Rio+20: A Blind Eye Towards Women

Thompson Reuters Foundation

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Who thinks women’s health and human rights are radical, dangerous, and controversial? Apparently, powers-that-be at the Rio+20 environmental summit.

Their refusal to include sexual and reproductive health in the final agreement is a deterrent to sustainable development, the economy, and education. It also contradicts other UN agreements and most significantly, the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which prioritized the empowerment and health of women and girls. ICPD clearly affirmed the right of women and girls to quality sexual and reproductive health care, AND their integral role in building a sustainable environment.

We agreed then, that the empowerment of women and making sexual and reproductive health a reality for women was the simplest path to a sustainable earth; it was a major step forward.

The Rio+20 agreement is a leap backwards. While there are references to Cairo and Beijing agreements on sexual and reproductive health, there is no reference to reproductive rights in the final agreement—where it really matters.