2020 UN Population Fund Report tackles harmful practices and global gender inequality

For Immediate Release

Ottawa, ON — The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) launched its latest report on the State of the World Population (SWOP) today.

The 2020 report, Against my will: defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality, looks at the global challenges in combatting harmful practices that impact women and girls, including female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage, son preference, and other forms of gender-based violence and discrimination. According to the report, hundreds of thousands of girls and young women around the world are harmed physically and psychologically through practices that reinforce gender stereotypes and inequalities.

While the impacts of COVID-19 are only beginning, the SWOP report estimates that disruption to community interventions and programming may result in millions of additional cases of FGM and child marriage.

For the launch of the report, Alanna Armitage, Director of UNFPA's Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, joined Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, Global Affairs Canada Director General of Social Development, Nancy Smyth, Kenyan activist and founder of Msichana Empowerment Kuria, Natalie Robi Tingo, and NDP MP Heather McPherson to discuss what Canada can do to bring an end to harmful practices and achieve gender equality.

“We know that these practices are rooted in a perception that women and girls matter less than boys and men, and that they are a fundamental violations of human rights and bodily autonomy,” said Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

“Over the past few years, Canada has shown increased leadership on sexual and reproductive health and rights internationally. As we see the disproportionate and unequal impact of COVID-19 on women, girls, and other marginalized people, bold financial and political support from Canada is needed more than ever.” 

In 2019, Canada pledged $700 million per year, starting in 2023, for programming in SRHR, with $500 million set aside for the most neglected areas, which include safe abortion, access to contraceptives, advocacy for SRHR, and adolescent SRHR, including comprehensive sexuality education. Through the Future Planning Initiative, Action Canada and other Canadian civil society organizations have called on the Government of Canada to support integrated programming that can be tracked through a robust accountability framework. The Government of Canada has committed to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, including Goal 5: the elimination of gender inequality.

Read the report: https://www.unfpa.org/swop-2020



Laura Neidhart

laura@actioncanadashr.org | 613-241-4474 ext. 107

Posted on 2020-06-29