Not all of us think of ourselves as feminists, because so many have worked so hard to make it a dirty word. But think of it this way: we all have women we love in our lives. So in the spirit of March 8, International Women's Day, let's celebrate them.
One of the biggest obstacles to all people leading healthy, productive lives in the is the lack of access to contraception and reproductive health services. This is especially true for women. Having freedom of choice and access to contraception means autonomy and the freedom to plan when and if to have children. And that's better for women, for their children, for their partners, and for their communities. According to the United Nations, there are 200 million women who want contraception but don't have access.
Imagine if one of these women were a friend, a neighbor, a cousin, even your own mother. What if you knew that women with access to contraception are freer to choose if and when to have children, and that this leads to more stable communities? What would you do if you knew that inattention to this need was putting your mother, your cousin, or your friend at risk? Of not being able to fulfill her ambitions? Of not being able to finish school because of an unplanned pregnancy?
You would want to do something. And there is something you can do. Celebrate! Celebrate what has already been achieved and then tell a friend about what there's still left to do. By doing that you can help move women's reproductive health up on the agenda.
In other words, be a feminist. Honor the women in your life by supporting access to reproductive health services the world over. Help build momentum for the empowerment of women, empowerment that will strengthen families, stabilize communities, and enable a happier and healthier existence for millions.
Being a feminist means honoring all people. Let's do that by letting our friends and neighbors know about the 200 million women worldwide who want access to contraception but can't get it. I'll be doing that by sharing powerful stories from Pathfinder International's Girl2Woman campaign. Stories like this:
Now, how will you be celebrating?