Every July 11, we mark World Population Day to raise awareness of our growing numbers and the effects on global development. Today, the world population is over 7 billion and continuing to grow. Yet, many women around the world still do not have the right to plan the size and spacing of their families.
Every woman deserves the right to ensure that all pregnancies are wanted and all childbirths are safe. When a woman has control over her reproductive health, her decision-making power in other aspects of her life grows. She’s empowered to voice her opinion in her family and community, placing her in a stronger position to demand other rights and bring about change.
In order to make reproductive rights a reality, all women around the world — married and unmarried, young and old, no matter their circumstance or identity — deserve to have contraceptive information and health services available to them throughout their lives.
At MADRE, we work with our partner organizations to promote and provide resources for family planning so that women can decide for themselves on matters regarding sexual and reproductive health without facing discrimination or coercion. For example:
In Israel and Palestine, we work with our partner organization, Midwives for Peace, a grassroots network of Palestinian and Israeli midwives. These midwives work together to provide prenatal care and childbirth support to guarantee safe childbirths to women in the West Bank, impeded by the Israeli occupation from reaching hospitals. The Safe Birth Project ensures that the reproductive rights and safety of Palestinian women in the West Bank are attended to, despite the conflict that surrounds them.
In Barcenas, Guatemala, we work with our partners at the Women Workers Committee to organize health fairs for women to receive information on family planning, undergo reproductive health check-ups, and obtain other vital care. These well-informed women become empowered to demand their rights and take control of their family planning.
The freedom to plan your family is a human right that must be protected for all women everywhere. When women can make their own decisions about their health and well-being, they are positioned to lead in their communities. On this World Population Day, let’s re-commit to work towards a future where every woman has that opportunity.