right to make personal choices about our own bodies. On the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, I call for the global community of activists to unite around the issues of gender inequality and gender based discrimination. Discrimination based on gender can lead to the creation of barriers to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young women.

As a young woman I want to be able to make stigma-free choices related to my sexuality and to my own body. I want to live in a world where I will be able to access safe and free contraceptives and make my own decisions on whether or not I am ready to become a mother. I do not want to be discriminated against when I make decisions related to when, how, and with whom I want to have a sexual relationship.

Unfortunately, freedom of choice and expression remains unrecognized and invisible in many communities around the world. As a young woman I make a choice to speak up about my rights and my freedoms. I call for the governments of countries around the world to recognize women as equal citizens and to grant us the rights and freedoms related to our sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to safe and affordable contraceptives, safe, affordable and stigma-free abortion services, and the right to freely express gender orientation.

I hope that someday we will create a world where all young women will be recognized as equal citizens, where we will have a legal right to make our own decisions about our bodies independent of our age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or physical appearance.

On the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, there are many issues that deserve our attention and action. Rooted in gender inequality, the sexual and reproductive rights of young women are no exception. As we reflect on the health needs and challenges facing women around the world, we must remember that these are our choices and our rights, and that they are worth fighting for.

* Evdokia Romanova is a Russian sexual and reproductive health and rights youth advocate, sociologist, and student who believes in the power of peaceful approaches to provoke positive social changes in society. Evdokia was previously involved in advocacy activities with WGNRRand ICW during a two-day strategy meeting and the planning of an advocacy campaign that will target young women living with HIV.


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