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Celebrating World Sexual Health Day with equal rights for all

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4 September 2022

There was a time that women in most countries of the world could not vote. The first wave of feminists fought hard for this and as such contributed to gender equality.

The concept of equality often causes confusion. Opponents fear that everyone has to be, think, or act the same. However, equality is not about being the same. It means that we ALL have equal rights!

Read more about gender equality here

Jeroen Lorist

Meet our colleague Jeroen Lorist. Jeroen is a passionate gender expert at Rutgers and PHD candidate at the University of Amsterdam.

When we talk about gender equality, it means that all genders, in all their diversity, have equal rights and should be treated the same!

The second wave of feminism – somewhere around the second half of the last century – in tandem with the civil rights movement, fought for women’s sexual rights, such as the right to decide what happens with your body. Yet, various laws treated people with diverse sexual or gender identities, or other markers of inequality like race still unequal.

In a later evolution of thinking, morality and practice, third wave rights defenders started advocating for equal rights for everyone, regardless of background, education, race, class or gender and sexual identity.

Equal rights at stake

In several countries worldwide where these equal rights became common practice, some of these rights are now at stake again. Conservative forces, often protecting economic and other privileges, feel threatened when everyone is treated equally in law, policy and practice.

We know that gender inequality – and thus lack of human rights that are respected, protected and fulfilled by our governments – can have negative health outcomes such as unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexual and gender based violence, affecting the most vulnerable in our world.

That is why gender equality – that is equal rights for everyone – is so crucial for sexual and reproductive health and rights!


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