Third-i works hand in hand with S&D Group and young advocates on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)


+ 16/02/2018


During the interactive workshop My Body, My Choice, part of this year’s S&D Step it Up for Gender Equality Youth Summit (30 Jan – 01 Feb 2018) at the European Parliament, a group of young advocates for women’s rights from various EU countries, called for more education and media mobilisation on SRHR in Europe. While European women enjoy a better situation on SRHR in comparison to women around the world, there are still strides that need to be taken. This calls for a constant dialogue between those of us who live it, and the various stakeholders that can positively influence change.

Third-i applied its creative formats and methodologies to the workshop to integrate the knowledge and experiences of the attendees in a meaningful way, focusing on ways to engage others on SRHR advocacy in Europe, and how to actionably bring change, and to move forward in the future.

The discussion started with the topic of barriers on SRHR at national level, with the group clustering those, ultimately focusing on two major strands:

  • The impact and influence of religion at social and government level
  • Societal apathy and non-engagement on SRHR issues

While these challenges were difficult to ‘detangle’ with concrete steps for improvement, the group co-created practical solutions that the young activists can take back to their national environments. Each solution was prioritised and voted, with the top results going to:

  • Education: engaging all relevant actors in order for SRHR to be included permanently in school curricula
  • Monitor and develop media standards related to SRHR to avoid its inclusion in populist and sensationalist rhetorics

It was also important to underline the focus on the issue of SRHR and prioritising it without remaining within the comfort zone of existing alliances: the solution is within the hands of a multi-stakeholder, diverse group of actors, as opposed to a single voice. Third-i’s Founder and Principal Jacqueline Bowman explains in more detail:

 

Access to information on modern contraception varies greatly across countries in Europe, as visualised by EPF’s Contraception Atlas 2017, developed in partnership with Third-i. This variation in access to information is a manifestation of the work that still needs to be done in this area. According to the IPPF Report on EU results 2015, the ‘number of women using any method of contraception’ declined from over 43 million in 2013-2014 to 13.2 million in 2014-2015. This results in the high unintended pregnancy rates in the region, with 44% of pregnancies falling in this category. SRHR is still an area that needs strong, continued, and energetic activism. The My body, My Choice workshop highlighted all of these issues, and shed light on the work that young advocates are doing.

We would like to thank the S&D group and, in particular, Emmanuelle Le Texier (S&D FEMM Advisor), a tireless supporter on the topic without whom we would not have been able to take part in this amazing initiative! As Emmanuelle sums it up, the discussion on this issue must continue, because ‘SRHR is a critical lense through which we can see our realities. In the ongoing climate of populism and gender backlash, for us it is important to focus on how to change things for the better and to highlight that people, especially young people, ARE working on this. There’s a long way to go, but thanks to interactions like these, where everyone co-creates solutions together, it is clear to see that we are moving forward and, more importantly, we are moving together’. We look forward to supporting the cause, and continue striving for an improved SRHR situation in Europe and globally!

Here at Third-i, we have focused on women’s health right from the beginning. Starting as part of our passion for women’s rights, knowledge on policy and issues and innovative strategies for solutions, women’s health has become a cornerstone of Third-i’s strategy and expertise areas. To learn more, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Interested to hear from our team? Get in touch:  

Jacqueline: @JBowman_Thirdi

Michael: @michaelthirdi

Nikoleta @nikarnaud