What does Post-2015 Have to do With Women’s Health?

As we speak, governments around the world are involved in the process of evaluating achievements under the present global development agenda expressed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),[1]a set of eight development goals that UN member states and development institutions committed to in 2000. While substantial progress has been made towards the MDGs, such progress has been recognized by governments, UN agencies, and civil society groups alike as both limited and uneven, particularly for women and girls.

In specific, there has been a lack of real commitment to ensure the right of women and girls to decide upon all aspects of their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). These shortcomings are in large part because the MDGs perpetuated a limited understanding of women’s health issues, by focusing almost exclusively on maternal health. In so doing, the MDGs effectively omitted and ignored the commitments governments made at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and again in Beijing at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, both of which placed gender equality, women’s empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights at the heart of sustainable development.

If one hopes to have a holistic, inclusive, forward-looking, and relevant Post-2015 Development Agenda, we believe women’s health for all, particularly in terms of their SRHR, must be central to the goals and targets. As women worldwide will be affected by the decisions governments make when framing the Post-2015 Development Agenda, we are urging women, stakeholders and allies worldwide to make their voices heard, and highlight the diverse nature of women’s SRHR issues that arise throughout women’s lives.


[1] United Nations, General Assembly, United Nations Millennium Declaration, A/RES/55/2 (18 September 2000), available fromhttp://www.un.org/millennium/declaration/ares552e.pdf.