Towards Full Respect of Sexual and Reproductive Rights

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 22 March 2001


Sexual and reproductive rights have been a theme on the agenda of the political struggle of the women's movement and in particular of feminism, for several decades. The differing positions taken with regard to these rights today, mark a clear divide between progressive parties and conservative parties and likewise between politics of the left and politics of the right. This has become evident during international meetings and particularly at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, and the Conference on Beijing + 5 in New York in 2000.

In defence of sexual and reproductive rights, Socialist International Women has taken a position in support of the inalienable rights of women, in this way contributing to the promotion of progress and equality. In essence, these rights include the recognition of a woman's authority over her sexual life and reproductive capacity, free from coercion, violence and discrimination.

Central to women's exercise of citizenship and to the possibilities and opportunities for their personal and collective development in any society are:

  • access to accurate and up-to-date information on sexuality and reproduction;
  • the ability to make decisions about one's own body for full sexual enjoyment and reproduction;
  • integral sexual and reproductive health care through access to health and education services; and
  • equity, respect and solidarity in relations between men and women.

The obstacles to the exercise of women's sexual and reproductive rights are the result of various conditions – from the failure of governments' political will to develop public policies which safeguard these rights; to the conservative position of powerful groups within different religions; to the prevailing patriarchal cultural stereotypes which normalise and reproduce the subordination and discrimination of women within the area of sexuality and reproduction. Overcoming these obstacles requires multiple strategies at the cultural, social and political level.

Socialist International Women, from its active commitment to women's fights for their rights and with the deepest conviction of the significance of respect for sexual and reproductive rights for equality and social justice, proposes:

  • the adoption of laws that promote sexual and reproductive health at all levels;
  • the effective incorporation of budgetary items which will guarantee their implementation;
  • the implementation of public policies with a cross-gender perspective, which incorporate inter-institutional action, prioritising health, education and social advancement;
  • the inclusion of more women in decision-making bodies in legislative and executive arenas;
  • the integration of specialist NGOs in the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies.

Finally, SIW wishes to recall that the defence of women's sexual and reproductive rights forms part of a wider proposition which defends new models of the family: families which constitute new schools of democracy in which the emphasis must be placed on equality, liberty, the shared responsibility of men and women and the individual respect for all members of it, children as well as adults. The first right of a child is to be wanted and loved from the beginning of its life, for which it is essential that action is taken to ensure the sexual and reproductive rights of women.



A Good Education is the Best Guarantee for a Good Life

Article by Tuula Peltonen, published in the Brussels Morning Online Newspaper on 09 September 2021

In Finland, schools are just beginning their autumn term. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, schools will reopen as normal and thousands of teachers will return to teaching...

Situation of Women and Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

26 August 2021

Following the fall of Afghanistan into the control of Taliban forces, the Socialist International Women stands in firm solidarity with the international community both in condemnation of all forms of violence and oppression in Afghanistan and in firm support of innocent civilians caught up in this distressing situation...

Role of Women in Sustainable Peace for Inclusive Development and Economic Security

Article by Shazia Marri, published in the Brussels Morning Online Newspaper on 30 July 2021

Throughout history, women have played a pivotal role in shaping the future. Whether it is the freedom struggles in Asia and Africa or the economic uplift of Europe after the Second World War, women have proved — time and again — their resilience in the face of danger and difficulty alike...

Debt Cancellation: A burden lifted from women

Article by Chantal Kambiwa, published in Brussels Morning Online Newspaper on 17 June 2021

Over the years, acknowledgement of the rights of women and girls has become increasingly central to development strategies across the world and in Africa more particularly. Does this represent a recognition of the value of women and girls and a desire to see them flourish?...

We must defend progress in gender equality after the COVID-19 pandemic

Article by Ouafa Hajji, published in Brussels Morning Online Newspaper on 24 May 2021

Women and girls paid a disproportionate price of the economic shutdown during the pandemic, particularly in developing economies — our policies need to prevent this becoming the new norm, argues Ouafa Haji...

Our Support to Sandra Torres

30 April 2021

Socialist International Women, SIW, would like to show its support to Sandra Torres, leader of the Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza (UNE) of Guatemala and one of the SI Vice-Presidents...

SIW Council Meeting

30 April 2021

How to reinvent our future after Covid-19

Women are each other’s homeland

Article by Hilal Dokuzcan, published in Brussels Morning Online Newspaper on 30 March 2021

As Turkey withdraws from the Istanbul convention – to which an AKP government acceded in 2011 – a Turkish politician reflects on the prosecution of women, everywhere. There is no homeland for women, she notes, other than other women...

Statement on Turkey's Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention

22 March 2021

The Socialist International Women are very sorry to receive the news of Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention determined by the President's decree on March 20, 2021...

Effective Participation and Decision-Making in Public Life - Key to Achieving Gender Equality

16 March 2021

65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), United Nations, New York, from 15 to 26 March 2021

Virtual Parallel Event hosted by the Socialist International Women (SIW)

International Women's Day Declaration

08 March 2021

Socialist International Women (SIW) warmly applauds this year’s International Women’s Day theme of “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”...

Season's Greeting!

December 2020

Wishing peace and equality for 2021

SIW Executive Meeting

18 December 2020

COVID-19 and the Impact this is Having on Women and Gender Equality in the Different Regions

Declaration on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November 2020

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is a powerful call to stand in solidarity with all women and girls worldwide...

Message of Support for Turkey and Greece Following 30th October Earthquake

October 2020

The Socialist International Women offers its sincere condolences to Turkey and Greece following the devastating earthquake under the Aegean Sea on 30th October 2020...

Message of Solidarity with all Women and Girls Worldwide during the COVID-19 Pandemic

October 2020

The Socialist International Women stands in firm solidarity with all women and girls worldwide during this deeply painful, devastating period of the COVID-19 pandemic...


The First Hundred Years

A Short History of Socialist International Women

By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women