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After the Swedish EU presidency: Strengthen the commitment to gender equality, SRHR and LGBTI rights!

This week, the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU concludes and the Spanish Presidency takes over. RFSU and IPPF put forward clear messages on how the EU must seize the opportunity to further strengthen its commitment to gender equality, SRHR, and LGBTQI+ rights.

– By pursuing a feminist foreign policy that puts SRHR at the centre, the EU can make a greater impact as a global leader for the health, rights and well-being of all people, says Sara Österlund, senior policy advisor for SRHR, RFSU

– It is only when women and girls have full rights to determine for themselves and have sovereignty over our bodies, will we be able to be equal citizens in society, says Sivananthi Thanenthiran, Executive Director ARROW.

New report by RFSU and IPPF: Increased EU investments a for SRHR are urgently needed

Today, RFSU and IPPF are releasing the report “Time to Act: Opportunities for an EU feminist foreign policy that champions sexual and reproductive health and rights”.

The report highlights the importance of SRHR in EU financing and programming and puts forward recommendations that can guide the EU institutions in effectively supporting SRHR and advancing gender equality within a feminist foreign policy framework. This report builds upon and further expands on the SRHR aspects of CONCORD Sweden's report, “The Game Changer – How a feminist foreign policy could transform societies”.

Download the report 

Time to Act – Opportunities for an EU feminist foreign policy that champions sexual and reproductive health and rights (pdf)

Strengthening EU Leadership in SRHR: Perspectives from CSO advocates KELIN, ARROW och Tanadgoma

In a collaborative effort, KELIN, ARROW, and Tanadgoma – influential partners of RFSU – share their insights and recommendations on how the EU can become a stronger global leader and a positive force for SRHR and gender equality.

Let us rally behind the recommendations of the organisations KELIN, ARROW, Tanadgoma, and other CSO advocates to ensure that SRHR remains a top priority for the EU, paving the way for a future where sexual and reproductive health and rights are accessible to all.

Advancing SRHR: Four Approaches for EU's Feminist Foreign Policy

RFSU’s report highlights the importance of a strong, global EU voice for SRHR,. It also puts forward four key approaches for a feminist foreign policy that places SRHR at its core and for the EU to effectively support SRHR within a feminist foreign policy framework. These approaches include:

  1. The transformative approach – looking at root causes: Tackle harmful and rigid social norms on sexuality and gender roles that hinders the fulfillment of SRHR.
  2. The intersectional approach – leaving no one b ehind: Intersecting forms of discrimination need to be understood and tackled to fulfill the SRHR of those the furthest left behind.
  3. The holistic approach – health system strengthening: Health systems need to be strengthened and more people must get access to them in order for SRHR to be fulfilled.
  4. The rights-holder approach – civil society as critical contributors to change. Collaborate and engage with a broad range of actors that are working with SRHR issues.

In addition, RFSU’s report puts forward concrete recommendations to the EU institutions: the EU Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, on how these institutions can strengthen and advance SRHR in EU’s external relations.

Resistance to SRHR in the EU, both internal and external

SRHR are human rights. SRHR, like democracy and other rights and freedoms, can never be taken for granted. If we look around the world, we become painfully aware of this.

  • Authoritarian and populist movements in Europe and around the world are threatening gender equality, women's and girls' rights, SRHR, LGBTQ+, freedom of expression and the right to organise.
  • 300 000 women a year die due to complications of pregnancy, childbirth and unsafe abortion. In many parts of the world, pregnancy and childbirth is the leading cause of death among young women and girls.
  • Sexual and gender-based violence against women, girls and members of the LGBTQ+ community is widespread worldwide and increases in times of humanitarian crisis and emergencies, and armed conflict.

SRHR is at the core of the EU's fundamental principles and values, and is a prerequisite for gender equality, equity, freedom, poverty reduction and democracy. SRHR is part of the "European values" that the EU and the Swedish government want to safeguard. The time to act is now.