International Women’s Day: We Celebrate Women Fighting for Their Rights

March 7, 2016 IWD blog website

On International Women’s Day 2016, we look back at some of the stories we’ve shared about inspirational women who – often in the face of overwhelming odds – continue to demand that women’s human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights, be upheld and protected. Their stories reveal and confirm the interlinkages between SRHR and all development agendas: gender equality, human rights, poverty, inequality, migration, health, climate change, population dynamics, conflicts, disasters, food and nutrition security, and access to resources. Their stories reaffirm that if sustainable development is to be achieved, development must be addressed holistically and it must put the most marginalized people at the centre.

Women’s Stories from the Climate Frontlines

These stories from climate change affected communities in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines show how women often bear the brunt of the effects of climate change, including how it impacts their SRHR.

Two of our partners working on the interlinkages of climate change and SRHR – PATH Foundation in the Philippines and Penita Initiative in Malaysia – released two short films to highlight the voices of women living in the climate change frontlines. The videos were produced by Inshallah Montero from the Philippines.

The Traveling Journal: Rural Women’s Struggle for SRHR

In 2014 we launched a film and a booklet that document the everyday lives of rural women struggling for their SRHR. Through entries in a journal that travelled across 11 countries in Asia and three countries in Africa, women shared their personal and communities’ stories. These stories show the persistence and gravity of SRHR-related problems, such as forced marriage, unsafe abortions, female genital mutilation, and maternal deaths. The Asian Rural Women’s Coalition (ARWC) and ARROW spearheaded the journal.

Beyond Paradise: Lives of Burmese Migrant Women

Women who flee conflict and economic and political turmoil in Myanmar work as migrant workers in Chiang Mai and other areas in the Myanmar-Thailand border. They cope with insufficient wages, poor access to education and health including their sexual and reproductive health, dismal living conditions and severe restrictions on mobility. Last year some ARROW staff visited the Migratory Assistance Program Foundation (MAP Foundation) to learn more about the organization and their work with migrant women.

The Women’s Health and Rights Advocacy Partnership (WHRAP) – South Asia

WHRAP – South Asia comprises of five partner organizations from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan who have been working together to promote the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of marginalized women. As 2015 drew to an end, they looked back at their accomplishments including post-earthquake mobilization and advocacy in Nepal and “SRHR Champions” in Pakistan working to remove cultural and societal barriers to accessing SRHR.