Over ten years ago, on December 26, 2004, an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia triggered one of the deadliest tsunamis ever recorded, an event that ushered the destruction of over 200,00 lives -- and even more livelihoods -- throughout Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the east coast of Africa.
Many governments still do not see the need to allocate or increase resources for efforts that would strengthen health systems to reduce maternal mortality, address violence against women, ensure access to sexual and reproductive health care, and end child marriage. In fact, these areas should be priorities if we are to achieve sustainable development for generations to come.
It is documented that Ebola virus remains in the sperm and breast milk of survivors, for up to 90 days or longer, indicating that the virus is sexually and maternally transmitted. Aid agencies distribute condoms to men who recovered from Ebola, disregarding reported failures in adherence to "don't have sex for 3 months."
Women around the world are challenging narratives that support discrimination, marginalization, sectarianism, violence, and extremism. They have been at the forefront of bringing communities together and building peace. Their role in fighting against militarization, terrorism, and religious extremism is critical, and we must strengthen their networks and support mechanisms.
Should students feel safe on campus? Should they access supportive services on campus if there is a need? Should they feel confident in seeking those services that their information will be protected and confidential? Presumably the University would answer 'yes' to those questions, but their actions show the contrary.
Malawi outlawed child marriage last week. Following more than five years of undaunted advocacy by Malawian girls, their allies and civil society leaders, the country's Parliament tabled and passed the "Marriage, Divorce, and Family Relations Bill," increasing the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18 years.
Now is the time for the President to show the courage of his convictions by taking executive action to ensure that U.S. assistance will be available for abortion access for women who survive rape or incest, or whose lives are endangered by a pregnancy. It is the right thing to do. The time to act is now.