United Nations Population Fund, 14th April 2021
Nearly half of women in 57 developing countries are denied the right to decide whether to have sex with their partners, use contraception or seek health care, according to UNFPA’s 2021 flagship State of World Population report, released today.
For the first time, a United Nations report focuses on bodily autonomy: the power and agency to make choices about your body, without fear of violence or having someone else decide for you. This lack of bodily autonomy has massive implications beyond the profound harms to individual women and girls: potentially depressing economic productivity, undercutting skills, and resulting in extra costs to health care and judicial systems.
The report shows that in countries where data are available:
- Only 55 per cent of women are fully empowered to make choices over health care, contraception and the ability to say yes or no to sex.
- Only 71 per cent of countries guarantee access to overall maternity care.
- Only 75 per cent of countries legally ensure full, equal access to contraception.
- Only about 80 per cent of countries have laws supporting sexual health and well-being.
- Only about 56 per cent of countries have laws and policies supporting comprehensive sexuality education.