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Women and Girls Should Make Decisions About Their Bodies: UNFPA

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently launched a campaign called ‘My Body Is My Own’ to empower girls and women to make decisions about their bodies especially on sexual and reproductive health rights.

According to the State of the World Population 2021 report, UNFPA said every girl or woman has a right to bodily autonomy and should therefore have the power to make own choices and to have those choices supported by everyone and societies at large.

“Depriving women and girls of bodily autonomy is wrong. It causes and reinforces inequalities and violence, all of which arise from gender discrimination. By contrast, when women and girls can make the most fundamental choices about their bodies, they not only gain in terms of autonomy, but also through advances in health and education, income and safety,” read the report.

According to UNFPA,  child and forced marriages are the most obvious marital practices that deny a woman agency are marriages where she cannot make a free and informed choice about her sexual reproductive health.

“Both forms of marriage violate an individual’s rights, including rights associated with bodily autonomy and integrity. These marriages are rooted in patriarchal attitudes and deny women and girls autonomy in general, and their power to make decisions about health care, contraception and sex in particular,” further reads the report.

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The most recent estimates indicate that there are 650 million women alive today who were married before the age of 18, and every year another 12 million girls are married before they become adults (UNFPA, 2020; UNICEF, 2020).

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