Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)

Too often girls face multiple barriers preventing them from accessing health services, including those related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Moreover, due to entrenched gender norms and stereotypes, girls are often denied the right to exert control over their bodies while also lacking access to Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) which is crucial for them to better understand their bodies and their rights, to address power relations in their lives, and to counter harmful gender norms and stereotypes. COVID-19 even exacerbated some of these challenges, as John Jessy confirms: ‘’In our communities, we saw an increase in teenage pregnancy rates and early marriages, which led to an increase of school dropouts, especially for girls. This goes hand in hand with increased challenges in accessing family planning services, like modern contraception, because of lockdown measures and the restrictions to access health facilities.’’ Amal stresses the importance for SRHR to be protected and promoted also within Europe, especially for those people that are in more vulnerable situations, such as migrant women. EWAG youth advocates agree that increasingly involving young people in decision-making processes and making sure they can access quality youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health and rights services and information is key for youth, and girls in particular, to make informed choices about their lives and bodies.

Read the 2023 EU assessment paper here.