International Women’s Day, 8 March:
equitable and sustainable future of women and girls worldwide
Statement from the independent Expert Review Group (iERG) on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health on International Women’s Day.
March 8, 2013 - On International Women’s Day, we, the independent Expert Review Group on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health (iERG), wish to emphasise the importance of the commitments and promises made by the international community to women's health through the Millennium Development Goals and other international agreements (such as through the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and the Commission on the Status of Women). These commitments represent political objectives of the highest importance to the sustainable futures of women and girls globally. Currently, the world is falling far short in delivering on those promises.
Although progress has been made towards improving women's health and wellbeing, there remain important gaps. Worldwide, women and girls still have fewer opportunities to achieve the highest attainable standards of health compared with men and boys. Women and girls still experience greater suffering from the political, social, and economic determinants of health—for example, as victims of forced marriages, (sexual) violence, and human trafficking. Women and girls have less access to good healthcare and they remain more vulnerable to certain diseases, disabilities, and risks. And access to reproductive health services—eg, contraception and safe abortion–is still poor or unavailable for many millions of women and girls.
Today, we invite all governments, political, community, and religious leaders, and family members—in short, all those who share a role in promoting equal rights for men and women—to recommit to improving the health and wellbeing of women in society. We invite women to continue to raise their voices, show their strength to take their own decisions, and to lead a movement for the more equitable distribution of power and resources to shape the health of women and girls worldwide. We also propose that every country demonstrate its commitment to women and girls by implementing mechanisms for independent accountability—the monitoring, participatory review, and remedying of deficiencies for the health of women and girls.
Health equity—achieving the highest standards of health for all sectors of society—is not only a matter of human rights for women and men, for girls and boys. Equity is also about realising the full potential of society, its freedoms, its hopes, and its capabilities. Women are an indispensable part of the solutions our societies need. On International Women's Day, we invite all governments, peoples, and communities to rededicate themselves to the equitable and sustainable future of women and girls worldwide.