Because women’s rights can never be taken for granted and are frequently violated or denied.
Because progress can easily be reversed.
Doctors of the World – Médecins du Monde has made women’s health and rights one of its priorities for action.
Too many women and girls are still denied the right to make their own decisions regarding their sexuality, health and life choices. Yet, women and adolescent girls who are able to access their rights are more likely to continue their education, pursue a professional career, participate in public life and actively engage in their daughters’ health and education – ultimately contributing to reducing existing gender inequalities.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) focus on fundamental aspects of a person’s life – their body, sexuality, health, relationships and choice of whether or not to marry or have children. Essential human rights, SRHR are also key to driving progress in gender equality.
- 214 million women who wish to delay or avoid pregnancy still do not have access to a modern method of contraception. If these women were granted access to such contraceptives, the number of maternal deaths would be reduced by one fourth.
- There are 99 million unwanted pregnancies every year, with over 80% directly related to unmet needs for contraception.
- This results in 25 million unsafe abortions every year.
- The more restrictive the legislation, the higher the rate of unsafe abortion. Ultimately, more than 30,000 women die every year as a result of unsafe abortions.
Yet, all the resources needed to prevent deaths related to unsafe abortions are available and affordable.
Between fragile gains and conservative forces
“Never forget that a political, economic or religious crisis will suffice for women’s rights to be challenged. These rights are never acquired. You will have to stay alert for life.” Almost 70 years on, Simone de Beauvoir’s call is equally resonant.
#TimesUp universel, #TotalShutDown in Spain, “Sans nous le monde s’arrête” in South Africa, “Ni Una Menos” in Latin America, #AllOfUs in Europe, demonstrations on the right to abortion in Ireland and Argentina… Despite the constant attacks launched by conservative groups, initiatives calling for the recognition of women’s rights continue to gain momentum across all continents. Women’s voices are resounding in protest against gender-based violence as they demand more equality.
What Doctors of the World – Médecins du Monde (MdM) does
MdM takes action and campaigns for the right of women to control their own bodies and make free and informed decisions about their sexuality, health and lives. From Kinshasa, Port au Prince, Madagascar, Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda to Palestine and Bulgaria, MdM works alongside communities, civil society organisations and public bodies to improve the availability and quality of services, support people with understanding their rights and empowering them to take action all whilst challenging decision-makers and holding them accountable for their responsibilities towards their people – regardless of their gender.
“The admission of women to full equality would be the surest mark of civilisation and would double the intellectual forces of humankind.” Stendhal.
DOCTORS OF THE WORLD
a campaigning medical organisation committed to international solidarity
Since its creation more than 30 years ago in 1980, Doctors of the World – a campaigning medical organisation committed to international solidarity – has been committed to caring for the most vulnerable populations, bearing witness to barriers to accessing healthcare, securing long-term progress on universal health policies and publicly condemning attacks on human dignity and rights.
Our activities in France and 42 countries worldwide are designed to facilitate access to the healthcare system by working in emergency situations and on long-term programmes. Three approaches form an integral part of every Doctors of the World’s intervention: mental health and psychosocial support, childhood vulnerability and gender (striving towards equality between women and men).
Three guiding principles are adopted by every Doctors of the World’s intervention in France and abroad: to dispense care, to bear witness and provide advocacy and to support communities in their desire for social change
MdM working with the most vulnerable populations at home and abroad
Doctors of the World France is at the heart of the Doctors of the World international network, which comprises fifteen other member organisations in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Greece, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
This international network operates in France and 80 other countries. It is an independent, international movement of active campaigners who provide care, bear witness and support social change. Its 388 pioneering medical programmes and advocacy work are aimed firstly, at ensuring excluded individuals and their communities have the capacity to access healthcare and, secondly, at campaigning to secure universal access to healthcare.
To achieve these objectives, Doctors of the World France runs 64 programmes in 42 countries.